‘This is Badgering’: Trump Campaign Manager Comes Unglued Under Proof of Charity Claims

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway lashed out at CNN host Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday and accused the media of “badgering” Donald Trump because he would not provide evidence of his charitable donations.

During an interview with Conway on CNN’s New Day, Camerota noted that Trump had refused to release his tax returns because he was being audited, and asked the campaign manager if she would provide a letter from the IRS to prove he was under audit.

“I don’t know,” Conway shrugged. “Why? Are you calling him a liar?”

“And we’re taking Hillary Clinton’s word for she was ‘overheated’,” she added. “I mean, seriously, we’re running against a Clinton and we’re going to challenge someone’s veracity?”

Continuing to press for more transparency, Camerota asked if the campaign could prove vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s claim that Trump had donated “tens of millions” to charity.

“Donald Trump has been incredibly generous over the course of his life with his own money and his foundation’s money, which is his money,” Conway insisted.

“No,” Camerota replied. “The foundation’s money are other people who contributed to his foundation.”

“Okay,” Conway scoffed. “Are we going to actually question that Hillary Clinton and her husband made almost a quarter of a billion dollars and we’re supposed to just question — and that’s okay?”

After Camerota reminded Conway that Trump often touts his wealth, Conway pivoted to attacking Clinton for referring to some Trump voters as “deplorables.”

“I’m a capitalist, I just wish she would respect the hardworking men and women of this country who she thinks are a bunch of uneducated rubes coming down from the hills with no teeth and long fingernails, and just, you know, they need to be schooled by this precious woman in New York,” Conway said. “Do we even want a president of the United States who laughs at Americans?”

Camerota pressed on: “Part of why people are calling for him to release his taxes is so that we do know how he himself has given to charity. Will you or the campaign release exactly what that number is?”

“I doubted it,” Conway said dismissively. “This is like badgering. In other words, I don’t see it as journalism. I see it as badgering. In other words, we’ve had this conversation so many times on so many different networks, and yet, we’re not having conversations about what the middle class tax relief would actually mean for people’s wage stagnation.”

“How is it badgering to ask for the evidence of a claim?” Camerota wondered. “If Mike Pence is saying ‘tens of millions’ of dollars from Donald Trump, shouldn’t we see the evidence.”

“Did anybody ask Hillary Clinton for evidence she was overheated and dehydrated?” Conway shot back. “Is anyone asking her for evidence of why she thinks she so precious and special that she would have break protocol at Ground Zero on Sunday, Alisyn, and take her to her daughter’s apartment rather than a hospital?”

“I just don’t buy that,” Camerota remarked. “You also just can’t make claims and expect everyone to just accept it.”

“Donald Trump is a very generous man,” Conway said. “And to employ tens of thousands of people from different countries, both genders certainly, from all walks of life over the years.”

“That’s not charity,” Camerota observed. “Employment is not charity.”

(h/t Raw Story)

Reality

Kellyanne Conway expertly dodged, ducked, dipped, dove, and dodged every question that was thrown at her, never once coming close to a straightforward answer.

Many times her answers to questions, like on Trump’s lack of transparency, was to point out that their Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was engaging in the same activity. So basically her response was to point to how low Clinton’s bar was on these issues, but then justify their stance by having their bar lowered to the exact same level. That doesn’t make a good argument as to why one should trust Trump over Clinton.

We covered Trump’s lack of charitable giving back in April 2016, so it is good to see this getting national attention it deserves. Trump brought this extra scrutiny on himself with illegal contributions from his foundation to bribe Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to not prosecute his Trump University scam.

Trump has also had other controversy surrounding his charitable giving, such as donations to veterans groups. Four months after claiming he gave money to veterans groups, reporters uncovered the fact that Trump never donated a dime. Once he was exposed he cut a check that evening then went on an all out attack on the media for uncovering his lie.

You can see the same play happening here with Conway, don’t answer questions, just attack the media for even bringing up these completely valid and relevant questions.

Media

 

Trump Says Fed Policy He Supported is Now a Partisan Conspiracy

In May, Donald Trump thought the Federal Reserve handled interest rates exactly right.

“Right now I am for low interest rates, and I think we keep them low,” he told CNBC.

Today, he said Fed chair Janet Yellen’s interest rate decisions proved she was “obviously not independent” from the White House and was, in fact, a partisan conspirator out to help Democrats.

“It’s staying at zero because she’s obviously political and she’s doing what Obama wants her to do,” Trump told CNBC on Monday. “And I know that’s not supposed to be the way it is, but that’s why it’s low.”

In an interview last week with Reuters, Trump said the low rates had created a “false economy,” adding, “at some point the rates are going to have to change.”

What changed between May and today? Nothing. The Fed has the same policy of low interest rates that Trump gushed over just four months ago. They last voted to raise rates in December 2015, the first time in nearly a decade, although there’s speculation among analysts that they could raise them this month.

Like a lot of Trump’s flip-flops, it’s not clear what prompted the shift. But it’s hard to reconcile Trump’s comments from springtime, where he warned of terrible economic consequences from an interest rate hike, with his comments today.

Trump repeated his strong support for a low interest rate policy throughout his May interview with CNBC, warning that “one point more, even, is devastating” and that “we have to be very, very careful” about making changes as a result.

While he said he planned to replace Yellen when her term expired, he described her at that time as a kindred spirit on the issue.

“She is a low interest rate person, she has always been a low interest rate person, and I must be honest — I am a low interest rate person,” Trump told CNBC on May 5. “If we raise interest rates and if the dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going to have very major problems.”

He gave Fortune a similar assessment in April, saying a rate increase would be “scary” for the economy.

“The best thing we have going for us is that interest rates are so low,” Trump said. “There are lots of good things that could be done that aren’t being done, amazingly.”

On Monday, those substantive arguments for low interest rates had disappeared in favor of wild accusations of shady behavior around the same course of action.

“She’s keeping them artificially low” to boost Obama, he said. “Watch what’s going to happen afterwards, it’s a very serious problem. And I think it’s very political. I think she’s very political. And to a certain extent, I think she should be ashamed of herself.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has lurched erratically between extremes on the issue. He also accused Yellen of refusing to raise rates for political reasons last November.

“Janet Yellen should have raised the rates,” Trump told reporters. “She’s not doing it because the Obama administration and the president doesn’t want her to.”

The Fed voted to raise rates the next month.

Bumps in the economy tend to hurt the party in power, and partisans often grumble around election time that low interest rates are helping incumbents. Already, markets have been shaky this week as investors increasingly believe the Fed might announce a rate increase, which could slow growth in the short term in order to guard against inflation.

Whatever his motive, Trump’s comments drew a brush-back from Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari, who is a Republican.

“Politics simply does not come up,” Kashkari said on CNBC Monday. “We look at the economic data and … everyone around the table is committed to achieving our dual mandate of employment and inflation.”

(h/t NBC News)

Reality

With the many other flip-flops since becoming the Republican party’s nominee, Trump rejected almost every stance that his supporters loved which separated him from the other Republican primary candidates.

Trump Supporter Punched and Choked Protesters at North Carolina Rally

A man was captured on video appearing to choke a man and slap a woman who were with a group of protesters at a Donald Trump rally in Asheville, North Carolina on Monday.

The man, who was unidentified, was not arrested and was allowed to stay at the rally while the protesters were ejected from the event, CNN reports.

Prior to the incident, the protesters directed “an obscene gesture” in the direction of Trump, according to The Guardian.

The incident is the first instance of violence in months. During the primary season, there were multiple instances of violence at rallies, both among supporters and protesters.

Last month, the New York Times published a roughly three-minute video showcasing some of the obscenities hurled in the massive crowds in and around Donald Trump’s rallies.

At a Republican presidential debate in March, the brash billionaire said he doesn’t condone violence at his rallies, but at a previous event a month prior, Trump said of a protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

(h/t Business Insider)

Reality

Trump, on multiple occasions, has defended violence against protesters, encouraged violence against protesters, and promised violence. It stands to reason that it is Trump’s actions and behavior that creates an environment where violence against protesters is acceptable.

Media

Trump Surrogate Rudy Giuliani on War Crimes: ‘Anything’s Legal’ During War

Donald Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani on Sunday claimed that “anything’s legal” during war, including the theft of private property.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Giuliani said that the United States should have seized oil fields in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, to prevent the resource from falling into the hands of terrorists.

It is a position that Trump has argued for years, but it has only garnered serious attention since the former reality TV star became the Republican nominee for president.

Asked why such a move would not amount to theft, Giuliani scoffed. “Of course it’s legal,” he said. “It’s a war. Until the war is over, anything’s legal.”

This is patently false. The seizure of private property in war has been prohibited under international law for more than a century.

That Giuliani, a lawyer and former U.S. attorney, would dismiss decades of international law was unexpected, but it was in keeping with Giuliani’s recent adoption of many of Trump’s most unsubstantiated claims.

The tenor and tone of Giuliani’s media appearances on behalf of Trump have caused a number of his former colleagues to worry publicly that the former mayor of New York is throwing away his legacy.

Giuliani went on to claim that Trump never meant that the United States should have literally removed Iraq’s chief natural resource from the country, only that American troops should have remained in Iraq to ensure it was divided up evenly. “Leave a force back there and take [the oil] and make sure it’s distributed in a proper way,” he told Stephanopoulos.

“If that oil wasn’t there, we wouldn’t have the Islamic State,” Giuliani continued. “That oil is what makes the Islamic State so rich. Had we held that oil, made sure that it was equitably distributed within Iraq, we [could] have some say, some control over the distribution of it.”

For Trump, however, the notion of taking Iraq’s oil has always held an appeal as a sort of plunder. Speaking to Stephanopoulos in 2011, Trump explained: “In the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it. … You’re not stealing anything. … We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.”

On the presidential campaign trail, Trump has moderated his statements, leaving out the part about Iraq reimbursing the United States for the cost of our blundered invasion of their country.

(h/t Huffington Post)

Reality

Specifically, the Annex to the Hague Convention of 1907 on the Laws and Customs of War, which says that “private property … must be respected (and) cannot be confiscated.” It also says that “pillage is formally forbidden.”

In addition, the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War provides that “any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”

For example, when Saddam Hussein (the former authoritarian leader of Iraq who Trump admires) invaded Kuwait in 1990, one of the justifications for international intervention was because Hussein seized and held Kuwaiti oil fields.

Media

Trump Adviser, Son Post Image Featuring White Nationalist Symbol

A white nationalist symbol has made its way into the latest back and forth in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Amid the flurry of statements about Hillary Clinton calling “half” of Donald Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables,” — a reference to some of the Republican nominee’s supporters who ascribe to views popular among the white nationalist-linked alt-right movement — informal Trump adviser and confidante Roger Stone tweeted a picture of the poster from the movie “The Expendables” altered as “The Deplorables.” Donald Trump, Jr., one of Trump’s sons, posted the same image on Instagram. The origin of the image is unclear.

The Photoshopped faces in the picture include Trump, running mate Gov. Mike Pence, Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Ben Carson, both of Trump’s eldest sons, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, alt-right icon Milo Yiannopoulos, and Stone himself.

Prominently featured over Trump’s right shoulder: popular white nationalist symbol, Pepe the Frog.

“Pepe the Frog is a huge favorite white supremacist meme,” Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center told NBC News of the meme.

While Pepe the Frog may not be a household name, the meme is known to members of the alt-right on the internet.

“It’s constantly used in those circles,” Beirich said. “The white nationalists are gonna love this because they’re gonna feel like ‘yeah we’re in there with Trump, there’s Pepe the Frog.'”

Pepe the Frog, a cartoon amphibian, was popularized on the website 4chan, and became associated with the neo-Nazi movement.

The Trump campaign has been repeatedly accused of dog whistles to white supremacists and the alt-right, though his original position on support from these groups was ambiguous. When confronted with the support of prominent white nationalist and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke in February, Trump stumbled in his initial disavowal of the man — telling CNN at the time, “I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”

He later clarified that he disavowed Duke’s support, though the former Klansman — now running for Congress in Louisiana — has continued to tweet messages of support for the Republican nominee.

Over the course of this campaign, Trump has retweeted Twitter accounts with names such as ‘WhiteNationalistTM’ and blasted out anti-Semitic images to his over 11 million followers on the social media site. Some members of his campaign have been tied to the alt-right, including Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, who is now CEO of the Trump campaign. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton gave a speech shortly after Bannon’s appointment linking Trump’s campaign to the nationalistic movement and calling on the rest of the GOP to reject extremist views. Clinton has continued to argue that Trump has “given voice” those who engage in “offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”

Stone, for his part, is known for his controversial tweets that usually defend Trump, warn of a rigged election, and lashing out at Clinton. For months he has repeatedly advertised “Clinton Rape” t-shirts on his account and pushed hard on the Trump-proposed narrative that the election could be rigged against the Republican nominee.

Stone is no longer with the campaign in an official capacity, after parting ways with Trump in August of last year. Despite that, he remains a self-described “FOT: Friend of Trump” who was most recently invited to attend the campaign’s event announcing Gov. Mike Pence as Trump’s running mate.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks tells NBC News that “Don Jr., like Mr. Trump, disavows any groups or symbols associated with a message of hate.”

Stone could not be reached for comment on this article or the image’s origination. In his tweet, Stone said that he was “proud” to be among “The Deplorables” in the image, while Trump, Jr. wrote that he was “honored to be grouped with the hard working men and women of this great nation that have supported” his father.

(h/t NBC News)

Reality

Tweeting white supremacist and neo-Nazi imagery once could be considered an accident, multiple times shows an unmistakable pattern that can’t be explained away.

  • On July 4th, 2015, Trump tweeted that Jeb Bush likes “Mexican illegals because of his wife.”
  • On August 28th, 2015, Trump tweeted an attack on Jeb Bush how he should stop “speaking Mexican.”
  • On November 4th, 2015, Trump tweeted a meme tying Jeb Bush to the Nazis that used racist imagery.
  • On December 10th, 2015, Trump tweeted the debunked belief pushed by “alt-right” websites like Breitbart that the UK has Muslim no-go zones.
  • On November 22nd, 2015, Trump tweeted a graphic with fake statistics that incorrectly inflated African-American murderers in the United States.
  • On January 22nd, Trump retweeted a tweet from the white supremacist WhiteGenocideTM.
  • On February 10nd, Trump AGAIN retweeted a tweet from WhiteGenocideTM, after being blasted a few weeks prior.
  • On July 4th, the Trump campaign tweeted anti-Semitic imagery of rival Hillary Clinton with a star of David on a backdrop of money. Trump tried to explain the controversy away that it was a “sheriff star” but journalist uncovered the Trump campaign never created that image because it was originally posted on a neo-Nazi website.
  • On July 5th, Donald Trump Jr. liked a tweet by one of the worst and most active member of the “alt-right” neo-Nazi movement on Twitter.
  • On July 6th, Trump attempted to defend his “Star of David” tweet by retweeting a meme from a known white supremacist.
  • On July 20th, an elected Trump delegate known for months to be a white supremacist has had her credentials stripped by the Republican party after posting a racial slur to Facebook and making “threats of violence” against black people.
  • On July 25th, Trump’s foreign policy advisor Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn retweeted an anti-semitic post.
  • On August, 29th, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a post from known white supremacist Kevin MacDonald.

And these are just the tweets. Trump had also refused to disavow former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s endorsements, called his foreign policy plan “America First,” and his father was once caught at a KKK clan rally, just to name a few.

Trump Eulogizes Anti-Equality Activist as “Hero”

Donald Trump eulogized conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly Saturday, praising her as an underdog and linking the anti-feminist movement she led to his anti-establishment campaign.

“She loved her country, she loved her family and she loved her god,” Trump said at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. “The legacy will live on every time some underdog outmatches and outguns, defies the odds and delivers a win for the people.”

“America has always been about the underdog and always been about defying the odds,” he added.

Schlafly died Monday at 92. An early supporter of the Religious Right, she was most well-known for her opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and becoming one of the leading female critics of the feminist movement.

Trump praised Schlafly for being “America First,” a phrase he’s used to articulate his international policies on trade, immigration and other global affairs.

“And in all her battles, she never strayed from the one guiding principle: she was for America and was always ‘America First,'” he said. “People have forgotten that nowadays. With Phyllis, it was America First.”

Trump — who famously never apologizes, at least not publicly — also said Schlafly was someone who “never apologized.”

“She never wavered, never apologized and never backed down in taking on the kingmakers. She never stopped fighting for the fundamental idea that the American people ought to have their needs come before anything or anyone else,” he said.

Trump said Schlafly believed in the power of everyday American to challenge “the rigged system” he said.

“The idea that so called little people or the little person that she loved so much could beat the system often times the rigged system, you’ve been hearing a lot about it,” he added.

“That the American grassroots is more powerful than all of the world’s special interests put together. And that’s the way Phyllis felt.”

In her latest book — “The Conservative Case for Trump” — released Tuesday, Schlafly argued that conservative Christians should follow high-profile evangelical leaders such as Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in supporting Trump’s candidacy.

“Trump has gone to great lengths to court national leaders in the social-conservative movement and has convinced many of the most prominent ones that he genuinely supports their policy positions,” she and co-authors Ed Martin and Brett M. Decker wrote.

Reality

Many of us were not alive or politically aware in the 1970’s and at the height of Schlafly’s prominence, so when the media described her as simply “ant-feminist activist” they didn’t paint a full enough picture.

Phyllis Schlafly was indeed an activist who was more than against feminism, she did everything in her power to make sure that every woman would be back in the kitchen under complete and total subservience to their husband. Her claim to fame was her fight against the Equal Rights Amendment, a constitutional amendment to forbid sexism by U.S. federal and state governments.

Schlafly had strong-held white supremacist views, was staunchly anti-LGBT rights, and denied the concept that women could be raped by their husbands.

“By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.”

When the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for minors, she lead the movement for the impeachment of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was the deciding vote in the case.

This is who Donald Trump calls a “hero.”

But she’s not a racist!

Here is Phyllis Schlafly in her own words bemoaning that today’s immigrants aren’t white enough to her liking.

Here is Schlafly on record claiming Hispanics are not like the GOP, because of illegitimate pregnancies and an inability to understand the Bill of Rights.

Here is Phyllis Schlafly in an interview saying that Obama is intentionally bringing in ebola to make the U.S. more like Africa.

Here is a column written by Schlafly upset that disaster relief resources, things that save lives, are printed in non-English languages. Again these pamphlets save lives of actual real Americans who do not speak English.

You were saying?

Bonus

For an extra laugh, head over to Conservapedia, created by Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andrew, a conservative alternative to Wikipedia, who he found to be too factual and didn’t contain enough bias. Needless to say it is an embarrassment and highly unreliable.

Trump Defends Putin and Blasts US Media on Putin Propaganda TV Network

Donald Trump gave an interview Thursday that aired on a television station funded by the Kremlin, arguing that the Russian government was “probably” not meddling in the American presidential race.

Speaking to Larry King on RT America, which is an arm of government-funded news outlet Russia Today, Trump said it would “not be appropriate” if Russian forces were looking to influence the race, which is suspected by some investigators and has been fanned by Hillary Clinton’s campaign as recently as Thursday morning.

He also suggested that the allegation was politically motivated.

“I think it’s probably unlikely. Maybe the Democrats are putting that out — who knows,” Trump told King. “If they are doing something, I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it. Because that would not be appropriate at all.”

Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, told CNN the interview was recorded as a podcast and was a favor to King, adding, “Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else.” Miller later said Trump wouldn’t have agreed to do the interview had he known it would be aired on RT.

The interview was striking given that Trump spent Thursday on the defensive over some of his laudatory comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton attacked Trump for praising Putin on Wednesday evening at the “Commander in Chief Forum” as a stronger leader than President Barack Obama, and her campaign has for weeks pointed out the alleged ties between Trump’s associates and Russian interests.

Yet the Republican nominee’s operation on Thursday indicated no discomfort with the mounting criticism, with Trump running mate Mike Pence echoing the distinction made between Putin and Obama. And the appearance on Russian television suggested no hesitation from Trump to dive into the controversy.

Putin has called the hack of Democratic officials’ email accounts a “public service” but has denied Russian involvement. Asked by King if he agreed with Putin’s assessment, Trump declined to pass judgment.

“I don’t know who hacked. You tell me: Who hacked?” Trump said, claiming he had not heard Putin’s statement. “I have absolutely no opinion on that.”

Asked during the RT America interview what has surprised him most about the political process, Trump unloaded on the American press.

“Well, I think the dishonesty of the media. The media has been unbelievably dishonest,” Trump responded. “I mean they’ll take a statement that you make which is perfect and they’ll cut it up and chop it up and shorten it or lengthen it or do something with it.”

“And all of a sudden it doesn’t look as good as it did when you actually said it. But there’s tremendous dishonesty with the media. Not all of it, obviously, but tremendous dishonesty,” he said.

Trump also weighed in on domestic politics, declining to criticize Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson for a gaffe he made earlier on Thursday and saying unequivocally that Johnson should not be in the general election debate later this month. Johnson would need to earn 15% support in polls to make the stage, an effort seemingly hampered when he failed to identify the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria, in a live television interview.

“He’s not too much of a factor,” Trump said. “I’d rather it be Hillary and myself, because we’re the only two with a chance of winning.”

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, defended Trump’s appearance to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Friday, saying that Trump wasn’t criticizing the US to say the Iraq War was a failure.

“If you think that Donald Trump is the only person in this country that thinks we’ve had a feckless, anemic foreign policy in the last eight years, then that’s just not true,” Conway said.

She also clarified Trump’s comments on Putin the day before, in which Trump called Putin a stronger leader than Obama in his country.

“In the full clip he said, ‘That’s not the system I agree with, but he’s a strong leader there,'” Conway said. “I mean, nobody wants to play the full clip.”

King’s show, PoliticKing, is produced by Ora TV, which was founded by King and Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim in 2012. In June 2015, Ora announced it was dropping plans to work on a television project with Trump following his controversial remarks about undocumented Mexican immigrants.

(h/t CNN, Washington Post)

Reality

As Mediate points out, Trump likely didn’t think too much beyond just doing an interview with his longtime friend Larry King. And the Trump campaign spokeswoman said that they thought Larry King interview was going to be on King’s podcast, not Russia Today.

What would be worse, though? A U.S. presidential candidate agreeing to do an interview on Russia Today, or doing one by accident?

Media

Donald Trump Doubles Down on False Iraq War Opposition Claim

Donald Trump on Thursday defended his statement that he was publicly opposed to the Iraq war before it started — despite evidence contradicting that claim.

The GOP nominee also said he would have voted against the Iraq war had he been in Congress at the time of the 2003 invasion, a new line in Trump’s attempt to make the war a signature focus of the presidential campaign.

“Had I been in Congress at the time of the invasion, I would have cast a vote in opposition,” Trump said before framing the war as a referendum on Hillary Clinton’s judgment.

Trump, at a charter school here to deliver a speech about education, brought up interviews in 2003 and 2004 in which he slowly changed his stance on the war. The invasion began on March 20, 2003.

In Sept. 11, 2002 in an interview on the Howard Stern show, Trump was asked if he supported an invasion of Iraq and responded: “Yeah, I guess so,” and “I wish the first time it was done correctly.” The interview was earlier reported by Buzzfeed News, which posted audio of the exchange.

“I opposed going in, and I did oppose it. Despite the media saying, ‘no, yes, no,’ I opposed going in,” Trump said Thursday. “I was opposed to the war from the beginning, long after my interview with Howard Stern,” Trump said.

The Republican nominee has been criticized for seeming revisionist history on his position on the Iraq war, which Trump has used to attack Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize the war when she was a U.S. senator.

Esquire, the magazine that published a 2004 interview in which Trump opposed the war a year after it began, earlier this month accused the GOP nominee of “lying” about claims he was always against the war.

Clinton at an NBC Commander-in-Chief forum Wednesday said the decision to to war in Iraq, and her vote to authorize military action, was a mistake. Trump called the Iraq issue “one of the biggest differences in this race.”

“Here’s the bottom line. I was a private citizen,” Trump said. “I had no access to briefings or great intelligence survey that she did … But I didn’t have access to all of the intelligence information that she did and everybody else did.”

Though it wasn’t necessarily long after the September 2002 Howard Stern interview, Trump did begin shifting his stance in early 2003. But it’s not clear that he was strongly against the war before it happened.

Trump on Thursday brought up a January 2003 interview with Fox’s Neil Cavuto, before the war began, in which he said that maybe President George W. Bush should be more focused on the U.S. economy.

“Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know,” Trump said, according to the website PolitiFact. “He’s under a lot of pressure. I think he’s doing a very good job. But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned.”

Trump then cited an interview with the Washington Post from March 25, 2003 — days after the war began — in which he called the situation “a mess.”

However, in an interview four days earlier, again with Cavuto, Trump expressed optimism on the economy in the aftermath of the war and said the invasion “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint, and I think this is really nothing compared to what you’re going to see after the war is over.”

When asked to clarify what he meant, he told Cavuto “I think Wall Street’s just going to go up like a rocket, even beyond.”

Asked if he stood by those 2003 comments calling the invasion a “tremendous success,” Trump told reporters at his Thursday event, “You know what that meant,” before walking away.

When asked what that meant, Trump did not turn around to clarify.

At issue in his claim that he would have voted “no” on the war if he were in Congress is the fact that Trump did not express a negative opinion of the war until 2003. The vote to authorize the Iraq War was held months earlier, in October 2002.

This is the first time Trump has gone to such lengths to prove his claim, despite being asked at earlier points in his candidacy to provide proof of his stances prior to the war.

As he has on multiple earlier occasions, Trump cited a 2004 interview with Esquire, in which he gave his most forceful critique of the war in Iraq.

Trump read a quote from that article Thursday, saying, “Absolute quote: ‘Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in.’ This is right after the war started.”

In the 2004 article, Trump also expressed his doubts that Iraq would become a democracy and said: “Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over.”

Esquire has since added an editor’s note to the online version of the article disputing any link between the piece and Trump’s claim of opposing the war in Iraq before it started.

“Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been against the Iraq War from the beginning, and he has cited this story as proof,” the editor’s note reads. “The Iraq War began in March 2003, more than a year before this story ran, thus nullifying Trump’s timeline.”

And the magazine on Aug. 15 published an accompanying article titled “Once Again, Trump Claims He Was Always Against the Iraq War. He’s Lying.” — with an line below reading “And now he’s throwing Esquire into the mix.”

(h/t NBC News)

Reality

When we lay out the timeline of events, we can see that Trump is indeed lying when he said he was always against the Iraq War.

Media

 

Donald Trump Will Not Stop Lying About The Iraq War

Of all the lies Donald Trump likes to tell while running for president, the one about being an early opponent of the 2003 Iraq War may be his favorite. Despite well-documented evidence that the casino mogul spoke in support of the ill-fated war in the lead-up to the invasion, reporters have repeatedly let the Republican presidential candidate tell a revisionist version of his past stance without pushing back on the claim.

That sequence repeated itself on Wednesday night during NBC’s televised town hall, the first event featuring the two presidential candidates in back-to-back question-and-answer sessions. When it was Trump’s turn, NBC’s Matt Lauer asked the Republican candidate what about his past experiences has prepared him to be the country’s commander in chief.

Trump followed a familiar routine of dodging the question, offering vague assurances of his success, and eventually, outright lying.

“Well, I think the main thing is, I have great judgment. I have good judgment. I know what’s going on. I’ve called so many of the shots. And I happened to hear Hillary Clinton say that I was not against the war in Iraq. I was totally against the war in Iraq ― from ― you can look at Esquire magazine from ‘04, you can look at before that. I was against the war in Iraq because I said it would totally destabilize the Middle East, which it has. It has absolutely been a disastrous war.”

Lauer, who is surely aware of the factual inaccuracy of Trump’s claim, could have pointed out that 2004 was after the invasion, and therefore more of an example of Monday-morning quarterbacking than good judgment. He could have pointed to earlier interviews in which Trump voiced support for the war. Or he could have asked the candidate for another example from before the 2003 start of the war.

Instead, he just moved on to the next question.

Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski was the first to uncover Trump’s earlier remarks about the war in Iraq. In 2000, Trump called for a “principled and tough” policy toward “outlaw” states like Iraq, Buzzfeed found. In 2002, Howard Stern asked Trump outright if he favored invading Iraq. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump said at the time. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

By 2004 it had become clear that ousting Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein was only the first part of a protracted U.S. military effort there, and Trump was offering a new view on the invasion. In August 2004 he told Esquire’s Cal Fussman:

“Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in. I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the county? C’mon. Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he’ll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn’t have.”

Lauer is not the first reporter to let Trump get away with his revisionist account of his early stance on the Iraq War. Buzzfeed later reported that several major news outlets ― CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, the New York Times and the Washington Post ― have, on at least one occasion, offered a platform for Trump to insist he was always against the Iraq War without correcting the candidate.

This is no small oversight. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to secure the Democratic party’s presidential nomination in 2008, in part, because she voted for the disastrous war that her opponent, Barack Obama, had opposed as a senator.

In this election, voters don’t have the option of electing a candidate who demonstrated better judgment about whether to invade Iraq. But during the town hall on Wednesday, Clinton owned up to her miscalculation on the Iraq War ― and reminded voters of her opponent’s refusal to do so.

“I have taken responsibility for my decision,” Clinton said. “He refuses to take responsibility for his support ― that is a judgment issue.”

(h/t Huffington Post)

Reality

In Sept. 11, 2002 in an interview on the Howard Stern show, Trump was asked if he supported an invasion of Iraq and responded: “Yeah, I guess so,” and “I wish the first time it was done correctly.” The interview was earlier reported by Buzzfeed News, which posted audio of the exchange.

Esquire, the magazine that published a 2004 interview in which Trump opposed the war a year after it began, earlier this month accused the GOP nominee of “lying” about claims he was always against the war.

Trump Defends 2013 Tweet About Allowing Women to Serve in the Military

Donald Trump on Wednesday defended a tweet that he posted three years ago that stated the estimated number of unreported sexual assaults in the military and then mused: “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

“Well, it is, it is a correct tweet,” Trump said when asked about the tweet during NBC News’ Commander-in-Chief Forum in New York on Wednesday night. “There are many people that think that that’s absolutely correct … Well, well, it’s happening, right? And, by the way, since then, it’s gotten worse.”

NBC’s Matt Lauer, who led the forum, pushed Trump to better explain himself and asked if the Republican nominee thinks that the only way to end sexual assault in the military is to kick women out. (Sexual assault in the military is not just a problem for women, as that Pentagon has said that many assault cases involve men attacking other men.)

“No, not to take them out, but something has to be happen[ing],” Trump said. “Right now part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted. You have reported — and the gentleman can tell you — you have the report of rape, and nobody gets prosecuted. There are no consequence[s]. When you have somebody that does something so evil, so bad as that, there has to be consequence[s] for that person. You have to go after that person. Right now, nobody’s doing anything. Look at the small number of results. I mean, that’s part of the problem.”

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

First, from Trump’s statements he was clearly under the impression that we are dealing with only men raping women, and may believe the rape myths that men cannot be raped, and that women cannot be perpetrators.

Donald Trump’s answer never addressed the blatantly sexist overtones of his tweet, and instead called for more prosecutions. However this response also calls into question Trump’s understanding of a very nuanced issue.

According to Human Rights Watch, military personnel who report a sexual assault frequently find that their military career is the biggest casualty. This gives most victims of sexual assault no incentive or protections to come forward or with any recourse once they’ve been booted out of the armed forces.

Trump, however, has said women should be in the military because, “they’re really into it.”

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