National defense was one of the themes Hillary Clinton touched on when accepting the Democratic nomination for president, and she used it to criticize her Republican opponent, Donald Trump.
She pledged to use United States military power to strike the terrorist group ISIS and to block online efforts to radicalize young people, promising to prevail even if "it won't be easy or quick."
"Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, 'I know more about ISIS than the generals do.' No, Donald, you don't," Clinton said. "He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are 'a disaster.'"
"Well, I've had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a senator on the Armed Services Committee and I know how wrong he is," she continued. "Our military is a national treasure."
For this fact check, we'll see it Trump actually characterized the United States military as a disaster.
When we contacted the Clinton campaign, spokesman Tim Hogan said it came during the sixth GOP primary debate, on Jan. 14, 2016.
We checked the context. Trump used the line in the midst of a response to a question from Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network, who asked about South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s reference to Trump as one of "the angriest voices."
Trump responded by saying, "I'm very angry because our country is being run horribly and I will gladly accept the mantle of anger. Our military is a disaster. Our healthcare is a horror show. Obamacare, we're going to repeal it and replace it. We have no borders. Our vets are being treated horribly. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. Our country is being run by incompetent people. And yes, I am angry."
That assertion came at a time when other GOP candidates were expressing concern that the military had become too weak, a concern shared by some Democrats as well..
We couldn't find any other comments from Trump characterizing the military as a disaster, but he recently and repeatedly has said it is "depleted."
For example, during a July 12 campaign rally in Indiana, Trump said, "You know, the United States they said had never lost a war. Now we never win. We don't win on trade. We don't win with our military. Our military is so depleted. Our military has fighter jets that are in use, flown by great, great American people that are so old and they can't get parts for the fighter jets. These are people flying these jets now in combat. They can't get parts. So they go to the plane graveyards, in the deserts."
The Clinton campaign pointed to an interview from July 11, 2016, on WAVY-TV in Virginia. In the interview, Trump said, "Right now we have a military that’s depleted and in horrible shape."
Other Democrats have picked up on the "disaster" statement in their attacks against Trump.
We contacted several people at the Trump campaign seeking reaction. They didn't offer a response.
Clinton said Donald Trump "claimed our armed forces are 'a disaster,’" a comment that suggests mismanagement and incompetence.
Trump did, in fact, use that characterization once during a debate in January. More recently, he has called it "depleted" and focused more on what he suggests is a lack of resources.
His comments have been slightly unclear, but recent ones have not been as broadly critical as his comment in the CNBC debate. So we rate Clinton’s claim Mostly True.https://www.sharethefacts.co/share/1d969506-aff2-493d-813a-af0c939fb75b
Email, Tim Hogan, spokesman, Hillary Clinton campaign, July 28, 2016
The Washington Post, "6th Republican debate transcript, annotated: Who said what and what it meant," Jan. 14, 2016
PolitiFact, "Anatomy of a talking point: the smallest Navy since 1917," Aug. 3, 2015, and "Rear Adm. John Hutson says Donald Trump 'called the military that I served in a disaster,'" July 27, 2016
Congressional Quarterly, "Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and Gov. Pence Deliver Remarks at Campaign Event," July 12, 2016 and "Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and Gov. Pence Hold Town Hall Meeting in Roanoke, VA," July 25, 2016
PBS, "Fact-checking GOP candidate claims on Obama’s military spending," Jan. 25, 2016
YouTube, "Donald Trump interviews one-on-one with Andy Fox," WAVY TV 10 channel, July 11, 2016
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.