The concept of a politician not telling the truth or slightly adjusting it in order to gain some benefit has been the lasting image for many people over the years. During the highly-publicized presidential campaign of businessman Donald Trump, he’s made a number of comments that have sparked controversy. Some of the comments made by Trump have been considered offensive by different demographic groups, while others have simply been called out for either being misleading or simply false.
Within the first segment, Latinos were extremely vocal after he characterized Mexicans coming into the United States, legally or not, as rapists and drug dealers. With respect to the latter category, that’s something that the fact-checking organizations FactCheck.org and Politifact pore over on a daily basis in order to determine the validity of a politician’s statement.
With 2015 coming to a close, looking at how the organizations have judged statements made by Trump since his presidential campaign launched last June is instructive. The comments show a clear pattern in that none of them have been judged to be completely true. The organizations deems an outright falsehood to be in their “Pants on Fire” category, with one of Trump’s more controversial comments concerning thousands of Muslims in New Jersey allegedly celebrating the 9/11 attacks on that day. That comment was one of many to earn such a designation from the organizations. According to Trump, he witnessed mobs of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey on that day celebrating the tragedy. However, he was unable to produce video evidence of this alleged event, with the organizations pointing out that other than a handful of people, the only such celebrating took place in Middle Eastern countries, not in New Jersey.
The debate over bringing in Syrian refugees also earned that designation with respect to a number of different issues. Trump first stated that President Barack Obama wants to allow 250,000 refugees from that country into the United States. That comment was contradicted by pointing out that the Obama administration only plans to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees and hopes to increase the total from all countries from 70,000 to 85,000. Politifact found that the only reference to the 250,000 figure came from a parody news site.
Another area dealt with Trump’s remark about the federal government sending all refugees to states with Republican governors. That was proven wrong when it was pointed out that private organizations and faith-based groups decide on where to place the refugees, not the Obama administration. Trump also offered controversial statistics to show that 81 percent of white homicide victims were killed by blacks. The alleged facts supposedly came from the San Francisco-based “Crime Statistics Bureau,” but a check found that no such organization exists. In addition, actual numbers that were looked at showed that the number was only 15 percent.
The recent Trans-Pacific Partnership was attacked by Trump, who said it was set up to allow China to continue to take advantage of other countries through currency manipulation. However, trade experts who were consulted indicated that the deal could actually negatively affect China.
Finally, the December 2 shooting in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead ledTrump to state that the mother of one of the killers knew of the plans but said nothing. At the time of the comment, no evidence had been offered to support that statement.
Despite the number of inaccuracies involved with his statements, Trump continues to be the Republican frontrunner for president, with voting set to begin on February 1 with the Iowa caucuses.