The Trump administration is reportedly weighing a proposal to send thousands of more troops to Afghanistan, an escalation of the longest war in U.S. history.
This would be a significant about-face from Trump’s public position in the years prior to his presidency. In 2015 he declared that invading Afghanistan in the first place was a “terrible mistake” and the current situation was “a mess,” although he added that “I would leave the troops there begrudgingly” because “that thing will collapse in about two seconds after they leave.”
Before running for president, Trump repeatedly tweeted about the need to end the war, referring to it as a waste of blood and treasure.
Ron Paul is right that we are wasting trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2011
When will we stop wasting our money on rebuilding Afghanistan? We must rebuild our country first.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2011
The tweet below links to a Fox and Friends interview where Trump denounces the war: “What are we doing there? These people hate us. As soon as we leave, it’s all going to blow up anyway. And you say, ‘What are we doing there?’ We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions of dollars on this nonsense.”
It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2012
Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don't know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2012
Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2012
84% of US troops wounded & 70% of our brave men & women killed in Afghanistan have all come under Obama. Time to get out of there.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2012
I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan. We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money -- rebuild the U.S.!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2013
Do not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024-with all costs by U.S.A. MAKE AMERICA GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2013
Five U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan by so-called friendly fire. What are we doing?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2014
Trump’s change of opinion may be spurred by counsel from his National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reports that McMaster has been the voice inside the administration in favor of escalation.