GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump opened what was supposed to be an education policy speech in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon with a drawn-out defense of his decidedly false claim that he'd always been "totally against the war in Iraq."
"I opposed going in — and I did oppose it, despite the media saying 'no, yes, no' — I opposed going in, and I opposed the reckless way Hillary Clinton took us out ... letting ISIS fill that big, terrible void," Trump said, apparently responding to critics who argued that he expressed indifference to a U.S. invasion of Iraq in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern.
"I was opposed to the war from the beginning, long after my interview with Howard Stern," he continued, citing a TV interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto that aired "three months before the war started," in which Trump said, "Perhaps we shouldn't be doing it yet and that ... the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned. This was before the war started, by a very short distance."
Trump then read his own quote from a 2004 Esquire cover story, the earliest — albeit retrospective — proof he'd opposed the Iraq War: "I would never have handled it that way."