Donald Trump has officially been nominated as the Republicans’ 2016 presidential candidate. Despite that some Republican leaders continue to criticise him for his incendiary rhetoric, personal attacks on fellow Republicans and tendency to stray from decades-old party orthodoxy. His erstwhile rival Ted Cruz declined in a convention speech to endorse his candidacy.
To hear Trump tell it, America is a sick, dystopian mess, mired in urban violence, terror threats and other woes that he and only he can fix.
But a day after accepting the Republican nomination for president, Trump drew scorn yesterday for his creative or misleading use of facts to paint an ugly national portrait and scare people into voting for him in November.
One of those weighing in to disagree with Trump was President Barack Obama, who said the billionaire real estate mogul’s gloomy vision and that of other Republicans at the convention this week “don’t jive with the facts”.
The United States of Armageddon, as depicted by Trump, is a place where the homicide rate and deaths of police officers are soaring, tens of thousands of dangerous undocumented immigrants wander the streets and Americans are saddled by a dysfunctional economy and quitting the workforce by the millions.
“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” Trump said at the outset of his speech on Thursday night in Cleveland.
“The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life,” Trump said, a thick line of red, white and blue US flags arrayed behind him.
Of the whole, huge mess, he said, “I alone can fix it”.
But Trump’s data is often either incomplete and thus misleading, or simply wrong.
For instance, he stated that around 180,000 undocumented immigrants with criminal records and deportation orders “are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens”.
The figure is accurate but those people’s crimes are not documented, and many of them certainly involved immigration violations and other non-violent offences.
On the economy, among other things, he states that US household incomes are down $4,000 since 2000.
But that figure is based on 2014 Census data, and incomes have risen sharply in the past two years, the Washington Post reported. Taking that increase into account, household income is roughly stagnant rather than down by $4,000, it added.
For Obama, “this idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jive with the experience of most people”.
Americans may disagree on how to address the nation’s problems, Obama said, “but we’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact”.
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