In an explosive segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Monday morning, PBS host Tavis Smiley said that he believes the Bush administration “lied” the United States into war in Iraq.
During a contentious debate with host Joe Scarborough, Smiley posed the question, “You’re saying thanks to President Bush for what exactly?”
“Doing what President Obama is doing,” Scarborough replied. “Doing everything he believes in his heart that keeps you and me and my family safe.”
After Scarborough went on to comment on the difficulties of a president’s job and his desire to see both sides of the political spectrum say “Thank you President Obama, thank you President Bush,” Smiley responded.
“The reality is though, that one of these guys lied to the American people,” Smiley said. “And when I say he, I mean his administration lied. When you want to talk about the security of this country Joe, you cannot disconnect that. He got us in a war that is now the longest running war in this country because his administration said Joe, ‘Lie to the American people.’ They did not give us the proper information, we never did find a weapon of mass destruction.”
When fellow PBS host Jon Meacham said it wasn’t a lie about weapons of mass destruction and challenged Smiley, he backtracked a little.
“Do you believe George W. Bush intentionally misled the American people in the case of war?” asked Meacham.
“I did not,” replied Smiley.
“You said lie, you said lie,” Scarborough yelled. “Don’t back off, speak to your truth Travis, speak to your truth.”
“I’m speaking to my truth,” Smiley replied. “There’s a distinction that could be made to misleading people for the purpose of what you want to accomplish and everything you think was right. They were trying to accomplish a goal and Dick Cheney and everybody else in that administration knew exactly what they were trying to accomplish. The American people were misled, call it a lie, call it misled, we went a long way there on faulty information.”
Meacham followed up with Smiley later in the broadcast, after which Smiley refused to assign blame to specific individuals in the Administration.
“To say someone lied adds a corrosive element to the public dialogue that we just don’t need,” Meachem said.
Smiley isn’t the only media figure to heavily criticize Bush. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman labeled the 43rd President a “fake hero of 9/11” on his blog Sunday.
WATCH: Video from MSNBC, which appeared on September 12, 2011.