Trump Cherry-Picks Data, Stretches Truth in Speech: Fact Checkby
In his speech Thursday night accepting the Republican nomination, Donald Trump stretched the facts on numerous occasions, got them right in other cases and cherry-picked data to make his case for the presidency. The speech was accompanied by 282 footnotes, primarily from mainstream media outlets and government sources, to support his claims.
Below is a look at Trump's statements, and how they compare to the facts.
TRUMP: "Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore."
THE FACTS: Trump's figures come from a Jan. 27 Washington Post article analyzing preliminary FBI crime statistics that won't be finalized until the fall. But violent crime remains lower than it was a decade ago and the rate has been falling for roughly 25 years. "When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2014 estimated violent crime total was 6.9 percent below the 2010 level and 16.2 percent below the 2005 level" the FBI reports.
TRUMP: "The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year."
THE FACTS: Trump mixes up some numbers here. The footnotes to Trump's speech cite a Newsweek article that uses data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund about the number of firearms related deaths of law enforcement officers. Most of that jump, to 26 so far this year from 18 fatalities at this point last year, is a result of the killing of five Dallas police officers earlier this month. Overall deaths of officers are up 8 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, according to the organization.
TRUMP: "The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015."
THE FACTS: Trump's numbers are accurate, but they reflect the number of people stopped at the border. Family unit border apprehensions, a proxy for attempts to illegally enter the country, climbed to 51,147 in the first nine months of the 2016 fiscal year. That's 28 percent higher than the number for the entire 12 months of the 2015 fiscal year, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
TRUMP: "My opponent has called for a radical 550% increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country under President Obama."
THE FACTS: Clinton has called for the admission of 65,000 refugees from Syria, from the 10,000 President Barack Obama is seeking to admit in the current fiscal year. The screening process for those refugees takes, on average, one to two years.
TRUMP: "Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000."
THE FACTS: He is correct in that between January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2014, median household incomes were down $4,186. It's also slightly misleading—Trump picked the all-time peak of median household income. Since the peak in 1989, for example, median household income is up, but only by $351 dollars. It would be more accurate, though not much less damning, to say median household income barely went up between 1989 and 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows some improvement in average hourly wages since the end of 2014.
TRUMP: "America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world."
THE FACTS: This claim is misleading. The grain of truth is that the U.S. corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world, although deductions and exclusions shrink actual corporate taxes paid to levels below those in many other countries. However, when it comes to overall tax revenue collected as a share of GDP, the U.S. ranks among the lowest of the 34 industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development, according to data provided by the organization. The low ranking reflects in part corporate profits held offshore that go untaxed in the U.S.
TRUMP: "While Hillary Clinton plans a massive tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has declared for the presidential race this year—Democrat or Republican."
THE FACTS: Trump's tax plan, which proposed roughly $10 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, is evolving—and it may not end up containing "the largest tax reduction of any candidate." This week, conservative economists Stephen Moore and Lawrence Kudlow, who are advising his campaign, said a new version that's coming soon would reduce the revenue cuts by about two-thirds.
TRUMP: "Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons."
THE FACTS: A nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report in March said the Iran nuclear agreement struck last year has "lessened, although not eliminated, U.S. concerns about Iran’s nuclear program." Under the deal, Iran destroyed the core of its plutonium reactor as part of broader accord to give up or delay its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of U.S.-led sanctions that helped cripple the nation’s economy. The International Atomic Energy Agency has since determined that Iran has removed more than two-thirds of the centrifuges needed for enrichment of nuclear material and reduced its stockpile of highly-enriched uranium.
TRUMP: The nuclear deal "gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing."
FACTS: The rhetoric is misleading; the money refers to Iranian assets currently frozen due to sanctions. The U.S. estimates that $55 billion in frozen assets are supposed to be released to Iran. Iranian officials—who say they need the money to buy airliners, improve infrastructure and boost a struggling economy—argue European and Asian banks are reluctant to deal with them because they fear remaining U.S. sanctions that weren’t affected by the nuclear accord.
TRUMP: After four years of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, "ISIS has spread across the region, and the world."
THE FACTS: This is misleading. The Islamic State made its most significant gains on the ground in Syria and Iraq after Clinton left office in February 2013 and it is now losing territory. According to the Pentagon and State Department, the group has been pushed from 50 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria. Nevertheless, the group’s ideology has spread online and helped inspire deadly attacks from Europe to the U.S.
TRUMP: "Egypt was peaceful," he said. During Clinton’s time as secretary of state, “Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control.”
THE FACTS: Egypt had indeed been peaceful during the 30 years Hosni Mubarak ruled the country, but the upheaval had little to do with Hillary Clinton, and was initially hailed as a sign of democratic progress. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi took over the leadership in 2012 after the Arab Spring paved the way for first free presidential vote in the country’s history. Morsi was ousted in a 2013 military coup, following Clinton’s departure as secretary of state, prompting the Obama administration to suspend military aid.
TRUMP: "My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment."
THE FACTS: This claim is inaccurate. Clinton has spoken out for modest gun control measures that are permissible under Supreme Court precedent, such as background checks and a ban on assault weapons. She opposes a 2008 ruling that expanded gun rights, but hasn't come close to calling for the abolition of the Second Amendment.
-- With assistance from Steven Dennis, Lynnley Browning, Chris Strohm, Nick Wadhams, Eric Martin, Mike Dorning, Kambiz Foroohar, Brendan Greeley, John Vokshul, and Carlos Torres.