Trump Applauds Saddam as Terror Fighter

     (CN) – As if there haven’t been enough strange twists in campaign 2016, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday night praised former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, scourge of three presidential administrations, as a man who knew what to do when it came to terrorists.
     “Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right?” Trump said as he stood before an admiring, raucous crowd of 3,000 in Raleigh, North Carolina. “He was a really bad guy.”
     “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” he candidate said, adding “They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. If they were terrorists, it was over.”
     By contrast, he said, President Barack Obama’s war on terror has been “weak” and ineffective.”
     Trump has been criticized in the past for his apparent penchant for dictators like Hussein, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and former Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, but he’d largely abandoned that rhetoric in recent weeks for sustained attacks on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton and U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the ongoing Trump University litigation.
     Trump’s decision to revisit the virtues of dictators drew immediate fire from the Clinton campaign, which opined that Trump’s praise for brutal strongmen “seemingly knows no bounds.
     Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser for the campaign said the comments demonstrate how “unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
     Clinton supports also noted that while in power, Hussein brutally suppressed dissent in Iraq and once used poison gas against Iraqi Kurds.
     But as anticipated, much of Trump’s speech was devoted to upbraiding Hillary Clinton, hours after FBI director James Comey said the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server did not warrant criminal charges.
     Comey also said Clinton’s handling of her email was “extremely careless” and that several emails stored on the server contained information classified at the time the emails were sent.
     “I was watching this tragedy that took place today and over the last few days,” Trump said as he turned to focus on Comey’s announcement.
     “It’s a tragedy because we’re a country of law. Other people have been so badly hurt by doing things so much less than crooked Hillary Clinton. So much less. So much less,” Trump said.
     “Like a criminal with a guilty conscience, Clinton had her lawyers delete, destroy and wipe away forever,” he added.
     But Trump didn’t stop there.
     He also accused Clinton of bribing Attorney General Loretta Lynch, basing his comment on a report in The New York Times that Clinton would consider keeping Lynch if she’s elected president.
     “It’s a bribe,” Trump said.
     “It’s a disgrace, folks. it’s a disgrace,” he said.
     Apparently still steamed about the FBI’s findings after the rally, Trumped added in a tweet, “I don’t think the voters will forget the rigged system that allowed Crooked Hillary to get away with ‘murder.'”
     The war of words between the candidate moves to New Jersey on Wednesday, with Clinton scheduled to appear on Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk to discuss Trump’s mixed business record in the seaside resort town.
     In a preview of the candidate’s remarks, the Clinton campaign said she will speak near the Trump Taj Mahal casino where workers have been striking since Friday and talk about how the billionaire real estate developer “stiffed” contractors while “pocketing cash for himself.”
     The casino opened in 1990 and went into bankruptcy a year later. Although it still bears Trump’s name, it is now owned by another billionaire, Carl Icahn.
     On Wednesday morning, Trump was also already presenting his defense via his favorite medium, Twitter.
     “Hillary Clinton should ask why the Democrat pols in Atlantic City made all the wrong moves convention center, airport and destroyed city,” Trump said in one of several tweets posted this morning.
     “I made a lot of money in Atlantic City and left 7 years ago. Great timing (as all know).” he said in another. “Pols made big mistakes, now many bankruptcies.”
     Photo caption:
     Trump is again praising former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s ruthlessness, saying he killed terrorists “so good.” Trump was speaking at a rally Tuesday, July 5, 2016, in North Carolina when he turned to the former Iraqi leader. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

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