The fight against ISIL

Donald Trump said that Hillary Clinton had been “fighting [ISIL] your entire adult life.” In reality, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant began as an Al-Qaida affiliate that sprang up in Iraq as the Sunni insurgency amid the power vacuum created by the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s government.

It was largely defeated and pushed into Syria during Obama’s first term, when Clinton was secretary of state. It eventually split from Al-Qaida, rebranded itself as ISIL and swept back into Iraq in 2014, when she was out of office.


Clinton blamed Russia for conducting cyberattacks. She was right, but the United States has not publicly named Russia as the attacker against the Democratic National Committee, the State Department, the White House or the Pentagon.

“The United States has much greater capacity,” she said, seeming to threaten that the U.S. could respond in kind. She appeared to be referring to Washington’s offensive cyberability, made clear in U.S. attacks on Iran’s nuclear program while she was secretary of state. The U.S. has never admitted to that action.

Trump seemed to try to deflect responsibility away from Moscow. “It could be Russia,” he said, “but it could also be China.” U.S. intelligence officials said the most recent attacks originated in Russia.

ISIL and Iraqi oil

Trump said that ISIL would never have come into power if the United States had stayed in Iraq, and if the U.S. had “taken the oil,” especially in Libya.

It’s unlikely that 10,000 troops remaining in Iraq would have made much of a difference — especially in Syria and Libya, where the U.S. never had troops. Moreover, much of ISIL’s revenue has come from smuggling and taxes, and much of the oil infrastructure has been destroyed.

U.S. and Iraqi oil

Trump said that the United States should have taken Iraq’s oil.

Seizing Iraq’s oil — or the resources of any country — is illegal under international law, and doing so would have likely prompted condemnation from around the world. In purely practical terms, seizing Iraq’s oil would have required tens of thousands of U.S. troops to protect Iraq’s oil infrastructure. It is probably safe to assume that Iraqis would have objected to their country’s main source of wealth being used to enrich another country.

Troop withdrawals

Trump accused Clinton and President Obama of withdrawing troops and leaving a vacuum in Iraq and Syria, which allowed ISIL to take root. In fact, Clinton advocated arming moderate rebels in Syria and said afterward that Obama’s refusal to do so may have left a vacuum there. She also privately backed a Pentagon proposal to leave a larger residual force in Iraq.


Trump was correct in asserting that many NATO countries do not contribute their full share to NATO — a complaint that Obama and a former defense secretary, Robert Gates, have also voiced.

But he was wrong about NATO failing to fight terrorism. NATO was fighting Al-Qaida in Afghanistan starting in 2003.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Clinton said, in defense of her flip-flop on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, that she had “hoped it would be a good deal” but when it was negotiated, she did not agree with the terms.

In fact, Clinton spoke out more than 40 times in favor of the deal, saying it would be a “strategic initiative that would strengthen the position” of the U.S.

Iraq war

Trump said he opposed the war in Iraq before it began. But during the buildup to the war, he expressed his support in an interview with Howard Stern.

Climate change

Clinton accused Trump of saying that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Trump responded, “I do not say that.” But in 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” Over the past year, Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax.

Family loan

Clinton said that it was $14 million in loans from Trump’s father that helped him get his real estate business off the ground.

Trump said it was just a “small” loan. A recent Wall Street Journal article cited a casino disclosure document from 1985 showing that Trump owed his father and his father’s company $14 million.

New York Times