Trump ‘prevented war’ with North Korea

President Trump said that his election was the only reason the US hasn't gone to war with North Korea - and he called former President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq "the worst decision made in the history of our country."

During an exclusive Oval Office interview with The Post, Trump said he hadn't turned out to be the trigger-happy leader his opponents made him out to be.

"Remember everyone said I'd be in a war within the first 24 hours [in office] because of a personality type? They don't understand me," Trump said in the hour-long chat, during which he also predicted a strong economic rebound from the coronavirus crisis by the end of the year, and offered his opinions on presumptive Democratic challenger Joe Biden's best pick for a running mate and the sex assault allegations facing the former vice president.

"You look at North Korea - where's the war? You would have been in a war in North Korea if I didn't get elected, you would be in a war right now."

Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un have developed an unlikely friendship, writing letters and holding several get-togethers once thought impossible.

President Donald Trump listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Picture: Alex Brandon
President Donald Trump listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Picture: Alex Brandon

The Republican president - who is approaching the end of his first term and seeking a second - was asked about his hopes for his legacy.

The question prompted him to launch into a ferocious criticism of Bush's decision to go to war against Iraq following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and said he'd reduced the number of US troops deployed overseas by both Bush and former President Barack Obama, Bush's successor and Trump's predecessor.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump inside the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the South and North Korea on June 30, 2019 in Panmunjom, South Korea. Picture: Dong-A Ilbo
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump inside the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the South and North Korea on June 30, 2019 in Panmunjom, South Korea. Picture: Dong-A Ilbo

"You look at where we are with the troops, the footprint is much different. We're down to 8,000 in Afghanistan, down to 4,000 in Iraq, we're down to zero in Syria. It's a much different deal, much different than people thought.

"That doesn't mean we won't fight it if we have to, but we spent $8 trillion in one of the worst decisions ever made to go into the Middle East, probably the worst decision made in the history of our country, going into the Middle East. Millions of people were killed on both sides," he said.

"We fought it as a police force. We were like traffic cops. We didn't fight the war the way you fight a war to win. I would rate that as the worst decision made in the history of our country."

The remarks followed Trump's Sunday criticism of Bush, a fellow Republican, for not backing him during the recent presidential impeachment proceedings.

President George W Bush holds a turkey platter for US troops at Baghdad International Airport, for Thanksgiving dinner in 2003. Picture: Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President George W Bush holds a turkey platter for US troops at Baghdad International Airport, for Thanksgiving dinner in 2003. Picture: Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Trump, 73, said his legacy would likely be the unprecedented 252 federal judges he had nominated, as well as two Supreme Court justices, remaking the US justice system in his image.

"We have a lot of judges waiting to be approved. This is a very unique situation. You know, some people have just a tiny number of judges," he said.

"My legacy, I think it's going to be that I was a great president. That's what I'd like it to be. That I was a great president, I took care of the people, I protected the people."

Trump, who wants a $2 trillion infrastructure package in the next coronavirus package, lamented the fact it was hard to fund simple fixes to roads, highways and bridges in the US.

"If you want to fix a window in a school, or if you want to fix a pothole or a highway, it's like a big deal to get the money. It's sad."

This story was originally published in the New York Post and is republished with permission

Originally published as Trump 'prevented war' with North Korea

US President George W Bush greets troops at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, 2007.
US President George W Bush greets troops at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, 2007.


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