AP FACT CHECK: Trump botches murder rate

Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 @ 3:27 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 @ 3:26 AM


            President Donald Trump looks at a figurine given to him by a group of county sheriffs, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump looks at a figurine given to him by a group of county sheriffs, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump's dark view of violent crime in America rests largely on a bogus claim: that the murder rate is higher than it's been in nearly half a century. Actually, the murder rate is down sharply in that time, despite a recent spike.

On Tuesday, he told a meeting of sheriffs: "The murder rate in our country is the highest it's been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years. I used to use that — I'd say that in a speech and everybody was surprised because the press doesn't tell it like it is." He circled back to add: "The murder rate is the highest it's been in, I guess, from 45 to 47 years."

THE FACTS: The murder rate in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, is actually among the lowest in half a century. It stood at 4.9 murders per 100,000 people, a far cry from the rates in the 1970s, 1980s and most of the 1990s, when they were typically over 6 per 100,000, peaking at over 10 in 1980.

It's true that 2015 saw one of the largest increases in decades, up 10 percent from 4.4 murders per 100,000 people in 2014, but even with that rise homicides are not on the order of what the country experienced in previous decades.

Trump has misrepresented crime statistics on several occasions. He stated last month that Philadelphia's murder rate has been "terribly increasing" even though it dropped slightly last year. The city's murder rate rose in the previous two years but remained substantially lower than in past decades.

He also incorrectly claimed that two people "were shot and killed" in Chicago during then-President Barack Obama's farewell speech on Jan. 10. Although Chicago has experienced a surge in murders compared with previous decades, no one was fatally shot in Chicago that day, police records show, much less during Obama's speech.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by public figures

Donald Trump’s plan in Afghanistan: Transcript from his speech 

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 9:34 PM

Trump's Plan for Afghanistan - "We Will Fight To Win"

On Monday, President Donald Trump gave a speech in which he discussed U.S. policy in Afghanistan

The remarks indicate that the 16-year war, the longest conflict in American history, may continue for some time, as Trump declined to give a specific timeline of when troops will pull out and would not discuss troop numbers.

>> Read more trending news

Read a full transcript of Trump’s remarks, from Fort Meyer in Arlington, Virginia, from The White House, below:

“Thank you very much. Thank you. Please be seated.

“Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Tillerson, members of the Cabinet, General Dunford, Deputy Secretary Shanahan, and Colonel Duggan. Most especially, thank you to the men and women of Fort Myer and every member of the United States military at home and abroad.

“We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of our brave sailors who were injured and lost after a tragic collision at sea, as well as to those conducting the search and recovery efforts.

“I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the servicemembers here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home.

“Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history.

“American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield for our nation and for our freedom. Through their lives -- and though their lives were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality.

“By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal, and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission, and one shared sense of purpose. 

“They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together -- and sacrifice together -- in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all servicemembers are brothers and sisters. They're all part of the same family; it's called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law. They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. 

“The soldier understands what we, as a nation, too often forget that a wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together.

“Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate. 

“The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.

“As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas -- and we will always win -- let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name that, when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.

“Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the American military and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of September 11th -- and nobody can ever forget that -- have not been repeated on our shores. 

“But we must also acknowledge the reality I am here to talk about tonight: that nearly 16 years after September 11th attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory. Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history -- 17 years.

“I share the American people’s frustration. I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly lives, trying to rebuild countries in our own image, instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations.

“That is why, shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.

“My original instinct was to pull out -- and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office; in other words, when you're President of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David, with my Cabinet and generals, to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusions about America’s core interests in Afghanistan.

“First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need, and the trust they have earned, to fight and to win.

“Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th.

“And, as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies. Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for, and bled to liberate, and won, were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS. The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread, to grow, recruit, and launch attacks. We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq.

“Third and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world. 

“For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen. 

“No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions. When I became President, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into: big and intricate problems. But, one way or another, these problems will be solved -- I'm a problem solver -- and, in the end, we will win.

“We must address the reality of the world as it exists right now -- the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the problems of today, and extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal.

“We need look no further than last week’s vile, vicious attack in Barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. You saw it for yourself. Horrible. 

“As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding, and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology.

“Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs, and criminals, and predators, and -- that's right -- losers. Working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily.

“In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.

“But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history. As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways:

“A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I’ve said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.

“Conditions on the ground -- not arbitrary timetables -- will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.

Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power -- diplomatic, economic, and military -- toward a successful outcome. 

“Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen. America will continue its support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field. 

“Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.

“The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.

“In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices. 

“But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. servicemembers and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace. 

“Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India -- the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

“Finally, my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work, and work effectively and work quickly.

“I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our warfighters that prevented the Secretary of Defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy. Micromanagement from Washington, D.C. does not win battles. They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers acting in real time, with real authority, and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy. 

“That’s why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan. These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide; that no place is beyond the reach of American might and Americans arms. Retribution will be fast and powerfu
“As we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field, we are already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq. 

“Since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard. We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror. When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive, and overwhelming force. 

“Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge. 

“We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will. Since taking office, I have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense, and they have done so.

“In this struggle, the heaviest burden will continue to be borne by the good people of Afghanistan and their courageous armed forces. As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. 

“Afghanistan is fighting to defend and secure their country against the same enemies who threaten us. The stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do. Afghans will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed. 

“But we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands, or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests. We are not asking others to change their way of life, but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives. This principled realism will guide our decisions moving forward. 

“Military power alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan or stop the terrorist threat arising in that country. But strategically applied force aims to create the conditions for a political process to achieve a lasting peace.

“America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results. Our patience is not unlimited. We will keep our eyes wide open. 

“In abiding by the oath I took on January 20th, I will remain steadfast in protecting American lives and American interests. In this effort, we will make common cause with any nation that chooses to stand and fight alongside us against this global threat. Terrorists take heed: America will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat.

“Under my administration, many billions of dollars more is being spent on our military. And this includes vast amounts being spent on our nuclear arsenal and missile defense.

“In every generation, we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed. We prevailed because we know who we are and what we are fighting for. 

“Not far from where we are gathered tonight, hundreds of thousands of America’s greatest patriots lay in eternal rest at Arlington National Cemetery. There is more courage, sacrifice, and love in those hallowed grounds than in any other spot on the face of the Earth.

“Many of those who have fought and died in Afghanistan enlisted in the months after September 11th, 2001. They volunteered for a simple reason: They loved America, and they were determined to protect her. 

“Now we must secure the cause for which they gave their lives. We must unite to defend America from its enemies abroad. We must restore the bonds of loyalty among our citizens at home, and we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid. 

“Our actions, and in the months to come, all of them will honor the sacrifice of every fallen hero, every family who lost a loved one, and every wounded warrior who shed their blood in defense of our great nation. With our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your families will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace.

“We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls, and everlasting pride in each and every one of you.

“Thank you. May God bless our military. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. Thank you.”

Donald Trump looks at sun during solar eclipse, sans protective glasses

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 5:15 PM

President Donald Trump points to the sun as he arrives to view the solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump points to the sun as he arrives to view the solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(Andrew Harnik/AP)

President Donald Trump ignored the advice of optometrists and scientists nationwide Monday when he squinted to look up at the sun during the 2017 solar eclipse.

>> Read more trending news

The president and first lady Melania Trump took in the eclipse with their son, Barron, on the White House’s Truman Balcony. 

The trio wore protective glasses, though Trump took his pair off long enough to squint up at the sky.

“Don’t look,” a staffer shouted as Trump grimaced, pointing toward the sun above, The Hill reported.

NASA officials and doctors warned people in the run-up to Monday’s eclipse to wear certified eclipse-viewing glasses or to take other safety precautions. Those who viewed the eclipse without glasses ran the risk of damaging their vision, including possible blindness.

Although Trump only looked at the sun protection-free for a short period of time, it didn’t slip past social media users, who quickly shared their incredulity at the president’s decision.

Most Stunning Moments From The Total Eclipse

See updates from the solar eclipse, as they happened:

Related

Trump calls efforts to remove Confederate monuments 'so foolish'

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 9:48 AM

WATCH: Protesters Topple Confederate Statue In North Carolina

President Donald Trump on Thursday again criticized recent decisions to remove Confederate monuments across the country, calling the moves “so foolish” and the monuments irreplaceable.

>> Read more trending news

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump wrote in the first of a series of tweets. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”

He echoed comments he made at a fiery news conference in New York earlier this week, in which he wondered whether monuments remembering former presidents George Washington or Thomas Jefferson would be next to fall.

>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville 

“The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” the president wrote.

His comments came amid continued criticism from across the political spectrum over his insistence that “both sides” were to blame for deadly, racially-charged violence that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

>> Related: Heather Heyer's parents preach love, action after daughter's death: 'You just magnified her'

Police said 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed Saturday during a counterprotest of a rally organized by white supremacists. The rally was aimed at protesting the removal of a Confederate statue from the city’s Emancipation Park.

Authorities arrested James Alex Fields Jr., 20, on charges including second-degree murder and malicious wounding in connection with Heyer’s death. Police said he slammed a car into two stopped vehicles and rammed counterprotesters. Fields, from Ohio, participated in the rally and was described by a former high school teacher as a fan of Adolf Hitler.

Watch - President Trump Says "Blame on Both Sides, I Wait for Facts"

3 more executives leave Trump's manufacturing council in aftermath of Charlottesville

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 5:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 5:48 PM

President Donald Trump speaks in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Donald Trump speaks in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday told reporters that the CEOs who have resigned from the White House manufacturing council in the days since the president blamed “many sides” for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, have done so “out of embarrassment” on the same day that a pair of executives announced their exits from the group.

>> Read more trending news

“They’re not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country,” Trump said during a fiery news conference at Trump Tower.

He claimed that four business leaders who announced their resignations on Monday and Tuesday were trying to avoid pressure from him to make their products in the U.S.

>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville

“I’ve been lecturing them about … (how) you have to bring it back to this country,” Trump said.

A fifth business leader, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, announced his departure from the council and the departure of AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee shortly after Trump made his comments.

Earlier Tuesday, Scott Paul, president of the nonprofit American Alliance for Manufacturing, announced his exit, “because it’s the right thing for me to do.”

>> Related: Intel CEO is 3rd executive to resign from Trump's Manufacturing Council 

Trumka said in a statement that he and Lee were resigning and placed the blame squarely on the president’s rhetoric.

"We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," the statement said in part. "President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."

Trump earlier Tuesday called the CEOs leaving the manufacturing council “grandstanders” and boasted that he had “many to take their place.”

Paul was the fourth business leader to announce his resignation, after the departures of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.

>> Related: Merck CEO quits Trump manufacturing council after Charlottesville

Frazier, who was the first to resign, wrote in a statement that he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Krzanich said he was resigning "to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing."

Plank said on Monday night that Under Armour "engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”

The resignations came after critics questioned Trump’s decision not to call out white supremacists in a statement condemning the violence that erupted Saturday. Police said Heather Heyer, 32, died after she was struck by a vehicle when a man, identified by police as 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., slammed a car into protesters and two other vehicles.

In a second statement made on Monday, Trump condemned "the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups," who incite violence based on race.

>> Related: Trump condemns KKK, white supremacists days after deadly Charlottesville attack

Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned for the same reason from the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, which Trump established to advise him on how government policy impacts economic growth and job creation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

What You Need To Know: Manufacturing Council