Well, no one can say Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is boring; he contains multitudes.
During a wide CNN town hall event Thursday, the billionaire showman weighed in on emerging scrutiny about his wavering support for the Iraq war, his thoughts on fatherhood, and…Michael Jackson.
Here were the top quotes from the event:
1) On whether or not George W. Bush lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
Trump did not directly respond to a question about whether he went too far last week in accusing President George W. Bush of knowingly lying about why the U.S. invaded Iraq:
“Look, I don't know. I would probably say that something was going on. I don’t know why he went in. I don’t know why he went in. Because honestly, there was no reason to go in. They didn’t knock down the World Trade Center. It wasn’t Iraq that knocked it down,” he said.
2) On recently released audio of him supporting the Iraq War
Trump responded to a recently unearthed 2002 interview with radio host Howard Stern in which he seemingly indicated his support for invading Iraq — which cuts against his frequent assertions on the campaign trail that he opposed the war:
“I could have said that. Nobody asked me — I wasn't a politician,” Trump responded. “It was probably the first time anybody asked me that question.”
“By the time the war started, I was against the war. … There are headlines in 2003, 2004 that I was totally against the war,” he added.
3) On his recent dust-up with the pope
Trump toned down his rhetoric against the pope, who seemingly called Trump’s faith into question based on his support for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump called those comments a “disgrace” earlier Thursday:
“I don’t think this is a fight,” Trump said. “I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media.”
4) On (not) nominating his sister to the Supreme Court
Trump dismissed the notion that he would ever appoint his sister — who is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit — to the Supreme Court. GOP primary rival Sen. Ted Cruz recently knocked Trump on the subject:
“So, my sister is a brilliant woman who was always a fabulous student, very, very smart. She was appointed by Ronald Reagan. He said appointed by Bill Clinton. She was elevated to the Court of Appeals, a very high position, right under the Supreme Court, as you know," he said.
“I would have such a conflict of interest … and I joke,” he said. “You know, I’m laughing and having fun. But I would never do a thing like that.”
5) Trump on his taste in music
“Well, I think Elton John is great, I think the Stones are great. The Beatles, I love. Michael Jackson was actually a very good friend of mine. I knew Michael Jackson very well; lived in Trump Tower for a long period of time, would go down to Mar-a-Lago,” he said.
6) And then on his friendship with Michael Jackson
“He actually got married — you know, Lisa Marie Presley — the whole big deal at Mar-a-Lago,” he said. “And I will tell you, he was up there one week with her, and he never came down, so I don’t know what was going on, but they got along.”
7) On why he avoids alcohol
It may surprise people, but the billionaire is well known for abstaining from alcohol:
“I’ve never had a drink and I’ve never had a cigarette. Those are the good things, I don’t want to tell you the bad things. There are plenty of bad things,” he said. “I’ve seen what it does to people, it’s a horror show. And the one thing I can say is if you don’t drink, there’s no temptation.”
8) On his previous marriages:
The candidate also showed a softer side toward the end of the town hall, briefly mentioning his two previous marriages, which rarely (if ever) come up on the trail:
“I work very hard. Maybe I work too hard. I had two very, you know, wonderful women frankly,” he said. “I have a very good marriage now, Melania is fantastic. But I had two women that I never blamed because I worked so hard that my job came first.”
“So not that I’d change anything, but...probably wouldn’t have had two marriages that didn’t work out,” he added later.
9) And on fatherhood:
“I would say this: I was a better father than I was a husband,” he said.