Donald Trump confirmed Friday morning that he was mistaken about a video he had seen on Fox News. Here’s his tweet:
The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2016
Allahpundit wrote about this yesterday when it seemed to briefly be spinning into another media fixation. In case you missed it, Trump described the footage to a rally in Florida saying, “They have a perfect tape, done by obviously a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane.” Trump concluded that the Iranian government must have sent the tape to the U.S. to embarrass us.
The Washington Post asked the Trump campaign where he had seen this tape and the campaign responded with a link to a Fox News story. That story contained b-roll footage of people getting off a plane, however the plane was not the one that took money to Iran.
There are two points worth noting about this. First, while Trump was wrong about what he thought he saw on Fox News, it turns out there was a documentary broadcast on Iranian TV which included a clip showing a pallet stacked with cash. The documentary suggests the footage is of the cash sent to Iran by the U.S. in January. That snippet of video hasn’t been confirmed but it does seem to indicate the Iranians saw the delivery of cash as a victory of sorts over the United States.
To be clear, Trump hadn’t seen that video when he made his comments at the rally, so he was definitely wrong about what he saw (or thought he saw) on Fox News. That said, he was arguably right about how the Iranians, or at least the Revolutionary Guard, felt about the cash delivery.
Second, it’s worth noting that Trump set the record straight fairly quickly on this. He didn’t ignore it. He didn’t double down on it. That’s not how he has tended to handle these situations in the past. This reaction is an improvement and the kind of thing he needs to do routinely to prevent small mistakes from turning in to media distractions that last for days.