Welcome to the general election, Donald Trump. Repeatedly this week, Trump has made reference to a “top secret” video he watched of Iranians offloading money from a plane – video which they took with “military cameras” and sent to our government to embarrass them. This led many to speculate that he was blabbing information given to him in a classified briefing because no such video exists in the public domain.
So the media went to the Trump campaign and asked them, “Did your boss just spill classified info? Or was he talking about this Fox News clip from January which showed the prisoners being loaded off the plane?” And his campaign confirmed, “Ha ha, yeah, sorry, he wasn’t talking about a top secret video, he was talking about a Fox News clip.”
The problem, of course, is that the Fox News clip differs materially from what Trump said about this clip. Here is what Trump said about this clip, twice, on the campaign trail this week:
“I’ll never forget the scene this morning,” Trump told the crowd in Daytona Beach, Florida, of what he said he had watched. “Iran ― I don’t think you’ve heard this anywhere but here ― Iran provided all of that footage, the tape, of taking that money off that airplane.
“Over there, where that plane landed, top secret, they don’t have a lot of paparazzi, you know,” Trump said. “The paparazzi doesn’t do so well over there.” But “they have a perfect tape, obviously done by a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane. It’s a military tape. It’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady.”
The actual tape that exists does not show money being taken off a plane. It shows the Iranian hostages stepping off the plane. Completely different from what Trump said he saw, and said he would “never forget.” And further, he described it as “the scene this morning” when in fact the reel in question was months old.
Now, in the primary, the media would have been perfectly content to let this story go after his campaign’s statement. But this is the general election, and so now they have actually stayed on Trump until they got an answer from him directly until he was forced to admit this morning that he just made some crap up during his speech:
The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2016
Welcome to the general election, Donald. If you thought the media was tough before, you haven’t seen anything yet.