President Donald Trump kicked off the Republican National Convention with a 50-minute speech in Charlotte, North Carolina that was full of half-truths, exaggerated claims and outright falsehoods.
Here are five of the president’s latest suspect assertions as Trump campaigns for re-election in November:
Claims: Democrats are trying to rig the 2020 election by sending out millions of mail-in ballots.
“With this whole 80 million mail-in ballots that they’re working on. Sending them out to people that didn’t ask for ’em. They didn’t ask. They just get them. And it’s not fair and it’s not right. And it’s not going to be possible to tabulate, in my opinion, it’s just my opinion. We have to be very, very careful. and you have to watch, every one of you, you have to watch,” Trump said in a speech opening the Republican National Convention on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Fact: Voting by mail is already widely available in 30 US states governed by Republicans and Democrats. Safety concerns about the risk of coronavirus infection, especially for older voters and people with health conditions, are the impetus for greater use of mail ballots. There is no evidence that use of mail ballots, when properly handled using modern procedures, results in fraud. Further, there is effectively no distinction between voting by mail and “absentee” voting, which is common in all states.
Claim: Trump’s White House task force has done an “incredible job” battling the coronavirus.
“If we didn’t shut it down at that point, we would have had millions of people dead, millions of people. You see the numbers. The job that Mike Pence and the task force, and all of us together have done has been incredible, what we’ve done, what we’ve achieved,” Trump said on Monday.
Fact: Trump initially ignored and downplayed the risk of the coronavirus and did not shut down the US economy. It was US business leaders and state governors who first issued decisions to shut down. Trump subsequently urged early reopenings despite recommendations of public health authorities. The total US death toll exceeds 177,000, the highest in the world, and continues to climb as the infection resurges in what experts warn is close to a worst-case scenario.
Obama, Biden Spying on Trump
Claim: Obama, Biden “spied on my campaign” and got caught.
“I watched, President Obama last night and I watched him talking about everything and I had to put it out. I said, ‘yeah but he spied on my campaign and he got caught.’ You know that’s about as bad a thing as you can imagine. If that happened to another campaign on the other side, they would have 25 people in jail for many years already, many many years. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said in a campaign speech in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, on August 20.
Fact: Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden did not initiate or direct the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, which several government reviews have concluded was fully justified. A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report confirms that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of helping Trump get elected. Both the Senate investigation and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe found Trump welcomed Russia’s help and sought to coordinate with WikiLeaks through Roger Stone on the release of stolen Democratic emails, something Trump has denied.
Biden, Democrats are anti-religion
Claim: Democrats took the word “God” out of the US Pledge of Allegiance recited at the Democratic National Convention.
“I can promise you a few things. Number one, we will not be taking the word ‘God’ out of the Pledge of Allegiance, OK. Like they did a number of times at their caucuses so … they took the word ‘God’ out. I heard it. I was listening. I said, ‘Isn’t that strange.’ It was sort of weird. You’ve heard it all your life, right. Under God, under God,” Trump said in Charlotte.
Fact: Trump is facing an erosion of support among evangelical voters in the US and is distorting what happened at the Democratic National Convention in order to falsely portray Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic Party as anti-religious. During each of the four nights of live streaming of the Democratic convention, the traditional Pledge of Allegiance was recited using the phrase “under God”. In two smaller assemblies of the Muslim Delegates and Allies and the LGBTQ Caucus, that were not part of the main programme, the phrase was left out. Some Americans who do not practise religion believe the pledge may be recited without reference to God. Joe Biden is a practising Catholic and attends church on Sundays regularly.
Protecting Americans health insurance
Claim: Republicans are protecting American’s right to health insurance for pre-existing conditions.
“So, we protected your pre-existing conditions, very strongly protected pre-exist. And you don’t hear that, but we’ve very strongly protected your pre-existing conditions. So, we got rid of the horrible individual mandate which cost everybody a fortune. And we strongly protected, every Republican is sworn to protecting your pre-existing conditions. It’s very important. You won’t hear that. You won’t hear that from the fake news,” Trump said Monday.
Fact: This claim is false. Under Trump, Republican majorities in Congress repeatedly tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act passed during former President Barack Obama’s administration which prevents health insurance companies from refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions. The Trump Justice Department is challenging the constitutionality of the law, known as “Obamacare”, in federal court.