Whenever a Republican presidential debate occurs, I’m already well aware that things like “facts” and “truth” rarely matter to these GOP candidates. Then again, I guess that’s one of the advantages of pandering to tens of millions of Americans who really don’t seem to care about whether or not what you’re telling them is actually true.
Well, the non-partisan fact checking site Politifact decided to do a few play-by-play fact checks during the debate and the results weren’t good for the Republican party. In fact, they did six total fact checks – none of them were deemed to be truthful.
I’ll just start with their first one and move my way up:
1. Ted Cruz: “Barack Obama, right now, No. 1, over seven years has dramatically degraded our military.” – Mostly False.
This was Cruz trying to blame budget cuts that hit parts of our military due to the “sequester” solely on President Obama when both parties were responsible. In fact, Congress was mostly to blame for this. So, in reality, Cruz shares just as much blame for any “downgrades” to our military as the president.
2. Ted Cruz: “I have not insulted Donald personally.” – Mostly False.
The senator from Texas often likes to portray himself as someone who’s “above the fray” when it comes to petty political attacks, when the truth is he’s built much of his political career on trying to bring down others. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve accomplished almost nothing as senator. Well, Politifact found more than one instance where Cruz took shots at Trump. So for him to say he hasn’t insulted Trump personally is disingenuous. Then again, this is the guy who was busted talking down on Trump behind closed doors, all the while he was kissing up to him in public.
3. Chris Christie: He insisted that the neighbors of the San Bernardino shooters “knew they were talking about attacking people.” – False.
Christie was asked whether or not he thought profiling people (specifically Muslims) should be acceptable. The New Jersey governor then went on a rant about the San Bernardino shooters and how their neighbors “knew” they were planning something nefarious – which isn’t at all true. What the neighbors said they saw were packages arriving and men going in and out of the garage. Not exactly “suspicious” behavior most people would assume would be linked to potential terrorism. So, Christie essentially avoided saying whether or not he felt profiling people (aka Muslims) was acceptable by making up pure nonsense surrounding the shooting in San Bernardino.
4. Rand Paul: “A third of the budget for the city of Ferguson (Missouri) was being reaped by civil fines.” – Mostly False.
To be fair, Paul’s point was valid that Ferguson was deriving a large portion of its revenue from issuing tickets to mostly poor people, though he overstated the actual figures by quite a bit. According to Politifact, at its high Ferguson only based 16 percent of its budget on fines, dropping to 7 percent last year.
5. Ben Carson: “Last year, there were an additional 81,000 pages of government regulations. If you stack that up, it would be a three-story building.” – Mostly False.
This is one of those lines that sounds right off the bat like a cherry-picked stat that’s not at all true. While it’s true that the Federal Register did publish over 81,000 pages, which would stack about three stories high, less than one-third of those pages actually related to rules or regulations. So, like with most things Carson says, this was mostly nonsense.
6. Donald Trump: “I never once asked that she [Megyn Kelly] be removed. I don’t care about her being removed.” – False.
While he wasn’t at the debate, this statement was related to the debate. During an interview with CNN on Thursday, Trump claimed he never once asked Fox News to remove Kelly – which is completely untrue. Trump made it clear several times that he wanted Kelly removed as moderator. It’s a fact Fox News confirmed when they released a statement saying that Trump had repeatedly tried to get Kelly taken off the event, with Trump’s campaign manager going as far as to make passive threats toward the popular Fox News host.
And this doesn’t even cover the repeated claims by several of the candidates that Hillary Clinton is under criminal investigation by the FBI and could be indicted at any moment – something that’s not even remotely true. Hillary Clinton is not under criminal investigation by the FBI nor is she facing any indictment.
While fact checking is an inexact science because it’s impossible to investigate everything, this is a common pattern following nearly every GOP debate. These candidates stand on stage and utter talking points that are almost all complete fabrications, misinformation and blatant lies. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the top two Republican candidates, Trump and Cruz, are rated as the two least honest candidates running for president.