Donald Trump on Friday admitted that footage he’s been indicating for two days was of money getting shuttled to Iran was actually footage of hostages in Switzerland.
“The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Mr. Trump’s campaign had said as much earlier this week, after he had gone into detail about seeing footage of the money in responding to the news that the U.S. had transferred $400 million to Iran in January at the same time that American hostages were being released from the country.
“I’ll never forget the scene this morning,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Florida Wednesday. “And remember this. 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, right?
“Now here’s the amazing thing: over there, where that plane landed — top secret, they don’t have a lot of paparazzi. You know, the paparazzi doesn’t do so well over there, right?” he said. “And they have a perfect tape done by obviously a government camera and the tape is of the people taking the money of the plane, right?
“That means that in order to embarrass us further, Iran sends us the tapes, right? It’s a military tape. It was a tape that was a perfect angle — nice and steady. Nobody getting nervous because they’re going to be shot because they’re shooting a picture of money pouring off a plane,” he said.
After those comments, the Trump campaign told The Washington Post that the tape Mr. Trump had seen was b-roll footage that’s been labeled as American hostages landing in Geneva in January after being released from prison.
But Mr. Trump said again Thursday in Maine that he guessed the footage was of the money transfer.
“You know, it was interesting, because a tape was made, right? You saw that, with the airplane coming in — nice plane,” he said.
“And the airplane coming in and the money coming off, I guess, right? That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians,” he said. “And you know why the tape was given to us? Because they want to embarrass our country. They want to embarrass our country.”
The Obama administration has denied the $400 million was a ransom payment, but the news of the transfer, first reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, gave Mr. Trump an opportunity to shift attention back to President Obama and his foreign policy and, by extension, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A good deal of the coverage of Mr. Trump’s response, though, has been tied to his repeatedly invoking the footage supposedly showing the money transfer.
• David Sherfinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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