category: politics

Did Trump Flip-Flop on Libya? Nope!


MEDIA’S ATTACK: “Trump is lying when he claims he was against taking out Gaddafi!”

  • Strawman argument! Trump doesn’t say/hasn’t said he was ‘against taking out Gaddafi.’ He says the area would be better off with Gaddafi in power, yes, but he does not claim he was against removing him.
  • While, in a Feb 2011 video blog, Trump indicated he was in favor of “knocking out” Gaddafi, he clearly said he was in favor of doing so if we did so “surgically,” efficiently, and quickly. That is NOT what was done and thus Trump did not support the messy, drawn-out removal (as executed).

MEDIA’S ATTACK: “OK, but Trump was clearly in favor of the Libyan intervention overall!”


  • Trump’s Feb 2011 video (speaking of a quick, surgical knock-out) clearly indicates he opposes a months-long, heavy intervention (what Obama/HRC did), so no, he was not in favor of the Libyan intervention that was actually carried out.
  • Contemporaneous (!) to Gaddafi’s effective ouster (i.e., in August 2011), Trump was tweeting his criticism of the intervention, even tweeting that “As bad as Gaffadi was – what comes next in Libya will be worse – just watch” and other critical tweets. Thus, at the very latest, in August 2011, Trump was already publicly against the Libyan intervention, which still carried on months longer after that. His August 2011 opposition is thus consistent with his current position/remarks FIVE YEARS LATER (e.g., consistent with his Feb 2016 GOP-debate statement wherein he said we “would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now” and that he did not favor the Libyan intervention; consistent with his Oct 2015 CNN SOTU statements that the MidEast would be be better off with Saddam and Gaddafi, despite being bad guys, still in power; and consistent with similar Oct 2015 remarks on Meet the Press).
  • P.S. You’ll notice most articles that reference Trump’s ‘we should knock him out’ video blog curiously only say it’s from “2011” but don’t give the month. (Example here.) That’s because they want you to assume that Trump was in favor of the ouster as it was happening (i.e., summer/fall) to indicate agreement with both the method (which Trump opposed) and the long intervention (which Trump also opposed). I had to comb through at least a dozen articles to find one that mentioned that his video blog was from February 2011 (i.e., early on).

SO… WHERE’S THE FLIP-FLOP??? On the contrary, what we have here is someone who’s maintained the same position on Libya for the past five years (!), and who even disagreed with the method of Gaddafi’s removal.