- REUTERS/Mike Segar
NBC host Matt Lauer questioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on a years-old tweet about military sexual assault that seemed to suggest women should not be allowed in the military.
Lauer brought up the tweet after a veteran at an NBC forum on national security asked Trump about statistics on sexual assault in the US military, noting that his daughter decided not to join the service when she saw them.
Trump responded that military sexual assault is a “massive problem.”
“The numbers are staggering, hard to believe even, but we’re going to have to run it very tight,” he said. “I, at the same time, want to keep the court system within the military. I don’t think it should be outside of the military, but we have to come down very, very hard on that.”
But Lauer immediately quoted a 2013 tweet from Trump that said, “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”
Trump defended the tweet.
“Well, it is a correct tweet,” Trump said. “There are many people that think that that’s absolutely correct. And we need to have a strength and we need to have -“
Lauer cut in.
“So this should have been expected and does that mean the only way to fix it is to take women out of the military?” he asked.
“No, not to kick them out, but something has to happen,” Trump said. “Right now, part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign, in a statement on the forum, criticized Trump’s remarks during the exchanges on sexual assault in the military.
“Trump sputtered his way through the forum, making clear his secret ISIS plan is no plan at all, doubling down on the idea that the military should have known better than to have men and women serve together and lying yet again about his early support for the war in Iraq,” Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said.