NBC moderator Lester Holt interrupted GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, not once, not twice, but… four times at the first debate on Monday.
One of the testiest exchanges came when Trump mentioned his Iraq War opposition in a move to draw a contrast with Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war authorization as a Senator in 2002.
Holt confronted Trump with the allegation that he “had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion,” a reference to a Howard Stern interview in September 2002. During that radio interview, Stern asked Trump if he supported the war, and he said, “Yeah, I guess so,” adding, ““I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
At the presidential debate, Trump defended himself by saying:
“I was against the war in Iraq.”
Holt then attempted to fact-check him:
“The record does not show that.”
“The record shows that I’m right,” Trump responded. “When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, ‘I don’t know, maybe, who knows?’ essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about, the economy is more important [than the war].”
That 2003 interview with Neil Cavuto shows that Trump was not “in favor” of going to war in Iraq. As released by Fox News:
“Well, I’m starting to think that people are much more focused now on the economy,” Trump said. “They’re getting a little bit tired of hearing ‘We’re going in, we’re not going in.’ Whatever happened to the days of Douglas MacArthur? Either do it or don’t do it.”
Trump continued: “Perhaps he shouldn’t be doing it yet. And perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations.”
“Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in,” he said in an August 2004 issue of Esquire. “I would never have handled it that way…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 [Hussein] didn’t have.”
Nonetheless, the “fact checkers” are going to continue to equate Trump’s hedged reluctance to invade Iraq, and his subsequent more vocal opposition, with Hillary Clinton’s actual vote to authorize the invasion in Iraq.
When it comes to “fact-checking,” journalists in the liberal media are using it as a means to discredit their political opposition, instead of letting the candidates arm themselves with the facts and speak for themselves.