According to The Associated Press, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee made the controversial remarks at a campaign rally Tuesday in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? ... But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good," he said. "They didn't read 'em the rights; they didn't talk. They were a terrorist; it was over."
Additionally, in October 2015, he told CNN's Jake Tapper that the world would be a better place if Hussein and Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi were still in power.
"Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists," Trump said at the time. "Right now, Libya – nobody even knows Libya; frankly, there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It's all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what's going on."
“Donald Trump's praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds," Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser, said in a statement Tuesday. "In reality, Hussein's regime was a sponsor of terrorism – one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes. Trump's cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., distanced himself from Trump's statements.