The Republican presidential nominee was visibly annoyed when moderator Lester Holt mentioned his initial support for the Iraq War. Trump has said throughout the 2016 presidential campaign that he opposed the war from the start.
Independent fact checkers have shown that he expressed support for it in 2002, and did not begin to publicly voice opposition until 2004, more than a year after the war had begun.
Trump, however, continued to insist that he had always opposed the war, and went on a confusing rant justifying his statement and insisting the media was distorting his words by reporting them.
“I did not support the war in Iraq,” he falsely said. “That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she frankly—I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.”
He went on: “We should have never been there. But nobody called Sean Hannity,” the Fox talker who’s an “informal advisor” to the Trump campaign who swears the candidate privately told him early on he opposed the war.
“And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started, I think in ’04, but they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq. And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely—because if you read this article, there’s no doubt,” Trump said.
Holt correctly referred to Trump’s statement in 2002. On Sept. 11, 2002, shock jock Howard Stern asked Trump, “Are you for invading Iraq?”
“Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly,” Trump said.
Even as he went on a confusing, rambling explanation of his position on the war on Iraq, Trump said that he was better suited to be president than his rival, Hillary Clinton.
“I have much better judgment than she has. I also have a much better temperament than she does,” Trump argued. “I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament, I know how to win.”