Donald Trump Says 'You Can Understand' Civil War and It Wasn't As Bad as George W. Bush Invading Middle East

Donald Trump, civil war, bush, middle east invasion
President Donald Trump speaks with the media while meeting with the President of Poland Andrzej Duda at the oval office in the White House on September 18 in Washington, D.C. Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis-

President Donald Trump called former commander-in-chief George W. Bush's decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s the "worst single mistake" in the country's history, adding that the decision was worse than the Civil War that tore the country apart over slavery.

Trump bashed Bush's still-controversial decision to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan in the years following the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. He also stated President Barack Obama might have improperly pulled the military out of the region, but that Bush's decision was far worse.

"The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush," Trump told The Hill in an interview Tuesday that was released Wednesday. "Obama may have gotten [U.S. soldiers] out wrong, but going in is to me the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country."

Trump specifically noted the monetary and human life cost as the reason to blast Bush.

"Because we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now if you wanna fix a window someplace they say, 'oh gee, let's not do it. Seven trillion, and millions of lives—you know, cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives," Trump said.

He added that a case could be made for the Civil War as the worst mistake in the country's history, but still ranked Bush's invasion higher.

"To me it's the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. Civil war you can understand. Civil war, civil war. That's different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, and that was just, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you."

On the campaign trail and since taking office, Trump had labeled the Iraq War as a disaster and long claimed the U.S. never should have invaded to overthrow former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The invasion has been widely cited as leading to the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS), which declared a new caliphate in the region. But over the last two to three years Iraqi and U.S. forces have largely put down the insurgency.

Nearly 290,000 civilians and combatants had died since the war began in 2003 as did almost 5,0000 U.S. service members, according to Iraq Body Count, a project that had tallied deaths resulting from the war since it began over 15 years ago.

An estimated 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War, which took place between 1861 to 1865.