Donald Trump just did something he rarely (or perhaps never ) does -- he admitted he made a mistake. He's said and done a lot of controversial things throughout this election cycle and never expressed any regret, so this is a pretty big moment.
It recently came to light the Obama administration secretly gave around $400 million to Iran the same day four American prisoners were released back in January.
Trump painted the money transfer as ransom for the prisoners, but this wasn't the case whatsoever. It was a coincidence the money was sent at the same time.
In reality, the $400 million was part of a settlement over a failed arms deal the US government had with Iran before the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Long story short, the pre-revolution Iranian government gave $400 million to the US for fighter jets when the US and Iran were still on good terms. But then the revolution and hostage crisis occurred, causing the US to cut off diplomatic relations with Iran and freeze Iranian assets in America. The jets were never delivered, and the US government didn't give the $400 million back, either.
The issue was eventually disputed at an international tribunal at The Hague, and in January 2016, the US and Iranian governments reached a deal: The US government would give Iran $1.7 billion, which essentially amounts to what was paid for the fighter jets, accounting for inflation.
This was not ransom money.
But after the story came to light, Trump claimed to have seen a top secret video of the $400 million transfer. At a campaign rally in Daytona Beach, Florida on Wednesday, Trump said,
I'll never forget the scene this morning. Iran ― I don't think you've heard this anywhere but here ― Iran provided all of that footage, the tape, of taking that money off that airplane. Over there, where that plane landed, top secret, they don't have a lot of paparazzi, you know... The paparazzi doesn't do so well over there [But] they have a perfect tape, obviously done by a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane. It's a military tape. It's a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady... Iran released that tape so that we will be embarrassed.
Then, on Thursday, a Trump campaign spokesperson told The Washington Post Trump had not actually seen the alleged top secret footage but footage of the prisoner release in Geneva. Spokeswoman Hope Hicks said,
[It was] merely the b-roll footage included in every broadcast.
Trump doubled down on his false claim about the "top secret" footage, even after his own spokeswoman admitted it was just b-roll footage widely circulated across the media.
The Republican presidential nominee finally admitted he was wrong in a tweet on Friday morning.
It's a bit ridiculous it took him so long to state this publicly, but it's also very rare for him to admit he was wrong, so maybe he's changing? Only time will tell.