Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said Tuesday that he misinterpreted the question when he was asked earlier this week by Fox News whether “knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion” of Iraq. But given a second chance to answer the question, Bush said he was unsure what he would do with 20/20 hindsight.
Bush, in that first interview with Megyn Kelly on Monday, said he would have authorized the invasion. But in a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday the likely presidential candidate said he didn’t interpret the question correctly.
“I interpreted the question wrong, I guess. I was talking about given what people knew then, would you have done it? Rather than knowing what we know now. And knowing what we know now, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead up to the war and the lack of focus on security,” Bush told Hannity. “My brother’s admitted this. And we have to learn from that.”
Bush then pivoted to praise his brother’s troop surge in Iraq saying it brought “stability and security to Iraq which was missing during the early days of the United States engagement there.”
Hannity then asked Bush what decision he would have made with 20/20 hindsight.
“Yeah, I don’t know what that decision would’ve been,” Bush responded. “That’s a hypothetical but the simple fact was mistakes were made, as they always are in life and foreign policy. So we need to learn from the past to make sure we’re strong and secure going forward.”
Earlier in the day, Ana Navarro, a former adviser to the former governor, said on CNN that Bush told her that he “misheard the question.” Navarro runs the Biltmore Hotel complex where the firm Jeb Bush and Associates rents space.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a potential rival of Bush in the 2016 Republican primary, seemed to pounce on Bush’s answer to Fox News and in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper said he would not have ordered an invasion of Iraq given the the information available now.