Republican Donald Trump claimed American troops embezzled untold millions of dollars meant for rebuilding Iraq during wartime and are “living very well” off those funds at a campaign event Tuesday night.
“Iraq, crooked as hell,” Trump told a crowd in Greensboro, North Carolina. “How about bringing baskets of money – millions and millions of dollars – and handing it out? I wanna know, who are the soldiers that had that job? Because I think they’re living very well right now, whoever they may be.”
While Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told Politico he was referring to Iraqi soldiers, the site noted the billionaire businessman has made similar remarks about U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past.
“They were going through Afghanistan paying off, I want to know who were the soldiers that are carrying cash of 50 million dollars? Cash! How stupid are we?” he said at a September rally. “I wouldn’t be surprised those soldiers, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cash didn’t get there, I have to be honest.”
More than 100 enlisted military personnel have been convicted of stealing funds, bribery, and contract rigging while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, crimes the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity valued at $52 million in a 2015 report.
Watch the remarks via YouTube: