President Donald Trump on Thursday responded to questions about the arrest of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange in London by falsely claiming he knew nothing about the site.
“I know nothing about WikiLeaks, it’s not my thing,” Trump said, answering a reporter’s question about whether he still supported the site, following Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy, on multiple federal conspiracy charges.
“I know nothing really about ’em,” he added. “It’s not my deal in life.”
Trump then explained that he had no opinion on the arrest and would leave it up to his attorney general to make any decisions.
Despite his feigned ignorance on Thursday, the president in fact mentioned or talked about WikiLeaks at least 164 times in the last month of his 2016 campaign alone.
In 2016, Russian hackers stole thousands of computer documents from the Democratic National Committee and campaign staffers working for Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The hackers handed the stolen documents over to WikiLeaks, which later published them in October that year.
Trump’s campaign subsequently and repeatedly cited embarrassing details from those documents to attack Clinton.
“Boy, that WikiLeaks has done a job on her, hasn’t it?” Trump proclaimed in one campaign speech.
“I love WikiLeaks,” he proclaimed during another.
Days after the emails were published, Trump claimed before a crowd of supporters in Pennsylvania that the documents from Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, were enough to “disqualify” her from the White House.
“We have all of these new charges, did you see it just came down today?” he said. “WikiLeaks, some new stuff, some brutal stuff. I mean I’d read it to you but, to hell with it, trust me it’s real bad stuff. The speech transcripts contain scandalous revelations about Hillary Clinton that disqualify her from seeking public office. … She’s disqualified just on the fact that she did that with her e-mails.”
According to The Washington Post, as of March 31, Trump has made at least 9,451 false or misleading claims over the course of his presidency.