WASHINGTON – 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.
A look at some of the claims in the debate and how they compare with the facts:
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 U.S. 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 Sept. 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.
CLINTON, denying Trump’s accusation that she called the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the “gold standard” of trade agreements: “I did say I hoped it would be a good deal.”
THE FACTS: Trump is correct. On a 2012 trip to Australia as secretary of state, Clinton called the deal that was taking shape the “gold standard” of trade agreements. She championed it in other venues around the world. She did not merely express the hope it would turn out well.
Clinton flip-flopped into opposing the trade deal in the Democratic primary when facing Bernie Sanders, who was strongly opposed to it.
TRUMP: “My father gave me a small loan in 1975.”
THE FACTS: Trump got a whole lot more than a small loan. 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, which were worth hundreds of millions when they were eventually sold off.
CLINTON on nuclear deal: “It’s been very successful in giving us access to facilities we’ve never been to before.”
TRUMP: “We gave them $150 billion back.”
THE FACTS: Both are playing loose with the facts.
The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency had been present in Iran’s declared nuclear facilities like Natanz and Fordo long before the July 2015 agreement that eased economic sanctions on the country in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
The agency’s inspectors had also visited previously the Parchin military base, where nuclear weapons testing was suspected to have taken place. When the agency sought answers on Parchin in September 2015, the Iranians were permitted to take their own soil samples.
As to Trump’s claim about the $150 billion, the deal allowed Iran to get access to its own money that was frozen in foreign bank accounts, estimated at about $100 billion. The U.S. didn’t give Iran $150 billion.
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