Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has proven yet again that he has trouble separating fiction from reality. This time, he has rented out a movie theater in Iowa in order to provide a free screening of Michael Bay’s latest film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi for his supporters.
Trump’s Iowa co-chair, Tana Goertz told the Des Moines Register Thursday that the screening was part of Trump’s effort to make sure “all Americans know the truth about what happened in Benghazi.” However, what happened at the US diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012 in Libya, is anybody’s guess. Any “truth” the film actually reveals is immediately disputable.
An important scene in the film depicts a high ranking CIA operative, under the command of then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, giving an order for his security team to “stand down” before they could get to the embassy on time and prevent the deaths of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith.
The claim that any defense officials had been ordered to “stand down” has been disputed vigorously by several official sources. The Washington Post, for instance, claimed in one of their fact-checks that “both a report by Republicans on the Armed Services Committee and a bipartisan Senate Intelligence report had found that no allegations of a “stand down” order could be substantiated.” The base chief of the compound’s security staff, whose identity remains hidden, also released a statement claiming that no such order had been given.
It is sufficient to say, at the very least, that the film’s adherence to “what really happened” is questionable. The obvious conclusion is that Trump and his supporters are not relying on any facts, or even skepticism towards all the varied statements received from those involved in the events, to obtain “the truth.” In their view, if it happened under Clinton’s watch, there was obviously something shady going on, no matter what facts come out to dispute this.
The movie has not been met with favorable reviews from critics, which is typical for a Michael Bay film. The reception among many conservatives hostile to Hilary Clinton, however, has been much more favorable. The Hill reports that several right-wing groups have also been hosting their own screenings of the film.
Trump’s move to use Bay’s film to smear Hilary Clinton before the Iowa caucus is odd, considering that the Republican front-runner has donated to the Clinton family on many occasions prior to 2008. Although the dynamic has clearly shifted between the two, since both are now possible opponents in the 2016 General Election, one has to wonder why both are now at one another’s throats at this current point in the election. If the latest polls from Iowa are any indication, there is a good chance that Trump may not be up against Clinton in November if he wins the nomination.