By Claire Downs
The 2016 Republican National Convention has been a convergence of awful speeches, cheesy intro music, and a lot of unnecessary shouting since the GOP gang touched down in Cleveland. Believe me. However, nothing has plagued the RNC more than the blatant fabrications, huge exaggerations and even pants-on-fire lies told by speakers at the convention. For those of us who weren’t in attendance waving “Hillary For Prison” signs, clarifying the facts is sort of a big deal. It matters for both parties and can be a deciding factor in how some of us vote come November. So get out your BS-detectors as we round up the biggest fibs and bring light and truth to the situation.
Melania Trump Tried It!
Viewers everywhere grabbed their popcorn buckets and watched as news sites unraveled a web of lies surrounding Melania Trump’s speech Monday night. First, Melania told Matt Lauer she wrote the speech with as little help as possible. Later that day, after delivering the speech, disaster unfolded – it was revealed that Melania cribbed a word-for-word paragraph from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech. In the following hours, the Trump campaign stated multiple times that the words were “common words” and it was a mere coincidence. Then 24 hours later, only after a Canadian physicist calculated that the odds the speech wasn’t plagiarized was 1 in 87 billion, the Trump Campaign fired the speechwriter who wrote Melania’s address to the RNC. The Meredith McIver, the speechwriter admitted using Michelle Obama’s words to write the speech in her resignation letter.
Scott Baio Denies Calling Hillary Clinton the C-Word
In an interview between MSNBC’s Tamron Hall and Scott Baio (who had just spoken at the RNC), Tamron questioned a photo Baio tweeted of Hillary Clinton standing in front of the “o” in the word “count,” effectively calling Clinton the C-word. Baio denied, feigning that he didn’t think the tweet used the expletive. Hall went on to rightfully own the former ’80s sitcom star for his disgusting comments aimed at women.
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani Claims Hillary is “for Open Borders”
Speaking during night one of the RNC, Rudy Giuliani said, “You know Donald Trump will secure our borders. His opponent has had her chance to do this, and she has failed. Hillary Clinton is for open borders.” According to Politifact.com this sentiment ranks a strong “false” on the Pulitzer Prize-winning site. Claiming “open borders” implies that Clinton would allow undocumented immigrants free travel into the US. This is not even close to anything Hillary Clinton has proposed. In fact, back in November, Clinton told voters in New Hampshire “We need to secure our borders, I’m for it, I voted for it, I believe in it, and we also need to deal with the families, the workers who are here, who have made contributions, and their children.”
Jeff Sessions Claims 350,000 Immigrants Cross the Border Illegally Each Year
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) took the RNC stage to exaggerate the number of illegal immigrants that actually enter America each year. “There are about 350,000 people who succeed in crossing our borders illegally each year.” Politifact, who again ranks this statement as “false,” cited research which proves Sessions was exaggerating the truth. In 2015, border patrol officials apprehended ~300K people attempting to cross the border – meaning that their attempts to enter the U.S. were unsuccessful. Though Sessions seems to believe the opposite is true, Politifact also noted that a study from the Pew Research center confirms that more Mexicans leave the U.S. every year than enter the U.S.
Antonio Saboto Jr. Still Thinks Being a Birther is Cool
President Barack Obama is a practicing Christian, but that doesn’t stop crazies from questioning his faith over and over again. After his RNC speech, Antonio Sabato, Jr. (who was on some episodes of Melrose Place and General Hospital back in the day) appeared on ABC News. When asked if he thought Obama was a Muslim (after beating around the bush and questioning the president’s Christian beliefs), he replied “absolutely.” I can’t believe I have to say this (after years of this rumor being debunked), but Barack Obama is not, nor ever was, a Muslim.
Mike Pence Says Trump Brought In “Millions” of New Voters
Echoing a pretty big lie Trump has repeated, Trump’s running-mate, Mike Pence, said, “Yet, there I was a few days ago in New York City with the man who won 37 states, faced 16 talented opponents and outlasted every one of them, and along the way brought millions of new voters into the Republican Party.”
But The Washington Post and Politico have debunked this myth. Trump hasn’t brought “millions” of new voters into the GOP. As Politico says, “…early statistics show that the vast majority of those voters aren’t actually new to voting or to the Republican Party, but rather they are reliable past voters in general elections. They are only casting ballots in a Republican primary for the first time.”
The Ice-Skating Rink Story
Ah, the famed Trump-Ice-Skating-Rink story that keeps popping up in the Trump campaign, even though it has been debunked by multiple sources. According to Donald’s son, Eric, in his RNC speech:
“Back in 1986, the city of New York tried to refurbish a simple ice skating rink in Central Park. The project ran up over six years and ballooned to over $13 million — $5 million over an already inflated budget. That’s when my father overlooked this disastrous construction site from his office window each and every day, deciding he had to step in. Disgusted by government incompetence and ineptitude, he invested $2 million of his own money in order to complete the project. What had taken the city over half a decade to botch, my father completed in less than six months — two months ahead of schedule and over $1 million under budget.”
The Washington Post, has reported that the city actually paid for the rink. While it is true that Trump intervened and had a hand organizing the building of the rink in a shorter period of time (the city allowed him to to avoid bureaucratic intervention), the project was paid for by the city of New York, and all profits were donated to charity. There was no investment of Trump’s own money – just the allowance that Trump would spearhead the project, which had slowed due to technological failures of the time and leaks in the refrigeration system.
Sharon Day Accuses Hillary Clinton of Paying Women Less Than Men
GOP co-chairwoman, Sharon Day took time out of her RNC speech to lambast Hillary Clinton for using the “gender card,” when it comes to issues of equal pay, but asserted that Hillary paid male employees more than female employees during her time as Senator. “She repeatedly plays the gender card. In fact she boasts ‘deal me in.’ Well, Mrs. Clinton, consider yourself dealt in because as a senator you paid women less than the men in your office.” If this sounds crazy, it’s because it is. Back in 2015, Buzzfeed News did an in-depth investigation of claims of this nature (Sean Hannity has also made similar accusations), and found employees to have the same median salaries across the board throughout her tenure in office.
Trump’s Closing Speech Had 21 Fact-Checked Lies
Though Trump started his speech by saying, “There will be no lies. I want to honor the people with the truth and nothing else,” his nose must have grown a few inches longer after those words left his mouth. Media analysts are estimating nearly 21 lies were told during the course of the candidate’s lengthy speech. Here are a few highlights:
Trump: In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map
According to Politifact, Hillary Clinton did not actually “create” ISIS, as Trump would have you believe. Roots of ISIS go all the way back to 2004, during the Bush presidency, when a Sunni extremist established al-Qaida in Iraq. The group’s name has changed multiple times since then.
Trump: “My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment”
False! Throughout her years in public office, Clinton has said she “believes in the Second Amendment.” Though she has called for more regulation of the Second Amendment in her 2008 and 2016 bids for President, she has never threatened to abolish the law. In fact, Politifact snapped back with six examples of times when Hill supported gun rights.
Trump: “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.”
This inaccuracy has appeared multiple times during Trump’s campaign. As it would have it, America is not the most highly taxed nation; it’s not even the second most. It’s the fourth lowest taxed nation out of 34 established and emerging countries that are included in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to PBS News Hour fact checkers..
Watch people of all races get candid about their interactions with the police in the video below.