"I heard Hillary Clinton say I was not against the war in Iraq," Donald Trump told Matt Lauer last fall during a Commander-in-Chief Forum. "I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that."
The reason Clinton said that Trump was not against the war in Iraq is because he was not against the war in Iraq. The United States invaded Iraq in 2003, and the congressional debate over authorizing the use of military force in Iraq was in 2002. And during that period, Trump supported the invasion of Iraq. BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott were the first to unearth a Howard Stern Show transcript that proved it.
Here was Trump in 2002:
Stern: Are you for invading Iraq?
Trump: Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.
Since their initial report that Trump was lying about this, several different fact-checkers looked into it and all concluded that Trump was lying. Trump’s habit of lying about this has been widely discussed in the press. NBC News’s senior political editor caught Trump lying as it happened, and, as Trump himself noted, Clinton flagged the fact that Trump was going to lie about this for Lauer.
Trump repeats that he was against the Iraq war from the outset.— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) September 8, 2016
That is not true.
Lauer, unfortunately, just let Trump get away with it.
How can someone like @MLauer not set the record straight on Trump's bogus claim of being against the war in Iraq?— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) September 8, 2016
Later, near the very end of the interview, Trump said that Clinton "made a terrible mistake on Libya."
In fact, Trump himself supported the military action in Libya that he now characterizes as a mistake. He made a video about it and posted it on his website. You can watch it right here.
It’s not a great idea, in general, for journalists to let politicians get away with bald-faced, on-camera lies. But it’s particularly important not to let them do it when, as is the case with Trump on these two issues, the lies are so predictable.
Trump says these things about Libya and Iraq all the time. It’s not incidental, it’s the core of his message. He says it over and over again. And it’s not true. People need to know that. And Lauer totally blew it.