Fact-Checkers Find Many Flaws in Trump Speech

The picture he painted was too bleak
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2016 12:49 AM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2016 3:00 AM CDT
Trump delivers his speech at the conclusion of the RNC.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – Despite promising "the truth, and nothing else" in his convention speech, Donald Trump presented the nation with a series of previously debunked claims and some new ones Thursday night—about the US tax burden, the perils facing police, Hillary Clinton's record, and more. Here's what fact-checkers at the AP, the New York Times, and the Washington Post made of his claims, which painted a bleak portrait of the USA in 2016:

  • "The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen almost 50% compared to this point last year." False: According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, line-of-duty deaths are up 8% this year, from 62 at this point last year to 67 so far this year.
  • "Homicides last year increased by 17% in America's 50 largest cities. That's the largest increase in 25 years." True, though analysts say Trump cherry-picked those figures, omitting that the statistical jump was so large because homicides are still very low by historical standards—and are down again so far in 2016.

  • "Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago." True, but misleading: The Hispanic population has risen since Obama took office, while the poverty rate has fallen. The Pew Research Center found that 23.5% of the country's 55.3 million Latinos live in poverty, compared with 24.7% in 2010.
  • "Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African-American youth are not employed." False: The correct youth unemployment figure is 31%, compared to 14% for whites.
  • "America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world." False: The US tax burden is actually the fourth lowest among the 34 developed and large emerging-market economies that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, below only Chile, South Korea, and Mexico. Taxes made up 26% of the total US economy in 2014, according to the OECD, far below Sweden's tax burden of 42.7% or Germany's 36.1%.
  • "Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000." This would have been true in 2014, when the median household income was $53,657, compared to $57,724 in 2000. The most recent report puts median household income at $57,206, almost the same as in 2000, though the figures haven't been adjusted for inflation.
  • "President Obama has doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing." Almost true: the debt has gone from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office to $19.2 trillion as of April.
The Post notes that not only has Trump cherry-picked or inflated many figures, he has simply ignored positive ones, "such as rising incomes and an unemployment rate under 5%," as well as the fact that the violent crime rate is still around half what it was 25 years ago.

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