On March 10, 2016, Republican Presidential candidates met at the University of Miami located in Coral Gables (FL). As usual, the candidates made certain claims that are not backed up by the facts. Here are a few.
According to Mr. Donald Trump: “Islam treats women horribly.” While some governments in Islamic countries are indeed repressive by most Western world standards, Islam (a religion) is not the one treating “women horribly.” Rather, perhaps the “horrible treatment”, such as it is, is due to the interpretation of Islam by men in power. Having said that, there are Islamic countries were women have achieved greater accomplishments than in the US. For example, as early as the 1980s and again in the 1990s, Pakistan elected a woman, Mrs. Benazir Buttho, as Prime Minister while the US still has to elect a woman as President (This is NOT an endorsement of Mrs. Hillary Clinton). Women in certain Islamic countries have their freedom of expression repressed, such as the right to drive or to vote (as a side note, women were banned from voting in the US until 1920 as a result of the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution), the right to a higher education, or being forced to cover their bodies from head to toe, as well as the right to interact with the opposite sex or even leave the house without their husband’s (if married) or father’s permission. However, women in other Islamic countries dress as they wish including Western wear, interact with men, vote, graduate from universities, participate in sports, etc. This is a much more complex issue than Mr. Trump’s 4-word sentence.
Mr. Donald Trump claimed that: “GDP was essentially zero percent in the last few quarters. … Our jobs are gone, our businesses are being taken out of the country.” Of course, the US’ Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) is far from being “O” and stood at $17.4 Trillion as of 2014 according to the World Bank. It is likely that Mr. Trump was referring to the rate of growth of GDP. However, if would also be in error as, in the past 3 quarters, the US GDP grew at annual rate of 1%, 2% and 3.9% respectively. In fact, for all of 2015, the US economy expanded by 2.4%. Mr. Trump’s claims that “jobs are gone” is also erroneous. In 2015, employers added 2.7 million jobs, and 3 million in 2014. These were the best two years since 1988-89. However, it is true that many products are manufactured overseas and particularly in China, including Mr. Trump’s line of ties and his campaign’s baseball caps.
Senator Eduardo “Ted” Cruz claimed that his administration would: “end welfare benefits for anyone who is here illegally.” I’m unsure as to what benefits Senator Cruz could be referring since immigrants who have entered the country illegally are not eligible for federal welfare benefits. Perhaps Senator Cruz was referring to the fact that children born in the US of parents who have entered the country illegally are entitled to benefits such as food stamps and housing programs. Public hospitals must, by law, provide emergency treatment regardless of status. These children are also entitled to public education as a result of a US Supreme Court decision which cannot be overturned by a Presidential Executive Order or legislation.
Mr. Donald Trump opposes Common Core State Standards (known as Common Core) because: “It’s all been taken over now by the bureaucrats in Washington.” Unfortunately for Mr. Trump the Common Core program is a state program, not a federal one. The standards which make up Common Core were developed by state governors and education leaders and allegedly provide the skills that students should grasp. How they are taught is left to the states. It is true, however, that while the federal government did not mandate adoption of Common Core by states, it did strongly encourage adoption through its Race To The Top education grants given to states that did.
Mr. Donald Trump hoped that he had not encouraged violence at his rallies. While Mr. Trump may “hope”, his words certainly do encourage violence. Here are a few:
- “I’d like to punch him in the face.” as a protester was removed from a rally in Las Vegas and the audience cheered.
- At a rally in Iowa: “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.“
- At a rally in Alabama, a man wearing a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt was kicked and punched by a gang of men. When asked about the incident, Mr. Trump commented that: “Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.“
- At a rally in Michigan during an interruption: “Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do I’ll defend you in court.“
- At a rally in North Carolina after an interruption: “See, in the good old days this didn’t use to happen, because they used to treat them very rough. We’ve become very weak.“
- After 2 Boston men were arrested for beating a homeless Latino man with a metal pole because: “Donald Trump was right — all these illegals need to be deported.“, Trump remarked: “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate. I will say that, and everybody here has reported it.“
Mr. Donald Trump claimed that the US is being short-changed from its defense partnership with Saudi Arabia: “Saudi Arabia was making a billion dollars a day and we were getting virtually nothing to protect them.” In fact, the US has no treaty with Saudi Arabia requiring it to defend the Kingdom in case of attack, though it has alliances. The US military also has advisers based in the Kingdom but no troops. Moreover, US companies have received tens of billions of dollars from arm sales to the Kingdom. It should also be noted that the Kingdom paid the US $16B for its military assistance during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
Mr. Donald Trump criticized the Obama administration in its fight against ISIS claiming that: “We’re not knocking out the oil because they don’t want to create environmental pollution up in the air.” However, while the US military has indicated a desire to limit unnecessary collateral damage such as pollution, there is a primary need not to destroy an energy resource for the government to emerge from the civil war. Such resources would minimize or even eliminate the need for US foreign aid in rebuilding the country.
Politically unbiased yours,