- "Well, I think he could have gotten out a long time ago," Trump said on Iraq in 2011.
- Trump passionately argued for the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq for years.
But as late as August 2011, Trump took issue with Obama for not withdrawing troops quickly enough. In an interview with CNBC reviewed by CNN's KFile, Trump was asked why he called Obama "incompetent" over his handling of the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Well, I think he could have gotten out a long time ago," Trump said. "These wars are a disaster. Iraq is going to be taken over by Iran the minute we leave. They're going to take the second largest oil reserves in the world — which by the way we should have taken. So, Iran is already 100% as sure you're sitting there Iran will go as soon as we leave and they take over Iraq and those oil reserves."
Trump also said China would take Afghanistan's mineral reserves once US troops left.
In a statement to CNN's KFile, Trump's senior communications adviser Jason Miller said, "Mr. Trump has been consistently anti-war and never wanted to be in Iraq, which is a clear contrast from Hillary Clinton who voted for and advocated our doing so. Further, the way Hillary Clinton pulled out of Iraq was a disaster and helped fuel the rise of ISIS. Her foreign policy has led to nothing but chaos and the rise of bad actors who want to do harm to Americans."
Under an agreement signed by President George W. Bush, US troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq in 2011.
Trump passionately argued for the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq for years, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2007 that the US should "declare victory and leave." In 2008, he told British GQ "I'd get out of Iraq right now." At times in 2011 and during the 2016 presidential election, Trump has said the US should have taken Iraq's oil before leaving.
At the final presidential debate, Trump criticized Clinton and Obama for the withdrawal from Iraq and blamed them for the proliferation of ISIS.
"Take a look at Iraq," Trump said. "She gave us ISIS because her and Obama created this huge vacuum. And a small group came out of that huge vacuum because, we should have never been in Iraq, but once we were there we should have never gotten out the way they want to get out. She gave us ISIS as sure as you are sitting there."