Fact-Checking Day 1 of the Republican National Convention

Photo of author

By admin

— Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations

While the Islamic State has been pushed out of its so-called caliphate, the extremist group continues to carry out attacks in Iraq and Syria. And some of the territorial gains made by American troops and their allies predate the Trump administration.

The research firm IHS Markit estimated that the Islamic State lost about a third of its territory from January 2015 to January 2017, while Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the group, has said 50 percent of those losses occurred before 2017. Officials and experts had always anticipated that the campaign, which started in 2014 during the Obama administration, would result in pushing the extremist group out of its self-declared caliphate.

— Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina

In the final year of his administration, after Pyongyang stepped up testing in its nuclear weapons program, President Barack Obama considered North Korea to be the most urgent national security issue facing the United States. He persuaded the United Nations to impose a harsh set of sanctions on North Korea and, as he was leaving office, urged Mr. Trump to address the issue as soon as possible.

The Trump administration did get the United Nations to impose additional sanctions, but Mr. Trump also began high-level diplomatic talks with North Korea and halted large-scale military exercises with South Korea to accede to the wishes of Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. National security hawks on North Korea say Mr. Trump’s concessions weakened Washington’s leverage over Pyongyang.

Mr. Trump has met with Mr. Kim three times — the only times that an American president has done so with a leader of North Korea since the Korean War — but those talks have done nothing to diminish North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Experts say North Korea can produce enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead every six months.

— President Trump

President Trump’s comment, directed at a police officer from Colorado who said he had contracted the coronavirus in late March and recovered, hinted at the prospect of immunity to the virus.

Scientific evidence so far does appear to indicate that people who recover from Covid-19 do mount a strong immune response against the virus — but just months into a pandemic driven by a new and poorly understood virus, it’s too early to say anything definitive about how protective that immune response is, or how long it lasts. In fact, the first case of a coronavirus survivor reinfected by the virus was just confirmed in Hong Kong.

Immunity also isn’t binary; in some cases, people who have recovered from the virus may only be partially protected from it, perhaps remaining susceptible to infection, but experience milder symptoms, or no symptoms at all, upon being exposed to the virus again. If these people are still able to carry the virus, they could still be contagious to those around them.

President Trump also commented that the officer’s blood might be valuable for a plasma donation. This, too, is exaggerated. Not everyone who recovers from a coronavirus infection will carry enough virus-fighting antibodies to donate plasma to someone who’s still fighting off the pathogen. Levels of antibodies also naturally decline in the blood within a couple months after recovery; this is a normal part of the immune response, and these people are expected to still carry many immune cells that can make a fresh batch of antibodies if they’re infected again.

— State Representative Vernon Jones of Georgia

Mr. Vernon was likely referring to the First Step Act, a bipartisan bill signed into law by Mr. Trump in 2018. It was a highly significant piece of legislation that made reforms to sentences in federal prisons but as its title indicates, activists see it as just a start on criminal justice reform. Moreover, it made retroactive reforms enacted in 2010.

The Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for reducing incarceration, on the law’s one-year anniversary said it “applauds the bill’s achievements but cautions that additional reforms are necessary if we are to see a substantial long-term population reduction.”

It is also wrong to blame Mr. Biden, who sponsored the Senate version of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, for mass incarceration. States began passing harsher sentencing laws in the 1970s and 1980s. Though the federal crime bill encouraged the trend, it was not the genesis or principal factor.

— President Trump

Leading Democrats have not proposed laying off postal workers. In fact, Democrats in the House have passed $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service.

— Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the United States has shed 257,000 manufacturing jobs while Mr. Trump has been in office, slightly more than the 205,000 manufacturing jobs lost over the course of the Obama administration. But the accurate picture is that manufacturing job growth is more linked to cycles in the economy than the political party that holds the presidency.

The number of manufacturing jobs in the United States sharply contracted during 2008 and 2009, the years of the Great Recession, before beginning a long and gradual recovery for the rest of Mr. Obama’s presidency and the first several years of Mr. Trump’s. Manufacturing employment began to level off in 2019 because of a global economic slowdown and the trade war, then dove with the onset of the pandemic.

— President Trump

While reports of new cases have dropped considerably since late July, when the country averaged well over new 60,000 per day, case numbers remain persistently high, according to a New York Times database, and there is no evidence that the virus is going away anytime soon. On Sunday, at least 446 new coronavirus-related deaths and 32,340 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States.

With more than 5.7 million people infected, the United States leads the world in coronavirus cases — roughly 2 million more than the country with the second highest count, Brazil. The United States also ranks second in the number of new cases over the last seven days. Only India has reported more during that same time.

— Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the minority whip

Mr. Biden has not embraced the “defund the police” movement. On the contrary, he has repeatedly said that he does not support defunding the police. Mr. Biden has said that federal grants to police departments should incentivize reform efforts. In June, he told CBS that he supported “conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”

Mr. Biden reiterated his position in an interview that aired on ABC on Sunday. “I don’t want to defund police departments,” he said. “I think they need more help. They need more assistance.”

— Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida

The Democrats propose none of these things. The party, in its 2020 platform, proposes stronger background checks and not allowing individuals who have been convicted of assault or battery to buy guns. Mr. Biden has said he supports the Second Amendment, but he would not “disarm” law-abiding gun owners. Similarly, the party in its platform and Mr. Biden have said they support ending the use of private prisons, but not prisons entirely. (Another speaker also falsely blamed Mr. Biden for mass incarceration.)

As for MS-13, the street gang, many prosecutions of MS-13 gang members took place within the Justice Department under President Barack Obama, and the first MS-13 gang member to be extradited from El Salvador to the United States — a man who had attempted murder in Loudoun County, Va. — was charged and convicted during the Obama administration. Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he does not support defunding the police.

— Patty McCloskey of St. Louis, who along with her husband Mark pointed guns at protesters.

This was an inaccurate reference to a regulation issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2015, which the Trump administration indefinitely delayed implementing in 2018. Essentially, the rule refined and made more rigorous an existing process to combat housing discrimination that the Government Accountability Office called inadequate. Before 2015, localities that received funding from the department had to identify barriers to fair housing like segregated areas or disparity in access. The 2015 rule further asked jurisdictions to establish plans to address issues, share data and invite public comment. It specifically “does not impose any land use decisions or zoning laws on any local government.”

— Vernon Jones, a Georgia Democrat

While it is true that Black workers saw record-low unemployment before the pandemic, it is false that they had record-high participation — and if Mr. Jones meant to refer to labor force participation generally, that would also be false. The Black participation rate peaked in 1999, based on government data, though that goes back to the 1970s. Overall participation peaked in 2000. Beyond that, many drivers coaxed Black unemployment to its low levels in 2019 and early 2020, including historically slow Federal Reserve rate hikes, which allowed joblessness to fall to 3.5 percent and prompted employers to hire more broadly.

— Dr. G.E. Ghali, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Louisiana.

Dr. Ghali claims that, hours after receiving a positive result from a rapid test for the coronavirus, he received remdesivir and convalescent plasma — two treatments that have received emergency approval from the F.D.A. These two treatments, an antiviral and a plasma infusion respectively, do have emergency clearance for use, but only in hospitalized patients. Dr. Ghali’s self-described symptoms were mild, “a fever and mild cough.” To date, there’s no clear-cut evidence suggesting that remdesivir benefits patients with milder forms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. And there’s also little evidence that convalescent plasma actually works as well as President Trump and his colleagues claim it does in patients with any form of the disease.

— Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio

While the unemployment rate was hovering at a 50-year-low before March, it no longer is thanks to the pandemic — instead, it remains higher than its Great Recession peak. While the jump in the unemployment rate is the result of the pandemic, it highlights a reality: It doesn’t make a lot of sense for presidents to take either full credit or blame for unemployment rates. They are often outside of their control.

— Natalie Harp, a pro-Trump citizen from California

Mr. Trump’s partial travel ban on travelers coming from China had only a limited effect in stopping or lessening the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States. The ban was porous — a New York Times analysis of data determined that nearly 40,000 travelers arrived in the United States on direct flights from China in the two months after Mr. Trump imposed his ban. Scientists have also found that the strain of the virus that began circulating in New York around mid-February was one that spread earlier in Europe, indicating it was carried by travelers from there.

In any case, even with Mr. Trump’s partial travel ban on China, the United States has had one of the worst pandemic outcomes in the world, with deaths estimated to be as high as 200,000, about a quarter of the total worldwide.

She also said under a Biden presidency, “China would control our drug production.” Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden has said he would compel American companies to move important supply chains back to the United States. In his nomination acceptance speech last Thursday, he specifically addressed the issue of medical and health care supplies and China. His proposal to move pharmaceutical supply chains out of China is similar to Mr. Trump’s.

— Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” across the entire 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico, and to get Mexico to pay for it. He has not made good on those promises.

Well into his administration, the president changed his promise, saying he would build 450 miles of wall along the border. His administration has built about 300 miles of steel-slat border walls, but all but a few miles of that replaced already existing barriers. Congress repeatedly refused to give him significant money to build across the entire border, forcing the president to divert several billions of dollars from military projects. Mexico has not paid for any of the wall, though the president said recently he might consider adding fees for legal border crossings to generate money for the wall’s construction.

— Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee

There is a debate, even among Democrats, about whether undocumented immigrants should have some access to health care benefits. Some Democrats, like Senator Bernie Sanders, have argued for universal health care coverage for all people residing in the United States, including the undocumented. But Mr. Biden has rejected that approach, saying that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to buy insurance in the Obamacare marketplace as long as that coverage is not subsidized by American taxpayers. Many Democrats also point out that undocumented immigrants often pay sales, payroll and other taxes despite not being eligible for benefits like Social Security, Medicare and other programs that American citizens receive.

— President Trump, during remarks after he was renominated for president.

Mr. Trump was referring to the number of federal judgeships that were open when he took office and available for him to nominate his choices. When Mr. Trump was sworn in, there were 103 unfilled federal appeals court and district court openings, in addition to a Supreme Court seat. That was certainly a high number, but it’s false that most presidents have had no seats to fill: President Obama took office with 53 such vacancies, President George W. Bush with 80 and President Bill Clinton with 107.

Mr. Trump inherited such a high count of unfilled judgeships due to the opposition that Mr. Obama’s nominees had faced in the Republican-controlled Senate. In the final two years of the Obama administration, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and allies refused to proceed with confirming many of Mr. Obama’s picks.

— Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman, Republican National Committee

Many progressive Democrats and their allies on the left — notably Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the self-described democratic socialist who sought the Democratic nomination for president — want a universal health care program in which all doctors would be reimbursed by the government. But party voters rejected that approach by choosing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as its nominee. Mr. Biden advocates building on the Affordable Care Act, the health care law signed by former President Barack Obama, which is rooted in the current system of private insurance networks. And under the current system, insurance companies can already drop pediatricians and others doctors.

— President Trump, speaking after he was renominated earlier on Monday.

Mr. Trump’s assertions that mail-in ballots lead to voter fraud are unfounded. Reports have found that incidences of voter fraud in the United States are exceedingly rare. The five states that conduct elections almost entirely by mail report very little fraud. Mr. Trump’s own White House commission on voter fraud disbanded in 2018, without any real evidence to back the president’s claims.

— President Trump, speaking after he was renominated earlier on Monday.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited on all four nights of the Democratic National Convention including the words “under God.” It was also recited that way at most of its caucuses. Several smaller meetings — two meetings of the L.G.B.T.Q. Caucus and one gathering of the Muslim Assembly — recited the pledge omitting the words “under God.” Earl D. Fowlkes Jr., chairman of the L.G.B.T.Q. Caucus, said the decision to omit the words was made by two separate individuals who had been asked to lead the pledge and was not a policy decision.

“It was a personal preference,” Mr. Fowlkes said. “I was just as surprised as everyone else.” The phrase “under God” was not originally part of the Pledge of Allegiance but was added during the 1950s at the urging of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Source link

Leave a Comment