Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump referenced deceased dictator Saddam Hussein on Tuesday, saying the former Iraqi president was “so good” at killing terrorists.
Speaking at a rally in North Carolina, Trump mentioned the Clinton controversy only briefly before veering to the top of the war in Iraq.
“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right?...But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump said. “They didn’t read ‘em the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorist -- it was over.”
The comments on Hussein were not unlike remarks Trump had made several times before, but it caught the attention of the Hillary Clinton camp anew Tuesday and drew almost immediate rebukes from both sides of the aisle.
“Donald Trump's praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds,” Clinton aide Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “He has applauded the strength China showed in the Tiananmen Square massacre, offered admiration for Kim Jong Un's murderous consolidation of power in North Korea, and consistently lavished praise on Vladimir Putin.”
Sullivan said Trump’s comments showed “how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Speaking to Megyn Kelly on Fox News Tuesday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan also sought to distance himself from his party’s standard bearer, a position he’s had to take numerous times after endorsing Trump last month.
“He was one of the 20th century’s most-evil people,” Ryan said. “He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”