Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Wednesday that given the information available today about Iraq, he would not have been in favor of the 2003 invasion. That comment, though, seemed to be at odds with a response Rubio gave in March when he said it was not a mistake to go to war in Iraq.
Rubio’s latest comments came during an interview with Charlie Rose hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations. Rose asked Rubio, a 2016 presidential candidate, if he would have supported going to war with Iraq if he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction there.
“Not only would I not have been in favor of it, President Bush wouldn’t have been in favor of it, and he’s said so,” Rubio said.
Watch video of Rubio’s response:
In March, Rubio, during an appearance on Fox’s The Five, was asked “was it a mistake to go to war” in Iraq? Rubio said it was not because Hussein would have likely tried to build a weapon of mass destruction.
“No, I don’t believe it was,” Rubio said. “The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein does not run Iraq. Here’s what I think might have happened, had we not gone. You might have had an arms race to put Iraq in Iran, they both would have pursed a weapon.”
The question about invading Iraq was what Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) earlier in the week. Bush vacillated on his responses, first saying he would have authorized an Iraqi invasion and then saying he misheard the question and that with 20/20 hindsight, he doesn’t know what he would have done.
Rubio, in his March interview, stressed that ousting Hussein was the preferable outcome.
“So I think, hindsight is always 20/20, but we don’t know what the world would look like if Saddam Hussein was still there,” Rubio said. “But I doubt it would look better in terms of — it will be worst — or we are just bad for different reasons.”
Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Conant told TPM in an email that there was no discrepancy between Rubio’s comments on Wednesday and his comments in March.
“He believes the world is better without Saddam in it. But we wouldn’t have invaded if we knew he didn’t have WMDs,” Conant told TPM in an email.