Donald Trump: I think we’ve never had a situation so bad in this country.
Chris Wallace: Hold on, folks. This doesn’t do any good for anyone. Let’s please continue the debate, and let’s move on to the subject of foreign hot spots.
The Iraqi offensive to take back Mosul has begun. If they are successful in pushing ISIS out of that city and out of all of Iraq, the question then becomes, what happens the day after? And that’s something that whichever of you ends up — whoever of you ends up as president is going to have to confront.
Will you put U.S. troops into that vacuum to make sure that ISIS doesn’t come back or isn’t replaced by something even worse? Secretary Clinton, you go first in this segment. You have two minutes.
Hillary Clinton: Well, I am encouraged that there is an effort led by the Iraqi army, supported by Kurdish forces, and also given the help and advice from the number of special forces and other Americans on the ground. But I will not support putting American soldiers into Iraq as an occupying force. I don’t think that is in our interest, and I don’t think that would be smart to do. In fact, Chris, I think that would be a big red flag waving for ISIS to reconstitute itself.
The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.
I am hopeful that the hard work that American military advisers have done will pay off and that we will see a real — a really successful military operation. But we know we’ve got lots of work to do. Syria will remain a hotbed of terrorism as long as the civil war, aided and abetted by the Iranians and the Russians, continue.
So I have said, look, we need to keep our eye on ISIS. That’s why I want to have an intelligence surge that protects us here at home, why we have to go after them from the air, on the ground, online, why we have to make sure here at home we don’t let terrorists buy weapons. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.
And I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to, frankly, gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians so that perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track.
Chris Wallace: Mr. Trump, same question. If we are able to push ISIS out of Mosul and out of Iraq, will — would you be willing to put U.S. troops in there to prevent their return or something else?
Donald Trump: Let me tell you, Mosul is so sad. We had Mosul. But when she left, when she took everybody out, we lost Mosul. Now we’re fighting again to get Mosul. The problem with Mosul and what they wanted to do is they wanted to get the leaders of ISIS who they felt were in Mosul.
About three months ago, I started reading that they want to get the leaders and they’re going to attack Mosul. Whatever happened to the element of surprise, OK? We announce we’re going after Mosul. I have been reading about going after Mosul now for about — how long is it, Hillary, three months? These people have all left. They’ve all left. The element of surprise. Douglas MacArthur, George Patton spinning in their graves when they see the stupidity of our country. So we’re now fighting for Mosul, that we had. All she had to do was stay there, and now we’re going in to get it.
But you know who the big winner in Mosul is going to be after we eventually get it? And the only reason they did it is because she’s running for the office of president and they want to look tough. They want to look good. He violated the red line in the sand, and he made so many mistakes, made all the mistakes. That’s why we have the great migration. But she wanted to look good for the election. So they’re going in.
But who’s going to get Mosul, really? We’ll take Mosul eventually. By the way — if you look at what’s happening, much tougher than they thought. Much, much tougher. Much more dangerous. Going to be more deaths that they thought. But the leaders that we wanted to get are all gone because they’re smart. They say, what do we need this for? So Mosul is going to be a wonderful thing. And Iran should write us a letter of thank you, just like the really stupid — the stupidest deal of all time, a deal that’s going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons. Iran should write us yet another letter saying thank you very much, because Iran, as I said many years ago, Iran is taking over Iraq, something they’ve wanted to do forever, but we’ve made it so easy for them.
So we’re now going to take Mosul. And do you know who’s going to be the beneficiary? Iran. Oh, yeah, they’re making — I mean, they are outsmarting — look, you’re not there, you might be involved in that decision. But you were there when you took everybody out of Mosul and out of Iraq. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but you did vote for it. You shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but once you were in Iraq, you should have never left the way.
Chris Wallace: Sir, your two minutes are up.
Donald Trump: The point is, the big winner is going to be Iran.
Hillary Clinton: Well, you know, once again, Donald is implying that he didn’t support the invasion of Iraq. I said it was a mistake. I’ve said that years ago. He has consistently denied what is…
Donald Trump: Wrong.
Hillary Clinton:… a very clear fact that…
Donald Trump: Wrong.
Hillary Clinton: Before the invasion, he supported it. And, you know, I just want everybody to go Google it. Google “Donald Trump Iraq.” And you will see the dozens of sources which verify that he was for the invasion of Iraq.
Donald Trump: Wrong.
Hillary Clinton: And you can actually hear the audio of him saying that. Now, why does that matter? Well, it matters because he has not told the truth about that position. I guess he believes it makes him look better now to contrast with me because I did vote for it.
But what’s really important here is to understand all the interplay. Mosul is a Sunni city. Mosul is on the border of Syria. And, yes, we do need to go after Baghdadi, and — just like we went after bin Laden, while you were doing “Celebrity Apprentice,” and we brought him to justice. We need to go after the leadership. But we need to get rid of them, get rid of their fighters. There are an estimated several thousand fighters in Mosul. They’ve been digging underground. They’ve been prepared to defend. It’s going to be tough fighting. But I think we can take back Mosul, and then we can move on into Syria and take back Raqqa.
This is what we have to do. I’m just amazed that he seems to think that the Iraqi government and our allies and everybody else launched the attack on Mosul to help me in this election, but that’s how Donald thinks. You know, he always is looking for some conspiracy.
Donald Trump: Chris, we don’t gain anything.
Hillary Clinton: He has all the conspiracy theories…
Donald Trump: Iran is taking over Iraq.
Chris Wallace: Secretary Clinton, it’s…
Donald Trump: Iran is taking over Iraq. We don’t gain anything.
Hillary Clinton: This conspiracy theory, which he’s been spewing out for quite some time.
Donald Trump: If they did it by surprise…
Chris Wallace: Wait, wait, wait, Secretary Clinton, it’s an open discussion.
Hillary Clinton: He says…
Donald Trump: We could have gained if they did it by surprise.
Chris Wallace: Secretary, please let Mr. Trump speak.
Hillary Clinton:… unfit, and he proves it every time he talks.
Donald Trump: No, you are the one that’s unfit. You know, WikiLeaks just actually came out — John Podesta said some horrible things about you, and, boy, was he right. He said some beauties. And you know, Bernie Sanders, he said you have bad judgment. You do.
And if you think that going into Mosul after we let the world know we’re going in, and all of the people that we really wanted — the leaders — they’re all gone. If you think that was good, then you do. Now, John Podesta said you have terrible instincts. Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment. I agree with both.
Hillary Clinton: Well, you should ask Bernie Sanders who he’s supporting for president. And he has said…
Donald Trump: Which is a big mistake.