From Eric Zorn
Highlights (direct quotations) from various fact checks on Donald Trump’s convention speech–
New York Times
• “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.”
Fact Check: In fact, the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks officer deaths, reports that 68 police officers have been killed so far this year, almost exactly the same as the 69 who were killed in the same period last year.
• “58 percent of African-American youth are not employed.”
Fact Check: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of African Americans ages 16-19 in June was 31.2 percent (among whites of the same age, it was 14.1 percent).
TRUMP CLAIM: We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal.
THE FACTS: It actually came AFTER the signing of the Iran deal, which happened on July 14, 2015. The sailors were captured in Jan. 2016.
Trump claimed Clinton “plans a massive … tax increase,” but tax experts say 95% of taxpayers would see “little or no change” in their taxes under Clinton’s plan.
Trump also said, “Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood.” True, but it was through an election after an uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. Clinton and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates both wrote that they urged President Obama not to be quick to abandon support for Mubarak
Trump said, “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” The U.S. has one of the highest business tax rates, but for personal taxes, the U.S. ranked in the bottom half among industrialized nations.
Trump criticized Clinton for her “failed policy of nation-building and regime change” and he counted Libya among them. Left unsaid was that Trump also supported the military ouster of Moammar Gadhafi at that time (saying) in 2011 that the U.S. should go into Libya “on a humanitarian basis” and “knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives.”
Trump used a popular false talking point about the Affordable Care Act when he said that he’d repeal it and “you will be able to choose your own doctor again.” The law didn’t take away the ability to choose a doctor,
Trump said that the Republican Party got “60% more votes than it received eight years ago.” Meanwhile, according to Trump, “the Democrats, on the other hand, received 20% fewer votes than they got four years ago.” There’s only one problem: four years ago, Barack Obama was an incumbent president, and his presence on the ballot was merely a formality. Did the Democrats really get 20% fewer votes this year than in an election where the sitting president didn’t face a significant challenge? The answer is no. In fact, CNN estimates that there was a total of 31,377,481 votes cast in the 2016 Democratic primary season, compared to 8,571,580 in 2012, according to the Federal Election Commission. So, rather than a 20% decrease, that’s a whopping 266% increase in total votes. Perhaps Trump misspoke, and meant to refer to the 2008 Democratic primary, which featured record turnout. In 2008, Democrats received a total of 37,235,154 votes — or 20% more than in this cycle. As far as Trump’s claim that there were 60% more votes cast in 2016 than 2008? CNN estimates that there was a total of 31,155,487 votes cast in the 2016 Republican primary fight, compared to 20,790,899 votes reported by the FEC in 2008. That’s not quite as big a leap as Trump claimed, coming in at a still significant 50%. We rate his claim about the Democratic vote tallies as false.
“Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000.”
This is a stale statistic, based on 2014 Census data, which ignores the fact that incomes have risen sharply in the last two years. A more up-to-date figure is obtained from the nonpartisan economic consulting firm Sentier Research, which produces a monthly report using data from the Census Bureau’s monthly household survey. The most recent report, released on the day of Trump’s speech, shows median annual household income in June was $57,206, slightly below the income of $57,826 in Jan Benzeluary 2000, in 2016 dollars. So it is essentially flat, not down $4,000.
“In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.”
The Islamic State of today is simply an outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq. It was established in April 2004 by longtime Sunni extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to the National Counterterrorism Center. Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in 2006, and afterward his successor announced the formation of the Islamic State — more than two years before George W. Bush left office.
“Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country.” Bill Clinton was certainly a supporter of NAFTA who pushed approval through Congress. But it was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush. (Here’s a photo.) Moreover, more Republicans than Democrats voted for the deal, as the trade pact was vehemently opposed by labor unions. One key ally for Clinton was then-House Minority Whip (and later House speaker) Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), now a Trump supporter.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership… will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments.”
TPP, like other trade deals, does establish a commission to monitor implementation. It periodically may make suggestions on changes that are needed in the agreement as the global economy modernizes, but those changes have to be carried out through domestic processes. All TPP members are already part of the World Trade Organization. It settles trade disputes and can allow for monetary retaliation. But the dispute settlement rulings cannot force changes in U.S. laws.
On the ISIS claims: While it’s possible to argue that Obama’s first four years created some conditions for ISIS, the group did not begin its rise until 2013, after Hillary Clinton left the State Department.
Trump said, “An amendment pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away.”
Religious leaders and institutions may advocate for their political views on various issues. They may not make particular endorsements or statements on political campaigns or candidates, however. If they take any of these actions, they risk losing their tax-exempt status.
Trump said: “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.”
Although Trump refers to increases in certain types of violent crime in the last year in certain cities, violent crime rates and property crime rates on a national scale have both decreased since President Obama took office on an annual basis, according to the FBI’s latest data. The latest comparable annual data the FBI has made available is from 2014. In 2014, the FBI reported that there was a property crime offense rate of 2,596.1 per 100,000 inhabitants and a violent crime offense rate of 365.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2009, President Obama’s first year in office, there was a property crime offense rate of 3,041.3 per 100,000 inhabitants and a violent crime offense rate of 431.9 per 100,000. On both counts, according to this data, crime has decreased.
TRUMP: “My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”
THE FACTS: Hillary Clinton has not proposed any revocation of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms. She does support a ban on certain military-style weapons, similar to the law President Bill Clinton signed in the 1990s. That ban expired after 10 years and was not renewed. Clinton also backs an expansion of existing criminal background checks to apply to weapons sales at gun shows. The checks now apply mainly to sales by federally licensed gun dealers.