Donald Trump backed Iraq war in 2002 interview but says views changed

The Republican presidential contender admits he supported the invasion but changed his mind by the time the war started

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who frequently touts his opposition to the Iraq war, appeared to support the idea in a newly unearthed 2002 interview, but said on Thursday he became an opponent by the time the invasion occurred.

In the interview before the war began, which was republished by BuzzFeedon Thursday, radio personality Howard Stern asked Trump if he supported invading Iraq. “Yeah I guess so,” Mr Trump said, according to the audio clip.

During a town hall event in South Carolina on Thursday, Mr Trump said the interview was not relevant because his views changed before the invasion. “By the time the war started, I was against it, and shortly after, I was really against it,” he said.

The billionaire businessman and former reality TV star, who leads the field seeking the Republican nomination for the November 8 election to succeed President Barack Obama, has cited his opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as evidence of his foreign policy credentials.

But his criticism of former Republican president George W Bush’s actions has aggravated some in his party, including in South Carolina, which holds its Republican primary on Saturday.