ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Presidential hopeful Donald Trump mixed up the Kurds, a 35-million strong ethnic group, with the the Quds Force, Iran's overseas special forces, in a nationally syndicated radio interview Thursday, although the billionaire quickly pointed to the alleged mistreatment of the Kurds by the United States.
Trump also appeared to be confused about the difference between the pro-Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militia in Lebanon.
The first misunderstanding between the host and the current Republican frontrunner transpired early in the conversation:
Hugh Hewitt, the show host, asked Trump, “Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
“Yes, but go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me,” Trump replied.
“He runs the Quds Forces,” Hewitt said.
“Yes, okay, right,” said Trump.
Hewitt continued, “Do you expect his behavior…,” before Trump interrupted him.
“The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by ...," Trump said.
The host then said, "No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces."
The word "Quds," in Arabic, means "Jerusalem."
After a confusing exchange, Hewitt explained he was speaking about Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force who is known to have been involved in military action in Syria and Iraq, including the liberation of Tikrit.
"Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds," said Trump
The host replied, "No, Quds."
To which Trump said, "Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurds, because I think the Kurds have been poorly treated by us, Hugh. Go ahead."
When asked about the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah at the end of the interview, Trump said he will know the difference “when it’s appropriate.”
“I will know more about it than you know, and believe me, it won’t take me long,” Trump said.
Hewitt's website describes the host as,"a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday afternoon."