The Donald and the dictator

Donald Trump tried to raise money from the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi two years before a 2011 revolution toppled the brutal leader, according to four people with knowledge of the effort. Trump even tried to set up a meeting with the tyrant himself, three of the sources say, to explore business ventures — despite the Libyan leader’s notorious sponsorship of terrorism that killed scores of Americans.

The Trump campaign did not respond to repeated requests from BuzzFeed News for comment on his dealings with Qaddafi, which have not previously been reported. But the presumptive Republican nominee is facing questions this week about his flip-flops on the U.S. policy toward Libya. Trump supported efforts to depose the dictator in 2011, just as the Obama administration was pulling together a military coalition to help battle Qaddafi. More recently, Trump said that the administration’s effort in Libya was misguided.

This Sunday, when asked about the U.S.’s Libya policy on CBS News’ Face the Nation, Trump brought up an incident many had forgotten: that time in 2009 when Qaddafi rented Trump’s opulent Westchester estate to erect a huge traditional tent where the Libyan leader would stay — and sacrifice a live lamb — while in New York for a United Nations assembly. The despised tyrant had been turned down by many other venues.