Politics & Government

Fact-checking Donald Trump’s Greensboro speech

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump gives a "thumbs up" after a spectator yells "Happy Birthday" as he speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C. Tuesday, June 14, 2016.
Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump gives a "thumbs up" after a spectator yells "Happy Birthday" as he speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C. Tuesday, June 14, 2016. cliddy@newsobserver.com

At a Greensboro rally Tuesday, Donald Trump addressed national security in the wake of the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

In doing so, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee repeated some claims similar or identical to claims that previously were fact-checked by PolitiFact. Here are a few of them.

Refugees

Trump referenced his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s proposal for Syrian refugees by saying, “She has 550 percent more people she wants to come in than Obama from a certain area where we just don’t know what’s going on.”

The day before his Greensboro speech, Trump made a similar claim that Clinton supports “a 500 percent increase in Syrian refugees coming into our country.” PolitiFact rated that claim Mostly True.

Trump also said, “Hillary Clinton’s immigration plan would bring in millions of unvetted immigrants, or very poorly vetted.”

Clinton has talked about a vetting process that takes 18-24 months for every Syrian refugee who wants to come to the United States.

A fact check on a past Trump claim that there is no system to vet refugees found that there is a vetting process, it has been in place for decades, about half of applicants are accepted, and there’s no precedent of a terrorist having taken advantage of it. That claim was rated False.

Iraq War

Trump said “I was against the Iraq war from the beginning. ... I said, Iraq – if you obliterate their military you are going to totally destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what happened.”

This is a frequent claim of Trump’s. There’s also next to no proof to support it.

Did he warn it would destabilize the Middle East? False, PolitiFact ruled.

Did he oppose the Iraq War from the beginning? Mostly False. He criticized the war, but only after it had already started.

When he was asked if he supported a potential war in Iraq, in 2002, his response was “Yeah, I guess so.”

Immigrants

Trump said that “every year we bring in more than 100,000 lifetime immigrants from the Middle East.”

Using a broad definition of the Middle East by including some countries from Asia and Africa, it’s accurate. Using a stricter definition of the Middle East, though, the number is closer to 70,000.

Trump also uses this talking point in connection with Muslim immigration, but many of the refugees come from countries that are also home to Jewish or Christian communities, and the government doesn’t track the religion of green card recipients.

Trump earned a Mostly True for his claim.

Prisoner swap

Trump said Obama put terrorists back on the battlefield in order to secure the return of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was captured by the Taliban and has been charged with desertion.

“We get Bergdahl and they get five of the worst killers that they’ve wanted for nine years, who are now back on the battlefield trying to kill everybody,” Trump said.

That’s a nearly verbatim retelling of a claim PolitiFact has ruled False at least twice before.

Trump made the claim in July 2015. It was rated False then because the five men in question were being closely watched in Qatar and had not, like Trump said, returned to the battlefield.

Trump made the claim again in January. PolitiFact again checked with officials watching the five men and found nothing had changed. It was rated False again.

Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran

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