Speaking with NBC's "Meet the Press" on October 4, real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, when asked if he thought the Middle East would be "safer" today if Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein were still in power, said, "It's not even a contest."
"You can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there — it's a mess — if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there — it's a mess — it's [Syria] going to be same thing," Trump said.
The question, asked by NBC's Chuck Todd, came up while discussing Trump's stance on Russia's involvement in Syria. Like the United States and its allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin also wants to get rid of ISIS - but he supports Bashar al-Assad's regime remaining in power. According to CBS News, At the UN General Assembly on September 28, Obama said that he rejected the notion that "we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children.
"Don't forget," Trump continued during "Meet the Press," "ISIS came out of Iraq…[they are] the leftovers that didn't get taken care of."
In response, Todd asked, "If Saddam and Gaddafi [were still in power], you think things would be more stable?"
"Of course it would be," Trump replied. You wouldn't have had your Benghazi situation which is one thing which was just a terrible situation. But, of course, it would. Libya is-- is not even-- nobody even knows what's goin' on over there. It's not even a country anymore."
Speaking again about the situation in Syria, Trump seemed supportive of Russia's involvement: "We are fighting Assad. And we're fighting for people and helping people that we don't even know who they are. And they may be worse than Assad. They may be worse, okay?"
"They may be worse," he continued. "And if Assad never happened, if you don't have a problem in Syria, you wouldn't have the migration, you wouldn't be talking about all of these countries with what's going on in Europe. And now they're talking about taking 200,000 people that we don't even know who they are and bringin' 'em to the United States? The whole thing is ridiculous. So, I'm not just justifying Putin. But you watch, he'll get bogged down there. He'll be there. He'll spend a fortune. He'll be begging to get out."
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