Trump and Hillary Clinton were both speaking on NBC's Commander in Chief Forum
On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced questions on what they would do as commander-in-chief in an NBC news forum event in front of a live audience of veterans.
Each candidate was given 30 minutes to answer the questions put to them by those members of the military in attendance. In what may be the first glimpse of how the debates will play out, given that both candidates were on stage and host of the Today Show, Matt Lauer was tasked with moderating, both candidates clashed with each other in close proximity, in particular pointing out their records on the Iraq war.
When asked what his plan for the region was if he were indeed able to defeat ISIS, Trump stated that he always opposed the war (despite stating on the Howard Stern show in 2002 that he was for invading Iraq), and added that the major mistake made by the Obama administration was to have left the oil behind reducing the number of troops on the ground.
"Part of the problem that we've had is that we go in, we defeat somebody, and then we don't know what we're doing after that," said Trump.
"I think you know, because you've been watching me, I think, for a long time, I've always said, shouldn't be there, but if we're going to get out, take the oil," he added. "If we would have taken the oil, we wouldn't have ISIS, because ISIS formed with the power and wealth of that oil."
Oh—— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 8, 2016
LAUER: How are we gonna take the oil?
TRUMP: We would leave a group behind & take sections that have oil.https://t.co/X3u5uasOAL
When pressed on the matter, Trump added that he wasn't going to give any further details on his plan to defeat ISIS bar reiterating that he would convene a panel of generals and give them 30 days to submit their plan on how to defeat ISIS.
Highlighting that he had been endorsed by a number of military figures earlier this week, he added that those generals who support Clinton were "people that have been losing for us for a long period of time", and added that "we have the worst, and you could even say the dumbest, foreign policy."
During her time in front of the audience, which was dominated by questions surrounding her use of a private email server, Clinton stated that "my voting to give president Bush that authority [to go to war with Iraq], was, from my perspective, my mistake."
Adding that military force should be a last resort, she stated that "We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we're not putting ground troops into Syria."
Clinton: "We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we're not putting ground troops into Syria." https://t.co/J40mfT0H0f— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 8, 2016
Moderator Matt Lauer was lambasted on social media after the event, highlighting how difficult it will be for those in charge of the debates later on in the campaign trail.
Many users highlighted that Trump's statements about his record on the Iraq war were not followed up, while Clinton was clearly not at ease during some lines of questioning and should have been pressed on the issues that made her defensive.
Seriously -- everyone, and I mean everyone, knew this would happen. And Matt Lauer didn't have a followup planned? https://t.co/mm5ufZKjEx— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) September 8, 2016
Lauer follows up by completely ignoring Trump lying about opposing the Iraq war from the beginning— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 8, 2016
Clinton got tougher questions, but also got visibly irritated and defensive. Trump got mostly softballs. But he rode over them.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 8, 2016