Presidential Debate statements: Sorting out the fact from the fiction

Donald Trump’s habit of peddling hype and fabrication emerged unabated in the first presidential debate while Hillary Clinton played it cautiously in her statements, though not without error. They both denied making statements that they are on the record as saying.

TRUMP, denying Clinton’s accusation that he supported the Iraq war: “Wrong. Wrong.” Later: “That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her. I was against the war in Iraq.”

THE FACTS: There is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the US invaded, despite his repeated insistence that he did. Rather, he offered lukewarm support. He only began to voice doubts about the conflict well after it began in March 2003.

His first known public comment on the topic came on September 11, 2002, when he was asked whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with radio host Howard Stern. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded.

On March 21, 2003, just days after the invasion began, Trump said it “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”

Later that year he began voicing doubts.

TRUMP, when Clinton accused him of calling climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese: “I did not say that.”

THE FACTS: Yes he did, in the form of a 2012 tweet: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” He later claimed he was kidding, but also repeated the claim that climate change is a hoax, and one that benefits China.

He tweeted in January 2014: “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!”

TRUMP: “I’ve been under audit for almost 15 years.”

THE FACTS: Trump has never provided evidence to the public that he is actually under audit. A letter released by his tax attorneys never used the word, merely describing his tax returns under continuous examination. That is not a formal term for any kind of action by the Internal Revenue Service.

TRUMP to Clinton: “You’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.”

THE FACTS: Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and is 68 years old. She reached adulthood in 1965. The Islamic State group grew out of an al-Qaeda spinoff, al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2013.

TRUMP: “My father gave me a small loan in 1975.”

THE FACTS: Aside from $1 million in financing from his father, Trump received loan guarantees, bailouts and a drawdown from his future inheritance. Tim O’Brien noted in a 2005 book that Trump not only drew an additional $10 million from his future inheritance during hard times, but also inherited a share of his father’s real estate holdings, worth hundreds of millions when they were eventually sold.

TRUMP: “You don’t learn a lot from tax returns.”

THE FACTS: They would provide vital information about his wealth, taxes paid, tax avoidance efforts, exact amounts of real estate holdings and charitable donations that can’t be gleaned from any other source.

CLINTON: “Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans.”

TRUMP on hacking of the Democratic National Committee: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC... I mean it could be Russia. But it could also be China. It could be lots of other people. It could be somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds.”

THE FACTS: Trump didn’t encourage Russia to hack broadly “into Americans,” as Clinton said, although he did express the hope that Russian hackers would “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” from Clinton’s private server.

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