Trump offers praise for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein
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Trump offers praise for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein

At rally, presumptive GOP candidate says dictator was a ‘really bad guy’ but an effective killer of terrorists

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump admires his portrait on a cover of a magazine during a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on July 5, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images/AFP)
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump admires his portrait on a cover of a magazine during a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on July 5, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images/AFP)

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump offered partial praise for Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi dictator executed in 2006, as an effective terrorist-killer.

“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? He was a bad guy. Really bad guy,” Trump said on Tuesday in a campaign speech in North Carolina. “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorists [sic] — it was over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism.”

In his speech in Raleigh Tuesday, Trump also blasted Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and the FBI for deciding not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Trump called the system “rigged.”

This was not the first time Trump spoke somewhat positively of Hussein, a notoriously brutal dictator who ordered the killings of thousands of dissenters, targeting civilians and minority groups and infamously using chemical weapons against the Kurds in Halabja, in northern Iraq, in 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war.

Earlier in the campaign. Trump said earlier in the campaign that the world would be much better off if Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya had been left in power rather than ousted by US-led attacks.

Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraqi war in the 1980s. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/AFP/Getty Images public domain)
Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraqi war in the 1980s. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/AFP/Getty Images public domain)

“We had Saddam Hussein, who was not a good man, but you would have been a lot better off if that wasn’t done, because now you’ve destabilized the entire Middle East,” Trump said in April.

“If our elected officials went to the beach and didn’t do anything, the Middle East would be a lot better right now,” he said. “It’s worse than it’s ever been. You look at the migration, you look at what’s going on in Europe, you look at all of the problems. So we don’t believe in authoritarian, but the fact is that if we would have done nothing with Iraq and Libya and other places, we would be better off.”

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