Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination at his party's convention Thursday night lasted 75 minutes—the longest since at least 1972—as he painted a grim picture of midnight in America, a country beaten down and besieged by terror, crime, murderous immigrants and smarter adversaries across the globe thanks to foolish and feckless leaders here.
“Believe me,” he repeated again and again, “I alone can fix it.”
“At our convention, there will be no lies,” Trump said at the very beginning of his remarks, in which he elaborated on a draft a Republican source leaked to a super-PAC backing Hillary Clinton hours before he spoke. “We will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else.”
That was not true.
“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” Trump said in a speech that returned to common themes of law and order and national security, and charges that President Obama and Hillary Clinton had made America and the world less safe. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”
But the bleak picture he painted often did not line up with the facts, using over-inflated statistics and questionable generalizations when discussing matters of crime, justice, immigration, and national security.
Trump said that homicides increased by 17 percent from last year in the country’s 50 largest cities. He did not say, however, that the national homicide rate hit a four-decade low last year, according to the FBI—or that the number of people murdered in the 50 largest cities has declined by half since 1991.
In an interview on CNN ahead of the speech, Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort defended the remarks by casting doubt on the FBI’s official crime numbers, which include information gleaned from local police departments.
“The FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they just did with Hillary Clinton,” Manafort said, referring to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to not recommend charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server. “But as far as crime in the neighborhoods, people don’t feel safe.”
According to Politifact, Trump’s often-repeated assertion that there is no vetting system for Syrian refugees is not true. That process can take as long as one year or more, and each refugee is interviewed by officials in the Department of Homeland Security and required to attend cultural classes and pass a medical review.
“I will work with and appoint the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done,” Trump declared, while not elaborating on how he would do so. “In this race for the White House, I am the law-and-order candidate.”
In light of the recent shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Trump claimed that the number of officers killed in the line of duty has increased by almost 50 percent year-to-year. The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund says the number has gone up only slightly—from 62 officers through July 20 of last year to 67 killed so far this year.
Turning to the world—and Clinton—Trump said the U.S. should discontinue its policy of “nation building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria.” But Trump supported the Libya intervention in 2011, saying at the time: “At this point, if you don’t get rid of Gaddafi, it’s a major, major black eye for this country.”
Trump’s dubious contentions were not limited to law and order issues. The billionaire businessman claimed 14 million people “left the workplace entirely.” For context, the current workforce has 4.6 million more people than in 2009. He criticized Obama on the national debt, claiming it doubled. It has actually increased from $11.1 trillion to $19.2 trillion.
Trump also suggested that Clinton is responsible for the creation of ISIS in the Middle East—even though the group did not formally split from al Qaeda until after she left office. He suggested that sanctions on Iran decreased during her tenure in government; in fact, they increased.
Additionally, he incorrectly stated that Egypt was “turned over” to the Muslim Brotherhood, “forcing the military to retake control.” Mohammed Morsi, the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was democratically elected in 2012 and ousted from power by the military one year later.
Correct the Record, the PAC that received the speech beforehand and shared it with the press, said it came from a “Republican source who had access to it.” David Brock, the group’s founder, said the leak is evidence that the Trump campaign is “loose and disorganized.”