The fears expressed throughout this week’s Republican convention do not match reality, President Obama said Friday during a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“I did not watch the convention,” the president confessed. “But I did read some of what was said, and the one thing that I think is important to recognize is: This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people.” Obama noted several specific examples: “The violent-crime rate in America has been lowered during my presidency more than any time in the last three, four decades. And although it is true that we’ve seen an uptick in murders and violent crime in some cities this year, the fact of the matter is that the murder rate today, the violence rate today is far lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president, and lower than when I took office.”
Nodding to the “heartbreaking” deaths of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Obama also fact-checked the Republican claim that police-targetings are on the rise. “The rate of intentional killings of police officers is also significantly lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president,” he declared. “Those are facts. That’s the data.”
He concluded: “We’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact. And that, I think, is something that I hope all Americans pay attention to.”