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FACT CHECK: Trump’s distortions on Clinton

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke in Las Vegas on Saturday.

WASHINGTON » Donald Trump’s fierce denunciation of Hillary Clinton today was rife with distortion.

He accused Clinton of announcing a withdrawal from Iraq that wasn’t on her watch, pulled numbers out of nowhere on her plan for refugees and went beyond the established facts behind the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya in stating starkly that she “left him there to die.” In doing so, he assigned her far more influence in the world than she exercised as secretary of state.

A look at some of his assertions and how they stack up with the facts:

TRUMP: “In just four years, Secretary Clinton managed to almost single-handedly destabilize the entire Middle East.” He blamed her for an invasion of Libya that “handed the country over to ISIS,” for making Iran the dominant Islamic power in the region and for supporting regime change in Syria that led to a bloody civil war. He charged that her “disastrous strategy” of announcing a departure date from Iraq created another opening for ISIS there.

THE FACTS: These statements make only passing acquaintance with reality.

There was no U.S. invasion of Libya. Clinton initially opposed but then sought credit for the NATO-led air campaign to help rebels overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. (Trump spoke in support of U.S. intervention at the time.) While the violence destabilized Libya, Islamic State inroads there have been more recent and are largely limited to a small coastal area of the country.

Arguments about Iranian domination of the Middle East predate Clinton’s tenure, going back a decade to the George W. Bush administration’s deposing of Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq.

While secretary of state, Clinton supported arming Syria’s moderate rebels, but the Islamic State group only arrived later. It’s unclear what effect such a policy would have had as President Barack Obama rejected the advice at the time.

And she had nothing to do with the “disastrous strategy” of giving a departure date from Iraq. It was the George W. Bush administration that announced the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2008.

TRUMP: U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and his staff “made hundreds and hundreds of requests for security. They were desperate. They needed help. Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all. She started the war that put them in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die.”

THE FACTS: Trump greatly exaggerates the security requests, not all of which were denied, and gets the history of U.S.-Libyan relations wrong. The reference to security requests appears to reflect the Republican-led House Select Committee on Benghazi’s tally of “requests/concerns” related to the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. For many of those, there’s no record of denials. And some security upgrades did occur before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Stevens and three other Americans.

Clinton did not start the war in Libya. She supported a NATO intervention well after large-scale violence had broken out between Gadhafi’s forces and rebels. Nor did the conflict put Stevens or any U.S. diplomat in Libya. The U.S. had maintained a full-fledged embassy there since President George W. Bush re-established diplomatic relations with Gadhafi’s government in 2006.

Several congressional investigations have shown that Clinton had no role in military decisions related to Benghazi, and that it would have been impossible for U.S. armed forces to intervene in time to save Stevens.

TRUMP: “Hillary also wants to spend hundreds of billions to resettle Middle Eastern refugees in the United States, on top of the current record level of immigration.”

THE FACTS: For a businessman, Trump is shaky on his numbers. The entire U.S. budget for refugee resettlement is less than $1.2 billion a year — and that includes refugees from Cuba, Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even including the value of all future public benefits they might receive — and excluding their contribution to the country through taxes — Trump’s assertion about the cost of resettlement is still baffling.

TRUMP: “I started off in Brooklyn, New York, not so long ago, with a small loan and built a business that today is worth well over $10 billion.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s $1 million loan from his father was just the beginning of his family subsidies, which included a far larger inheritance, loan guarantees and even occasional bailouts — one of which was found to be illegal by New Jersey casino regulators. As for the value of Trump’s business, every independent appraisal has found his assets to be worth far less than he says; Forbes says Trump is worth less than half what he claims.

TRUMP: “Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was secretary of state — plus millions more for her foundation. The sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law.

THE FACTS: Clinton is not sporting Brunei bling.

In September 2012, she accepted a $58,000 jewelry set with gold, sapphire and diamond earrings, a necklace and bracelet, given by the queen of Brunei when Clinton visited for meetings and to inaugurate an English-language training program, according to the Federal Register. The gift was not to her, but to the United States.

Federal law prohibits officials from keeping such gifts unless they pay the estimated value to the U.S. government. According to the State Department’s protocol office, Clinton chose not to buy the jewelry, and instead turned it over to the General Services Administration — the standard procedure for most gifts from foreign leaders.

It’s true that Brunei is an Islamic nation that observes Sharia law and has been widely criticized for its human rights record, particularly when it comes to gays and lesbians.

But gift exchanges are standard practice. As with almost all gifts to all officials, the Federal Register notice says “non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government.”

TRUMP: “Our trade deficit with China soared 40 percent during Clinton’s time as secretary of state.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s claim is more than double the actual increase. From late 2008 through 2012, a period coinciding with Clinton’s tenure, the trade deficit with China rose 17.6 percent. Trump’s campaign may be using data from the end of 2009 through 2013, when the deficit did rise 40 percent, but that does not match up with Clinton’s time in office and leaves out a sharp, recession-induced drop in 2009.

More broadly, the secretary of state is not typically held responsible for the trade deficit, which mostly reflects the health of the U.S. and global economies, the difference in how much the nation spends and saves, and trade policies implemented by the U.S. trade representative.

TRUMP: “We are the highest-taxed nation in the world.”

THE FACTS: Closer to the opposite is true.

The U.S. tax burden is actually one of the lowest among the 34 developed and large emerging-market economies that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Taxes made up 26 percent of the total U.S. economy in 2014, according to the OECD. That’s far below Sweden’s tax burden of 42.7 percent, Britain’s 32.6 percent or Germany’s 36.1 percent. Only three OECD members had a lower figure: Chile, South Korea and Mexico.

TRUMP: “Under her plan, we would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth, with no way to screen who they are, what they are, what they believe, where they come from.”

THE FACTS: Clinton has called for the United States to continue to accept refugees, including as many as 65,000 from Syria. But Trump is wrong about Clinton’s stance on refugee screening. She’s never said she would scale back the current refugee processing system. Under that system, a person’s beliefs are not generally a disqualifier for entrance into the U.S. Refugees are checked to make sure they don’t have criminal records or have been identified by intelligence agencies as having ties to terrorist organizations.

TRUMP: “She has pledged to grant mass amnesty and in her first 100 days, end virtually all immigration enforcement, and thus create totally open borders in the United States.”

THE FACTS: It’s not true that Clinton’s plan would create open borders. Her plan does call for a pathway to citizenship that would allow people currently in the country illegally to stay, but only after going through a series of steps to become a citizen. On enforcement, Clinton has called for focusing on “detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety,” but not ending enforcement outright.

TRUMP: “We will repeal and replace job-killing Obamacare. It is a total disaster.”

THE FACTS: Job growth has been solid by historical standards since Obama’s health care overhaul took effect in March 2010. Since then, employers have added nearly 14 million jobs and businesses have been on the longest hiring streak in the post-World War II era. And 2014 and 2015 were the two best years of private-sector hiring since the late 1990s. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has fallen to 4.7 percent, an 8 ½ year low, from 9.9 percent when the law was passed.

TRUMP: “We’ll pass massive tax reform to create millions of new jobs and lower taxes for everyone.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s proposed tax cuts are indeed massive, but most economists conclude they will create a huge amount of government debt. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Trump’s tax plan would slash government revenue by $9.5 trillion over the next decade. Trump hasn’t specified any offsetting spending cuts or other sources of revenue to make up the difference. That means the tax cuts would balloon the deficit. All that additional government borrowing could push up interest rates, the center concludes, and offset much of the economic benefit of lower taxes.

Associated Press writers Christopher S. Rugaber, Chad Day, Michael Biesecker, Eileen Sullivan, Alicia A. Caldwell, Jeff Horwitz, Nancy Benac, Matthew Lee, Jill Colvin and Cal Woodward contributed to this story.

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      • Yes she did. Her Secret Service agents code name “Klastri” & “boolakanaka” were there. I heard they collaborated on a book “Under Fire with the Secretary” to be released before the election.

        • Thank you for thinking about me so often – as odd as that is. I never think about you.

          Not ever.

        • I hope you two whatevers are taking your pills. Hey sarge I heard Klastri took a rpg in the rear for the Secretary. By the way when Trump gets in he’ll promote you to a general. Your new call sign will be general22.
          Boo, I’ll keep that in mind.
          To be honest this election cycle makes me think what’s the sense. Look at the gridlock in Congress, the FBI can’t find the wife or the emails, the AG is talking like nothing happen. The Mexicans shouldnt be mad at Trump. Obama is letting the Syrians in faster
          than they can count them.
          I’m glad this happens once every four years.

      • Nothing but an AA press hit job on Trump. Notice no author?

        1. Hillary completely left Libya out to dry and were invaded by ISIS.

        2. Hillary was totally responsible for Benghazi and what happened to the Ambassador. He response was “what does it matter how they died”. Boy I wouldn’t ever want to work for her!

        3. “We are the highest-taxed nation in the world.” He was speaking to Corporate Tax Rates that are 35% causing companies that make money overseas not to bring those profits back to the U.S.

        4. On refugees and immigration: There is no doubt that Hillary and Obama are the cause of the refugee problem. She wants at least 150,000 let into the U.S. immediately, and for the U.S. to lead the way in funding refugee camps overseas, that is a FACT.

        5. Trade deficit and job creation go hand and hand but admittedly mostly Obama’s fault.

        6. As Reagan showed, lowering taxes creates more jobs and spending which brings in more tax revenue more than off setting the cuts.

        • If you Think Don Trump is gonna fix America, your going to be sorely disappointed, disjointed and mortified beyond the pale!

        • While a SoS, I’d have held Hillary to the highest standards in the likes of HPD, Catholic Priest, etc.. Apparently she lied, I’ve lost all respect for Crooked Lying Hillary.

      • Yes, Donald will be better than paying for everyone’s college and schmoozing undocumented people.

        Shillary has done zero in her political career except break security rules.

      • Donald , I vote for you because you are the only one even mentioning illegal Invasion of foreigners which ruin our lives by overpopulation and socialism. You are the only one saying that free trade with cheating countries like China took away our jobs.You are the only one who dares to say that the terrorist problem is ISLAMIC and therefore Muslims should not be allowed in.

        • What were you doing prior…..dog walking, cutting trees, cleaning up the back of kitchens?

        • If your goal is to make thinking people feel sorry for you, it’s working.

          This is one sad and unfortunate comment.

          You probably don’t know that Mr. Trump’s line of ties is made in China.

        • Klastri, you must live in your mom’s basement along with Boolakanaka.You guys twins? Well if you are I’m glad I hope they threw away the mold.
          Don’t know the last time you twins went to a store, any store. Trumps ties is a fart in the wind. No comparison. Next time your mom lets you out of the basement, check it out.

        • Les, give us a snapshot of your life? Graduate from college? Went to graduate/professional school? Maybe attend one of the top Ivy schools? Have a substantial carree as an attorney? Directly assist society and those less fortunate ?

          The answers for Klastri and I, are all yes—and you, not some much, huh…?

        • Klastri makes statements with shoot from the hip fashion and then asks to have them retracted by the SA. Come on buddy. Speak your mind and hold true to it to the end. Cartoon, you got noting to say that holds any water anymore pal.

    • This isn’t “spinning.” It takes his comments and looks at whether they have any basis in fact. A similar article about Clinton ran yesterday, or earlier this week.

  • The Donald would continue the republican record of each new republican president being worse than the previous republican president. This would be a real accomplishment considering the previous republican president was G W Bush. Way to go Republicans.

    • Hillary would probably beat Obama as not the worst democratic president, but as the worst president of any party, EVER, period. right now Obama stands alone as the worst president in the entire history of our country.

  • Hmm, Hellary’s fact check looked similar on MSN.com so what? They are both exaggerating to make points and steal votes. Which candidate is the worst of 2 evils? If you have a major focal point in your life then vote with the candidate that aligns with you and vote for the candidate and not the “party”. If you are angry and disappointed at the news everyday then the status quo is not cutting it. Let’s all hope for positive changes to come from whomever becomes the next Potus.

  • Don’t blame the Donald for the things he said; he was reading the teleprompt. How does he know what he’s instructed to blurt out? He has no clue.
    Ask him more relevant questions like how he will get U.S. out of debt owed because he knows how to deny any financial claims against like himself. He has had years and years of experience in filing for chapter ll, etc. Also not paying work done on his behalf by screwing those owed with lengthy court delays that go on for years or until those owed just give up or go out of business.

    • Trump of all people should know how many zeros there are in a billion — tho I can see him having his knowledge tested with hundreds of billions…

      • 1,000,000 – million
        1,000,000,000 – billion
        1,000,000,000,000 – trillion
        10,000,000,000,000 – Obama elected
        20,000,000,000,000 – National Debt 2017

        Hillary’s plan? No plan.
        Trump’s plan? I ain’t paying.

        • That’s great, sparky. You’ve demonstrated that your knowledge of numbers is greater than Trump’s.

          “Hillary also wants to spend hundreds of billions to resettle Middle Eastern refugees in the United States…”

  • Some us more naive voters thought that when we elected Obama we had a real leader and that positive change would actually happen. Instead the “NEW WORLD ORDER” marched on. The richer got richer, the “middle class” paid more taxes and we killed the oceans. Moving forward this up coming presidential election is the biggest joke the world has ever seen. Home of the Free? Not so much.

  • Facts and distortions from both parties and the losers are the people of America! Please come up with a rational and better story than of these two “ogres “? It’s getting tiresome and no better than any of the past presidential elections!

  • Seriously. What (besides Benghazi) has Hillary Clinton ever accomplished? It seems that the very same people who voted for The Incompetent One because he is (1/2) black are the same people who are voting for Hillary (just because she’s got a Va-Jay-Jay). Again, is that a logical reason for voting for someone? Gad, we have REALLY dumbed down the electorate in this country, and she and obama PROVE IT.

    • “…is that a logical reason for voting for someone?”

      Of course not, and it would take a preadolescent, class cutting ignoramus to even suggest it.

      “Gad, we have REALLY dumbed down the electorate in this country,”

      Who’s “we?” Speak for yourself: I had nothing to do with your lack of development.

  • It’s only befitting that the Star Advertiser run articles on Hillary’s email scandal.

    How about the Clinton Foundation receiving donation money from Muslim countries that despise GBLT ?

    Obvious that SA is on Hillary’s side. Hawaii is a one party state.

    Is this fair reporting journalism ?

    • Yobo; first, this isn’t a Star Advertiser article. It’s an Assoc Press story, that SA picked up via the wire services. Second, if you pulled your head out and weren’t so bloody defensive all the time, you’d have seen that a similar “fact check” article about Clinton ran in the June 21 issue of the SA.

  • There were plenty of inaccuracies in Trump’s speech (we are not the most taxed nation in the world; Trump was not a brave, lonely voice against the Iraq war), as well as wild misdirection. For example, Trump said that Clinton had accepted fifty-eight thousand dollars in jewelry from the Sultan of Brunei; as with all such official gifts, however, she turned it over to the National Archives. (The Sultan’s wife gave Michelle Obama an even more expensive piece of jewelry, which she, too, handed over.) blah blah blah bs….

    • Apparently you took the job with the Clintons. Excuses, excuses,excuses. Great Presidential speech by Mr Trump. It’s presentation that counts. He learned well from Obama.

    • Boo, you got to get your facts straight. She told the Bruneis don’t be cheap. How’s about sending something to the Clinton Foundation I can sink my teeth into. Like 2.0 million BND.

      • In words spoken from the Sultan of Brunei’s lavish Empire Hotel in 2000, President Bill Clinton told reporters that his post-presidency would be about making money: “Now I have a United States senator to support, I understand that’s an expensive proposition.”

      • Get your facts straight — one, I formerly worked at the US State Department, and gifts are either turned over or if you wanted to keep them, require full reimbursesment. See:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clintons-gifts-from-foreign-leaders-more-lavish-than-those-for-obama/2013/09/01/b2b721a0-1331-11e3-b182-1b3bb2eb474c_story.html

        Quick question, when they picked you up from the foster home, did they drop you on your head?

        • For a high class education you sure have no class comments. A bit thin skinned my friend? Think about it. Hillary might cut you loose as Trump did to Corey.

        • Where’s two? Come on now boo, let’s get it together. 1,2,3.
          Two – Hillary cut me loose. Moved to Hawaii and living with my twin brother klastri in our mom’s basement.

        • I see a big difference between attacking politician’s families and attacking families of the folks who who make the negative comments. Apparently you don’t agree. So be it. To follow your logic you make a comment about my wife then I respond with a comment about your Mom and it goes on and on. Makes little sense. Cower in real confrontation? You have to be kidding. No way.

        • Hmmmn, anytime both you and sarge want to meet in person, I would be more than up for that wonderful opportunity.

        • You just don’t get it. From a bully in Halawa to a bully all your life. If someone disagrees with your political beliefs you don’t attack the person’s beliefs you personally the person.

        • A bully preys on those unprotected and vunerable–never did any such thing in my entire life. I’m man enough to tell another man, how I actually feel, face to face, and not utilize a computer screen as a security bunker.

  • Trump is an absolute idiot & makes up all his allegations. Biggest problem that he only likes to hear himself talk & 50% of the time his informati is wrong.

  • It’s amazing how the Star Advertiser reports Trump’s statements as being “mostly false” whereas the New York Times reports the same statements as being “mostly true.”

  • The AP doesn’t mention, nor contradict the massive amount of money the Clinton foundation made from foreign sources during Hillary’s Secretary of State adventure. Just check on her speeches to Wall Street firms–and her son in law runs a hedge fund–she never mentions that nor his felon, ex-congressman dad.

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