"Iraq is one of the biggest differences in this race," said Trump, during a speech at the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy that addressed education policy. "I opposed going in and I did oppose it. Despite the media saying, 'No, yes, no,' I opposed going in."
When asked by Stern during a radio interview in 2002 if he was in favor of invading the country, Trump answered, "Yeah, I guess so."
"And the Howard statement was long before and it was the first time anybody ever asked me about Iraq. I said, I don't know. I was very, very -- but, that was superseded because before the war, much closer to the war, I gave statements that we shouldn't go in," Trump said in Cleveland.
Following Clinton on the forum however, Trump stood by the claim he was against the war.
"I happened to hear Hillary Clinton say that I was not against the war in Iraq. I was totally against the war in Iraq," said Trump Wednesday night. "You can look at Esquire magazine from ’04. You can look at before that."
The businessman tried to confront the evidence presented against him Thursday, referring again to the Esquire profile.
"'Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in,'" said Trump, quoting the magazine. "[The timing of the article] is right after the war started."
Esquire published the piece in August 2004, almost two years after the Stern interview. An Editor's note that now precedes the story on Esquire's website further notes the discrepancy in Trump's timeline.
"'I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up and to lead the country?'" said Trump, citing the magazine story.
Trump additionally mentioned an appearance on Fox News in January 2003 as evidence of his objections Thursday.
"Either you attack or you don't attack," he told host Neil Cavuto, two months before the war began.