Fact-Checking Trump’s Speech at CPAC

The former president made inaccurate claims about the murder rate in New York, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and windmills at a conservative conference.

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Fact-Checking Trump’s Speech at CPAC | INFBusiness.com

Former President Donald J. Trump returned to old themes when he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday night.

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald J. Trump revived familiar falsehoods and returned to old themes in a speech Saturday night at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Here’s a fact check of some of his claims.

What Mr. Trump said

“Killings are taking place at a number like nobody’s ever seen, right in Manhattan.”

False. Murders declined in New York by about 11 percent from 488 homicides in 2021 to 433 homicides last year. It was the lowest level since 2019, according to the city’s Police Department. Murders continued to decrease this year to 30 in January (compared with 31 in January 2022) and to 26 in February (compared with 36 in February 2022).

Those numbers also pale in comparison to the height of crime in New York in the 1980s and 1990s, when Mr. Trump was a mainstay of the city and when it regularly recorded more than 1,500 murders annually. Homicides peaked in 1990 at 2,245.

What Mr. Trump said

“We lost $85 billion worth of the greatest military equipment in the world.”

This is exaggerated. Mr. Trump was referring to, and overstating, the value of military equipment seized by the Taliban after the United States withdrew the last of its troops from Afghanistan last August.

According to quarterly Pentagon reports to Congress, the United States had provided $88.6 billion for security in Afghanistan from October 2001 to July 2021, and disbursed about $75 billion. That figure includes the amount spent on training, antidrug trafficking efforts and infrastructure, as well as $18 billion for equipment. Most of the $75 billion actually went toward “sustainment,” a category that includes salaries, communications and gas for vehicles.

CNN and other news outlets have reported that the United States left behind about $7 billion of military equipment.

What Mr. Trump said

“They want windmills all over the place that ruin our fields, kill our birds and are very unreliable and are the most expensive energy ever developed”

This is exaggerated. Mr. Trump has long been an ardent critic of wind turbines, but his complaints are overstated.

By one estimate, as many as 328,000 birds die each year flying into wind farms, but other things — inanimate and living — pose a far greater threat. Cats kill as many as four billion birds annually in the United States, fossil fuel power plants are responsible for 14.5 million and collisions with buildings as many as 988 million birds.

Wind power and other forms of renewable energy are becoming increasingly more affordable.

The Energy Information Administration estimated that onshore wind would cost about $30 per megawatt-hour by 2027, cheaper than the $52 for coal, $61 for nuclear, $41 for biomass and $47 for hydroelectric. It will remain more expensive than natural gas, solar and geothermal generation.


Mr. Trump also repeated a number of other claims The New York Times had previously fact-checked:

  • Mr. Trump inaccurately claimed to have “shut down” unauthorized border crossings. (The number declined during the pandemic, but began to increase again in the final months of his presidency.)

  • He falsely claimed that “no other president had ever gotten anything from China, not even 10 cents.” (In the decade before Mr. Trump took office, the United States collected $8 billion to $14 billion per year from duties on Chinese imports.)

  • He misleadingly characterized members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as “delinquent” on payments. (All member nations pay their bills.)

  • He falsely said that “no one ever heard of” the Nord Stream 2 pipeline before he raised it as an issue and halted its construction. (His predecessors all opposed the project.)

  • He misleadingly claimed that the Obama administration had only supplied Ukraine with “blankets.” (It committed more than $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine.)

  • He falsely claimed to have “completed” building a wall along the southern border. (It has not been finished.)

  • He claimed to have presided over the “best economy in history.” (Average growth, even before the coronavirus pandemic decimated the economy, was lower under Mr. Trump than under former Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.)

Source: nytimes.com

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