Donald Trump said Tuesday night that while Saddam Hussein was a "really bad guy," he was at least good at killing terrorists.

"He was a bad guy — really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn't read them the rights. They didn't talk. They were terrorists. It was over," Trump said.

Hussein, the fifth president of Iraq, was captured in a U.S.-led coalition invasion in December 2003 and was sentenced to death after being convicted of charges of crimes against humanity. He was executed by hanging in December 2006. During his time in power, Iraq was listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Trump also said Tuesday night that the U.S. and then-President George W. Bush "shouldn't have destabilized Iraq" in 2003 and the country has now become a breeding ground for terrorists.

"Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism," Trump added. "You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It's like Harvard, okay? So sad."

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Trump has previously made controversial remarks about dictators, including Hussein. In October, Trump said the world would be "100 percent" better off if dictators like Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi were still in power.

Hillary Clinton's campaign, Trump's Democratic rival, quickly condemned his comments.

"Donald Trump's praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds," Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser for Clinton, said in a statement. "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."

Following the comments, House Speaker Paul Ryan also criticized Trump — but without outright condemning him.

"He was one of the 20th century's most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons," Ryan told Fox News' Megyn Kelly Tuesday night when asked his reaction. "Saddam Hussein was a bad guy."Read more on

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