Occasionally the “fact checkers” get it right, even those as staunchly aligned with Hillary Clinton as the Washington Post.
Critiquing her claim that Donald Trump said the auto industry “didn’t really matter very much,” that we should just “let it go,” the Post dug into specifics and confirmed that, indeed, Clinton was lying.
To put the lie into perspective, here’s what the Democratic nominee said at a rally at Detroit’s Wayne State University on October 10, 2016:
“Nobody should be surprised, because back in the Great Recession, when millions of jobs across America hung in the balance, Donald Trump said rescuing the auto industry didn’t really matter very much. He said, and I quote again, ‘Let it go.’ Now, I can’t imagine that. I supported President Obama’s decision to rescue the auto industry in America.”
Clinton, of course, is trying to drive a wedge between Trump and his blue-collar support, especially in rust-belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, by portraying the billionaire businessman as a heartless capitalist.
The Post acknowledged that often Trump has made contradictory statements over the years as his positions evolve, so it’s easy for Clinton to “pick and choose various statements to create a narrative.”
In this case, the Clinton campaign is pointing to three different statements by Trump.
One was an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News on Dec. 17, 2008, two days before then-President George W. Bush announced he would provide emergency funding to the auto industry because Congress was deadlocked on legislation.
“You just can’t just throw the money at the auto companies,” Trump said. “You have to get concessions, whether it is in bankruptcy or not in bankruptcy. And bankruptcy is not the worst thing. You would make a much better deal if they threw it into a chapter and they did DIP financing,” referring to debtor-in-possession financing. DIP financing, which places new debt ahead of existing debts, is what the U.S. government provided to Chrysler and General Motors when they went through their managed bankruptcies. (Ford did not go through bankruptcy.)
The Clinton campaign also said Trump claimed the auto bailout was “not vital,” but it is clear from the full transcript that Trump is referring to $112 billion given to the AIG insurance company, not the auto industry.
The second statement was Trump speaking to the CBS Morning News on March 6, 2009: “The question is whether or not we should do it or let them just go bankrupt, let them negotiate from bankruptcy, which is really what should happen.”
Finally, Trump made a meandering comment about the auto bailout on Aug. 11, 2015, in which he tried to have it all ways.
“You could have let it go, and rebuild itself, through the free enterprise system,” Trump said. “You could have let it go bankrupt, frankly, and rebuild itself, and a lot of people think that’s the way it should have happened. Or you could have done it the way it went. I could have done it either way. Either way would have been acceptable. I think you would have wound up in the same place.”
The last statement is where Clinton got the “let it go” quote, making it seem like Trump made the statement back in 2008 when he clearly said it years later in the context of him being able to support any viable option.
However, what Trump DID say in 2008 was “remarkably consistent,” according to the Post.
On Dec. 9, in an interview with Greta van Susteren on Fox News: “I think you have to try and save the companies, and I think you can easily save the companies.”
On Dec. 10, on CNBC: “You have to save the car industry in this country.”
On Dec. 17, in the full interview with Cavuto: “I think the government should stand behind them 100 percent. You cannot lose the auto companies. They are great. They make wonderful products.”
On Dec. 19, on CNN in an interview with Wolf Blitzer: “Absolutely, they should try and save the companies. You just can’t lose Chrysler, you can’t lose Ford, and you can’t lose General Motors.”
The Post’s Pinocchio Test? FOUR Pinocchios for Hillary Clinton for lying about Trump’s position.
Saying that Clinton is creating an “imaginary Trump” in this case, the Post confirmed that the “record is clear that Trump in 2008 was supportive of rescuing the auto industry, saying the government should do everything it could to save it.”
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