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Trump spokesperson incorrectly blames Obama for invading Afghanistan

Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson called the U.S. war in Afghanistan "Obama's war," suggesting in a CNN interview Saturday that the Democratic president was responsible for invading the country -- a decision that was actually made by former President George W. Bush in 2001.

"If you want to go way back, we can look at the troop surge. And after 2007, al Qaeda was essentially in ashes," Pierson told CNN anchor Victor Blackwell, continuing a discussion on her candidate's recent shifting positions on whether Mr. Obama founded the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. "It was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who then destroyed the entire rollout by wanting to pull out early, announcing their plan, ignoring intelligence."

Pierson then said: "Remember, we weren't even in Afghanistan by this time. Barack Obama went into Afghanistan creating another problem. It was Hillary Clinton in Libya which was also a reckless decision to create that vacuum. They armed the rebels and they're even funding them now."

Blackwell attempted to clarify the Trump spokeswoman's statements: "So you're saying Barack Obama took the country into Afghanistan post-2009. Is that what you're saying?"

Pierson went on: "What I'm saying is -- the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ..." before the CNN host interrupted, adding "because you just said we weren't in Afghanistan."

Pierson replied: "That was Obama's war, yes."

The war in Afghanistan began, however, with then-President Bush's decision to invade the country in 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks. Mr. Obama was a state senator in Illinois at the time.

Pierson may have been mistakenly referring to the 2009 troop surge President Obama had reluctantly agreed to, sending thousands of reinforcements into Afghanistan after the U.S. seemed to lose its footing in the region.

Blackwell attempted to fact-check Pierson later in the program, and the Trump spokeswoman seemed to dial back her initial accusations that Mr. Obama began the war.

"Katrina, I just want to for factual sake's, for the sake of just correct information ... when you said that Barack Obama took the country into Afghanistan," the CNN anchor said. "It was not during the, of course as you know, during the Obama administration when we first went into Afghanistan."

Pierson replied: "No, we're talking about ISIS specifically."

"Okay, but your statement was that Obama took us into Afghanistan. And it was his war," Blackwell said. "It was President Bush who took the country into Afghanistan."

"I thought we were talking about the finding of ISIS," Pierson said. "ISIS came out of the Obama side of the war."

Pierson's comments come just as the Trump campaign continues to weather criticism for its candidate's claim that the president, along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "founded" ISIS.

Trump sent a tweet out early Friday morning that those statements were "sarcasm."

But later that day, the GOP nominee told a crowd of rally attendees in Eerie, Pennsylvania that while he was "obviously" being sarcastic, it was "not that sarcastic, to be honest with you."