Posted by: maboulette | May 2, 2017

Fact Check for the Month of Feb – Donald Trump


FEB. 5: Trump made a baseless claim that so-called sanctuary cities “breed crime.” But university researchers who studied the claim concluded: “We find no statistically discernible difference in violent crime rate, rape, or property crime” among cities that honor federal requests to detain unauthorized immigrants and those that don’t.


FEB. 6: At a military base in Florida, Trump complained that “radical Islamic” terrorist attacks are “not even being reported” by the “very, very dishonest press.” That’s nonsense. The White House later produced a list of 78 allegedly “underreported” terrorist attacks, which included five that received days of wall-to-wall coverage:

  • Orlando, Florida, mass shooting that left 49 people dead;
  • San Bernardino, California, attack that killed 14;
  • 13, 2015, attack in Paris that killed more than 130 people;
  • Bastille Day attack in 2016 in Nice, France, that killed 84 people;
  • Bombing attacks at an airport and on a subway train in Brussels on March 22, 2016, that killed at least 31 people.

A few on the White House list really did get little to no coverage, but they were in far-flung locations and generally didn’t result in any deaths. Two on the list were not terrorist attacks at all, according to law enforcement officials, but merely involved attackers with Arabic names.

FEB. 9: Trump falsely accused Democratic Rep. Richard Blumenthal of misrepresenting a private conversation with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Blumenthal quoted Gorsuch, who has since been confirmed, as saying the president’s attacks on the judiciary were “disheartening and demoralizing.” Gorsuch’s office confirmed Blumenthal’s account, and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who guided Gorsuch as he met with senators later issued a statement that said the judge made it “very clear” in his meetings with senators that “any criticism” of judicial independence is “disheartening and demoralizing.”


FEB. 10: Trump disingenuously said “I don’t know about it” when asked about news reports that his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had spoken to Russia about sanctions prior to the president’s inauguration. Later, the White House confirmed that Trump in fact had known for weeks that Flynn discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

FEB. 14: Trump said there has been “a tremendous amount of increase” in autism among children. Actually, scientists don’t know whether the increase in reported cases is due to an increase in autism itself, or to a broadening of the disorder’s definition and greater efforts to diagnose it.

FEB. 15: A day after Flynn resigned, Trump said, “I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media.” But Trump’s press secretary said the president asked Flynn to resign because of Trump’s “eroding level of trust” in him due to Flynn’s “misleading the vice president and others” about his contacts with Russia, all accurately reported by the media.


FEB. 16: At a news conference, Trump falsely claimed his November victory was “the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” It wasn’t. Three presidents since Reagan captured a larger share of electoral votes, including Republican President George H.W. Bush.

FEB. 16: Trump also said at the same news conference that his administration was like “a fine-tuned machine,” singling out for praise the implementation of his travel ban on visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries. “The rollout was perfect,” he said. In fact, the ban was a fiasco, quickly blocked by the courts after it ensnared visa-holding students, business travelers, scientists, tourists, concert musicians and even an Iraqi interpreter working for the Pentagon.

FEB. 18: Trump cited Sweden as an example of what happens when a country takes in large numbers of refugees. “[Y]ou look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump said. “Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” There was no terrorist attack “last night” in Sweden, and there is no evidence of a major crime wave in Sweden. Trump said later he was referring to an appearance he saw on Fox News by a documentary maker whose film on crime in Sweden had been disputed as a distortion by the very Swedish police officers it featured.

FEB. 24: Trump doubled down on his exaggeration about Sweden. Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, he said: “The people over there understand I’m right. Take a look at what’s happening in Sweden.”


Riots had broken out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood of Stockholm on Feb. 20, two days after Trump’s original comment about Sweden. The facts remain crime is still relatively low in Sweden and has generally been declining for decades. Less than 1 percent of the country’s police resources are directed at the refugee situation.

FEB. 24: At the same CPAC appearance, Trump attacked the news media for using anonymous sources: “They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name.” And yet his own White House staff regularly holds “on background” conversations with reporters with the condition that officials’ names not be used. And Trump himself once tweeted: “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”


FEB. 27: Trump exaggerated when he told the nation’s governors that his first budget would include “a historic increase in defense spending.” And the next day, he told a joint session of Congress that he would propose “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”

His budget director said Trump’s first proposed budget would contain $603 billion in base defense spending for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 — $52 billion, or 9.4 percent, higher than the current spending level of $551 billion. That’s about the same as the 9.3 percent increase in fiscal year 1991 and smaller than the increases in fiscal years 1980 (13.9 percent), 1981 (24.9 percent), 1982 (20.4 percent), 1983 (12.8 percent) and 1985 (11 percent).


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