Fox News is scrambling to explain why host Neil Cavuto appears to have changed his tune on whether he believes Donald Trump was against the war in Iraq when Cavuto interviewed him in 2003.
In a segment taped back in February, the host of “Your World With Neil Cavuto” claimed that he did not get the impression from the interview, conducted roughly two months before the war began, that Trump opposed the invasion of Iraq.
“Donald Trump has been campaigning largely on the theme: ‘I saw the ills and woes of going into Iraq before anyone else,'” Cavuto said. “Yet when I interviewed him back in January of 2003, a couple of months before we formally got involved in Iraq, he could have left you with a different impression.”
But on Monday night, after the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Cavuto introduced a clip from the 2003 interview — which has been used recently by Trump’s supporters to prove that he opposed the Iraq War — and appeared to sing a different tune.
“It is very unfair for those in the mainstream media to say that he never had any reservations before we went into that war,” he said on Fox Business Network. “In fact, he did.”
The discrepancy in Cavuto’s recollections was discovered when Fox News released a clip of the interview via Twitter on Tuesday, accompanied by the plea “WATCH: 2003 clip backs up @realDonaldTrump on Iraq War opposition.”
In the 2003 interview, Trump said to Cavuto of President George W. Bush, “Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps he shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know?”
Trump continued: “[Bush is] under a lot of pressure. I think he’s doing a very good job. But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem.”
While the comment does express skepticism about the invasion, many in the media have noted that it does not indicate opposition. The use of the word “yet” also suggests Trump may have had an issue with the timing rather than the invasion itself.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning folks at PolitiFact weighed in the matter saying, “So Trump put the economy ahead of confronting Iraq, but he didn’t speak against going to war. At most he suggested waiting for the United Nations to do something.”
Media watchdog Media Matters called the Fox maneuver a “sham,” while media blog Mediate went a step further, calling it “bulls-t.”
When TheWrap reached out to Fox News seeking an explanation for Cavuto’s seeming flip-flop, a rep for the network simply referred us to Monday night’s video but did not elaborate further.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 27, 2016