Donald Trump has praised the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's ruthlessness.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who frequently criticizes US foreign policy under President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said: "Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? ... But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good."
Mr Trump made the statement to supporters at a campaign rally last night in Raleigh, North Carolina.
He told his audience: "They didn't read 'em the rights, they didn't talk. They were a terrorist, it was over."
Mr Trump has previously said the world would be "100% better" if dictators like Saddam and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi were still in power.
Prior to the US invasion, Iraq was listed by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Saddam suppressed dissent in his country and used poison gas against 5,000 Iraqi Kurds.
Jake Sullivan, a Clinton senior policy adviser, said Mr Trump's "praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds."
Mr Sullivan said such comments "demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks."
Mr Trump's foreign policy pronouncements have proved controversial, even within the Republican Party.
He has said the United States is too fully engaged around the world, has questioned the role of Nato and said the United States has been taken advantage of by nations benefiting from its security cooperation and troop presence.
Some critics within the party have said his policies suggest an isolationist stance in an increasingly dangerous world.