Matt Lauer confronts Trump with brutal past tweet on sexual assault in the military

NBC host Matt Lauer questioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on a years-old tweet about military sexual assault that seemed to suggest women should not be allowed in the military.

Lauer brought up the tweet after a veteran at an NBC forum on national security asked Trump about statistics on sexual assault in the US military, noting that his daughter decided not to join the service when she saw them.

Trump responded that military sexual assault is a "massive problem."

See reactions to the comment:

Social reactions to Trump's comments on military sexual assault
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Social reactions to Trump's comments on military sexual assault
#Trump solution to sexual assault in military- 'Something has to be happen'. Wow- what a brilliant leader! (cue sarcasm)#NBCNewsForum
@lizbethanne I find it hard to be outraged anymore. I mean Trump said sexual assault was a result of putting men and women together today.
Trump, as a soldier for 19 years, WHAT I EXPECT is for male soldiers to be held accountable for SEXUAL ASSAULT CRIMES. #NBCNewsForum
Trump now defending his tweet saying "what do you expect when you put men and women together" re military sexual assault. #CinCForum
2013 post from Trump on military sexual assault that he claims tonight was a "correct tweet"
So @realDonaldTrump thinks women should expect to be sexually assaulted in the military? Shameful. #NBCNewsForum
Trump wants to replace generals, institute a (new) military justice system, & seems indifferent to sexual assault in the military. Aaaaaaarg
"Something has to be happened." -- Donald Trump when asked about military sexual assault
Trump calls military sexual assault a "massive problem," says he'd "come down very, very hard on that" but leave court system w/in military.

"The numbers are staggering, hard to believe even, but we're going to have to run it very tight," he said. "I, at the same time, want to keep the court system within the military. I don't think it should be outside of the military, but we have to come down very, very hard on that."

But Lauer immediately quoted a 2013 tweet from Trump that said, "26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?"

Trump defended the tweet.

SEE ALSO: Matt Lauer mercilessly grills Hillary Clinton on her use of a private email server

"Well, it is a correct tweet," Trump said. "There are many people that think that that's absolutely correct. And we need to have a strength and we need to have —"

Lauer cut in.

"So this should have been expected and does that mean the only way to fix it is to take women out of the military?" he asked.

"No, not to kick them out, but something has to happen," Trump said. "Right now, part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted."

SEE ALSO: Trump's list of 88 military endorsements seen by some as lacking

Hillary Clinton's campaign, in a statement on the forum, criticized Trump's remarks during the exchanges on sexual assault in the military.

"Trump sputtered his way through the forum, making clear his secret ISIS plan is no plan at all, doubling down on the idea that the military should have known better than to have men and women serve together and lying yet again about his early support for the war in Iraq," Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said.

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