President George W. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove was still smarting this week from GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s attack on the former commander in chief during Saturday’s South Carolina debate.
In answering a question from moderator John Dickerson of CBS, the New York City billionaire didn’t back away from comments he made in 2008 to CNN that he was surprised then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t try to impeach the Republican president for the Iraq war.
Trump also argued that Bush “got us into the war with lies” — referring to a lack of weapons of mass destruction.
“They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none,” he said Saturday.
Rove, one of two speakers for the Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research’s annual Michigan Political Leadership Program fundraising dinner in Livonia next month, told The Detroit News “That itself is a damnable lie. ... President Bush did not lie about WMDs.”
The U.S. military found hundreds of degraded chemical weapon shells in Iraq, he said. An Iraq weapons commission formed in 2004 and headed by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman and former U.S. Sen. Charles Robb, D-Va., found the Bush administration didn’t lie about weapons of mass destruction, Rove argued.
Silberman has written that U.S. intelligence was wrong about the existence of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. In a 2015 Wall Street Journal commentary, the judge wrote: “to accuse the president of lying us into war must be seen as not only false, but as dangerously defamatory.”
Rove, now a GOP political consultant, is expected to be less combustible March 3 when he shares the Laurel Manor stage with President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election impresario Jim Messina.