This year’s US presidential campaign was rife with leaks, smears, ‘he said…she said’, endless tweeting, retweeting and slanging matches. Apart from distortions and exaggerations of the facts from the candidates themselves, both were also widely misquoted. Let’s have a look at some careless citations that have been propagating about Trump over the course of the campaign and see how true they are..
1. Trump called all Mexicans ‘rapists and criminals’.
In June 2015 when Trump announced that he would be running for office, he made some extremely divisive, xenophobic and contentious remarks about Mexican people, one statement did indeed hint that all Mexican immigrants were rapists but he quickly followed up with the phrase ‘And some, I assume, are good people’.
Here’s what he said:
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime.They are rapists.And some, I assume, are good people”
2. President-Elect Trump said at November 2015 rally ‘I love war’ and that he would consider dropping a nuclear bomb on Europe.
Partially true – he said he would not ‘take any cards off the table’ and that Europe was ‘a big place’.
Many publications and an advert from the Clinton campaign quote Trump as saying,‘I love war’. He did indeed use this phrase but, once again, it was followed by the words ‘in a certain way’.
When pushed about his stance on using nuclear weapons in interviews with MSNBC and Fox, Trump said he would be ‘the last one to use nuclear weapons’ but refused to ‘take them off the table’. He also made the shocking assertion, in a CNN interview, that ‘we would be better off’ if Japan and South Korea had nuclear weapons to protect themselves. When asked if Saudi Arabia should also have nuclear weapons he replied, ‘absolutely.’
3. Trump refused to disavow former Ku Kux Klan Grand Dragon David Duke.
Partially true…he later disavowed him
In February, Trump raised suspicions about his position with regards to white supremacist groups when he refused to disavow or condemn David Duke after the former KKK member showed his support for the Trump campaign. On CNN, Trump said that he didn’t know anything about Duke or White Supremacy but when Presenter Jake Tapper explained that he was referring to the infamous KKK, still Trump failed to condemn or disavow the group. It was only following public outrage that Trump tweeted ‘I disavow’ with this video:
The KKK again dogged Trump’s campaign but in this instance, the allegations made were much closer to home…
4. Trump allegedly admitted that his father was a member of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.
False… though it is possible (though unproven) that his father Fred Trump was arrested at a KKK rally in 1927.
The New York Times asked Trump about the allegations against his father. He unequivocally denied them saying: “It shouldn’t be written because it never happened, number one. And number two, there was nobody charged.” An article from the Times from 1927 listed a “Fred Trump” of Devonshire Road as one of seven arrested at a KKK rally. One article described those arrested as ‘berobed marchers’ and another used the headline ‘Clan Arrests.’
Trump’s response to interviewer Jason Horowitz was: “We lived on Wareham. The Devonshire…I know there is a road Devonshire but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devonshire.”
The online publication VICE decided to look into whether there was any basis to allegations Trump’s father, the real estate mogul, Fred Trump. They found that other contemporary publications placed a “Fred Trump” at the same address on Devonshire Road, who was married to a woman named “Mary McCleod.” That is Trump’s mother’s name.
The clips uncovered by VICE do not confirm whether Trump senior was actually a member of the Klan, nor do they prove any wrongdoing but they suggest, contrary to Trump’s assertions, that the rally, and the subsequent arrests, did happen, and did involve his father.
Fred Trump was also formally accused of racist practices in his real estate business in 1973. Something folk singer and one-time Trump tenant Woodie Guthrie had written about in an unpublished song which goes:
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project”
5. Trump tweeted a Mussolini quote.
Donald Trump has tweeted around 34,000 times and many of them received a huge amount of public attention. Including this one…
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto compared Trump’s rethoric to Hitler’s and Mussolini’s. That comparison may have some foundation given that Trump retweeted the above Mussolini quote and when asked about it on NBC, he simply said: “It’s a very good quote…I didn’t know who said it, but what difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else — it’s a very good quote.”
What is less well-publicised is that Trump was set-up to retweet the quote by a parody twitter account, later claimed by the website gawker.com. He took the bait and seemed unconcerned about emulating a fascist dictator.
6. Trump believes that global warming is a ‘scam’ or ‘hoax’.
This is true.
Below are excerpts from an interview on Fox News:
“What do you think of the global warming summit in Paris this week?
Donald J. Trump
“I think it’s ridiculous, we have bigger problems right now and to have the President be there for an extended period of time talking about global warming being the biggest problem facing this country is insane. And he ought to get back to work and solve the ISIS problem…’
“Do you believe in global warming/climate change? Do you think the world’s going to change for the worse because it’s getting warmer?
Donald J. Trump
“I think that there’ll be little change here. It’ll go up, it’ll get a little cooler, it’ll get a little warmer, like it always has for millions of years. It’ll get cooler, it’ll get warmer It’s called weather. […]
I believe in clean water and clean air but I don’t believe what they say. I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money.
“Would you invest government money in alternative fuels? Would you do that or would you let it go?
Donald J. Trump
“I would spend money on certain things. Now solar always sounds better than it is, you know, you have a 36-year payback. I always want to go solar, I love the idea of solar and then I do a test and you get the money back in 36 years. The problem is the panels destroy themselves after ten years. So you know, you’ve got to make it economically viable. Right now it’s not economically viable.
Global warming is widely accepted as the greatest existential threat to the planet. As countries rush to make meaningful progress on the issue during the Cop22, in Marrakech this month, by reducing global emissions before a disastrous temperature increase leads to irreversible disaster, it seems that the new President-Elect disagrees with 97 per cent of the scientific community.