Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday refused to back down from a widely debunked lie, interrupting his planned education policy speech to reassert that he had opposed the Iraq war from the start.
“I opposed going in, and I did oppose it, despite the media saying, ‘Yes, no, yes, no,’” he said. “I opposed going in.”
Trump re-litigated the issue at length during the speech, citing, among other news reports, a 2004 Esquire magazine interview as proof that he warned against the U.S. invasion of Iraq ― even though that interview took place more than a year after the invasion had already happened.
The real estate mogul frequently cites the Esquire article as proof of his false claim. On Thursday, the magazine republished the article with an editor’s note explaining that “the Iraq War began in March 2003, more than a year before this story ran, thus nullifying Trump’s timeline.”
In his speech, Trump also claimed that he could have captured al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Trump’s insistence that he immediately opposed the 2003 invasion is one of his most oft-repeated lies: He also brought it up on Wednesday night during an NBC forum on national security. Moderator Matt Lauer came under widespread scrutiny for not pushing back on Trump’s false comments.