True or False? Questionable claims from the Trump-Clinton debate

True or False? Questionable claims from the Trump-Clinton debate
Did Trump oppose the Iraq War? Has Hillary Clinton fought IS 'all of her adult life'? - A fact check of some claims made during Monday night's debate.
4 min read
27 Sep, 2016
Trump and Clinton continued to attack one another on foreign policy credentials [Getty]
Monday night's first clash between rival presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton saw the expected flinging of accusations from across the stage.

How true were some of these claims?

Did Donald Trump support the 2003 Iraq War?

In response to Clinton saying that "Donald supported the Iraq War," Trump stubbornly rebuked that his rival was "wrong, wrong, wrong". The Republican nominee said that the claim was simply "mainstream media nonsense put out by her".

While Trump now seems adamant that he was a long-time opposer of the war, his record is shady at best. Prior to the coalition invasion of Iraq, Trump made no public statements against the military action. In September 2002, however, when radio host Howard Stern asked Trump if he supported a potential invasion, the businessman replied: "Yeah, I guess so." 

At Monday night's debate, Trump tried to brush this aside by saying that the comment had been made "lightly". He went as far as to that in private arguments with Fox News' Sean Hannity, he had been adamant that war would only throw the Middle East into further chaos. The only evidence of this exchange is Trump's own words.

Has Hillary Clinton been fighting the Islamic State group all of her adult life?

"You have been fighting ISIS [Islamic State group] all of your adult life," Trump said to Clinton at the New York debate.

As strange as it may seem to make such a claim about a 68-year-old, this was one of the many ways that the Republican nominee attempted to flatten Clinton's reputation for beating an enemy of the United States. But the IS group only appeared in 2009 - when Clinton was already embarking into her sixties.

It may be argued that, as the roots of IS stem from the Iraqi wing of al-Qaeda, which rose to prominence in 2004, Clinton has been part of the fight for some years. However the brash claim still falls flat. In this case, Trump's words are perhaps best understood as part of his his scathing take on the Obama administration's record on fighting global terror. 

Did Trump call climate change a hoax 'invented by the Chinese'?

Among the stranger claims was also one from Clinton, alleging that her rival had said that climate change was an invention of China. Trump, however, simply insisted "I did not say that".

The truth, however is that Clinton's jab at Trump actually relates to a tweet from 2012, which the real estate tycoon later brushed aside as a joke. The tweet from Trump said: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive".

Adamant: Donald Trump continued to insist that he was against the Iraq War in his first debate with Hillary Clinton [Getty]

Will Trump's tax returns reveal much?

In response to a repeated challenge from Clinton to release his tax returns, Trump claimed that he was unable to - as he is currently undergoing an audit. He also went further to say that the information would not reveal much.

"You don't learn that much from tax returns," the Republican nominee said.

Clinton suggested that Trump has shied away from publishing his finances - as such publication may reveal that Trump is not as rich as he claims, or that it could expose his claim of having given $102 million to charity in the past five years as less than truthful.

In this case, it certainly isn't true that being audited by the Internal Revenue Service would prevent tax returns from being released. These documents would show how much Trump earns annually, as well as how much he pays in tax and how much he gives to charity.

An investigation by the Washington Post called Trump's alleged philanthropy into question when it found no evidence of cash donated by the businesses after 2008. An assessment by Forbes has also cast doubt over Trump's wealth, placing the figure at $4.5 billion. This contrasts Trump's own claim of being worth $10 billion.

So, contrary to Trump's claim that you can't learn much from tax returns, there would actually be much information of interest to the public about a man who may be their president. By publishing the information, voters would be be given access to information that would confirm the businessman's annual income and whether his claims about charitable giving are true. 

Only one Republican candidate for president since Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon has failed to release a full tax return - Gerald Ford in 1976. Ford did, however, release summary data including his total income and total tax paid.