Posted on August 9, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Politics
ential Candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Courtesy of Gage Skidmore/flickr
HALABJA, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— The Governor of Halabja demanded an apology on Monday from U.S. Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump over comments he has made on Saddam Hussein and the 1988 chemical gas attack in Halabja.
A letter signed by the governor of Halabja was sent to Trump Tower, the 58-story skyscraper developed by the Republican nominee in New York City, over comments many perceived to make light of the genocide of Kurds.
“We demand an apology from Republican Presidential Nominee to families of the chemical gas victims and we hope Mr. Trump would stop adding insult to injury in his future remarks,” the governor said in a statement to the presidential candidate.
Trump, while acknowledging that Saddam was a “really bad guy,” has praised the former Iraqi dictator on more than one occasion for his handling of terrorists.
In December of last year, Trump spoke at a rally at Hilton Head, South Carolina and made a comment downplaying the Baath regime’s use of chemical weapons.
“Saddam Hussein throws a little gas and everyone goes crazy, ‘oh he’s using gas!’” Trump said.
Trump praised Saddam again in July at a rally in North Carolina for his handling of terrorists and did the same in a CNN interview in October.
Trump’s comments have not gone unnoticed in Halabja. “We would like to remind Mr. Trump that Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical gas in our city alone on March 16th, 1988 killed over 5000 civilians, including children, women and men and wounding over 10,000 more,” the governor of Halabja said.
The presidential candidate has however made some positive comments about Kurds to the media. Trump told the New York Times in July he was a “big fan of the Kurdish forces” and expressed hope that Turks and Kurds could be reconciled when responding to a question on Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt last year, Trump expressed sympathy for Kurds although he confused them with Iran’s Quds Force. “The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated,” Trump said.
Responding to Trump’s praise of Saddam Hussein, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said during a speech on national security, “I will leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his attraction to tyrants.”