Full Transcript: Presidential Debate September 26, 2016 Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton

So we’ve got to do everything we can to vacuum up intelligence from Europe, from the Middle East. That means we’ve got to work more closely with our allies, and that’s something that Donald has been very dismissive of. We’re working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn our attention to terrorism. We’re working with our friends in the Middle East, many of which, as you know, are Muslim majority nations. Donald has consistently insulted Muslims abroad, Muslims at home, when we need to be cooperating with Muslim nations and with the American Muslim community. They’re on the front lines. They can provide information to us that we might not get anywhere else. They need to have close working cooperation with law enforcement in these communities, not be alienated and pushed away as some of Donald’s rhetoric, unfortunately, has led to.

Lester Holt: Mr. Trump…

Donald Trump: Well, I have to respond.

Lester Holt: Please respond.

Donald Trump: The secretary said very strongly about working with — we’ve been working with them for many years, and we have the greatest mess anyone’s ever seen. You look at the Middle East, it’s a total mess. Under your direction, to a large extent. But you look at the Middle East, you started the Iran deal, that’s another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, I mean, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions. And now they’re going to be actually probably a major power at some point pretty soon, the way they’re going.

But when you look at NATO, I was asked on a major show, what do you think of NATO? And you have to understand, I’m a businessperson. I did really well. But I have common sense. And I said, well, I’ll tell you. I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO. But two things. Number one, the 28 countries of NATO, many of them aren’t paying their fair share. Number two — and that bothers me, because we should be asking — we’re defending them, and they should at least be paying us what they’re supposed to be paying by treaty and contract.

And, number two, I said, and very strongly, NATO could be obsolete, because — and I was very strong on this, and it was actually covered very accurately in the New York Times, which is unusual for the New York Times, to be honest — but I said, they do not focus on terror. And I was very strong. And I said it numerous times. And about four months ago, I read on the front page of the Wall Street Journal that NATO is opening up a major terror division. And I think that’s great. And I think we should get — because we pay approximately 73% of the cost of NATO. It’s a lot of money to protect other people. But I’m all for NATO. But I said they have to focus on terror, also. And they’re going to do that. And that was — believe me — I’m sure I’m not going to get credit for it — but that was largely because of what I was saying and my criticism of NATO. I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us, in addition to surrounding nations, and we have to knock the hell out of ISIS, and we have to do it fast, when ISIS formed in this vacuum created by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton. And believe me, you were the ones that took out the troops. Not only that, you named the day. They couldn’t believe it. They sat back probably and said, I can’t believe it. They said…

Lester Holt: Lester, we’ve covered…

Donald Trump: No, wait a minute.

Hillary Clinton: We’ve covered this ground.

Donald Trump: When they formed, when they formed, this is something that never should have happened. It should have never happened. Now, you’re talking about taking out ISIS. But you were there, and you were secretary of state when it was a little infant. Now it’s in over 30 countries. And you’re going to stop them? I don’t think so.

Lester Holt: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your…

Donald Trump: I did not support the war in Iraq.

Lester Holt: In 2002…

Donald Trump: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she — frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.

Lester Holt: My question is, since you supported it…

Donald Trump: Just — would you like to hear…

Lester Holt:… why is your — why is your judgment…

Donald Trump: Wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.

Lester Holt: The record shows otherwise, but why — why was…

Donald Trump: The record does not show that.

Lester Holt: Why was — is your judgment any…

Donald Trump: The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day — and I spoke to him about it — he said you were totally against the war, because he was for the war.

Lester Holt: Why is your judgment better than…

Donald Trump: And when he — excuse me. And that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said very strongly to me and other people — he’s willing to say it, but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war. He said, you used to have fights with me, because Sean was in favor of the war. And I understand that side, also, not very much, because we should have never been there. But nobody called Sean Hannity. And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started. I think in ’04. But they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq. And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely — because if you read this article, there’s no doubt. But if somebody — and I’ll ask the press — if somebody would call up Sean Hannity, this was before the war started. He and I used to have arguments about the war. I said, it’s a terrible and a stupid thing. It’s going to destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what it’s done. It’s been a disaster.