Quantcast

10 Biggest Lies and Distortions From the GOP Debate

Politics

Another GOP debate, another steaming pile of half-truths, lies and pseudo-facts. The Republican party seems to be almost entirely post-truth at this point and if you call them out, you're the liberal media! It's a brilliant racket and one that led us to the current state of affairs where facts aren't just dispensable, but a political liability. Without further ado, here are the top lies and distortions from last night's debate.

1. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz: "We cannot vet refugees."

A popular refrain in the wake of the Paris and San Bernadino attacks is that the U.S. government (or more specifically President Obama) cannot properly vet Syrian refugees. This has been repeatedly debunked as hysterical posturing, yet remains a popular trope among the far right. In addition to a rather thorough takedown by John Oliver two weeks ago, PoliticoFact rated this claim, "mostly false" in its detailed analysis this evening.

2. Marco Rubio claims Assad created ISIS.

This is an old canard and one that even nominally lefty outlets like Vox like to push, but it has little to do with reality. In an effort to shore up his neocon credentials, Rubio has doubled down on regime change in Syria while other GOP candidates like Paul and Cruz—as well as Bernie Sanders—have run away from this position. To do this Rubio has pushed the conspiracy theory that the reason ISIS grew in Syria is because the U.S. didn't back the rebels opposed to Assad when in fact the CIA, according to documents revealed by Edward Snowden, spent $1 billion a year arming, funding and assisting the opposition.

3. Donald Trump cites bogus poll that 25 percent of Muslims condone acts of violence.

A popular trope among the nativist wing of the Republican Party (aka the Republican Party), the bogus stat that 25 percent of Muslins support violence is thrown around quite often. But it originates from noted Islamophobic "think tank" Center for Security Policy. As the New York Times notes:

"Mr. Trump vouched for the group at a rally on Monday night. But the poll—conducted by the Polling Company, a Republican firm—is in no way truly representative of all Muslim Americans because of its methodology. The poll was not based on a random sample, but included only people who chose to participate and therefore is not representative of the population being studied. In addition, some of the questions were leading and biased."

4. Chris Christie insists he was appointed U.S. Attorney on Sept. 10, 2001.

Why does Christie keep repeating this lie? It's been debunked several times and it's a matter of public record. It's a great soundbite to be sure and if true, would put Christie in the heart of the most significant foreign policy crisis of the past 20 years. But the reality is that George W. Bush nominated Christie on Dec. 7, 2001, as one can clearly see from a White House press release.

5. Ted Cruz claims George W. Bush deported 10 million people.

Geroge W. Bush deported 1.8 million people. Obama deported 2 million. It's unclear where Cruz is getting this number from.

6. Donald Trump keeps saying he self-funds, but we know that's demonstrably false.

This is another assertion that's completely disproven and easily searchable online (which raises the question of why CNN hasn't bothered doing this). Trump has received, according to the last available FEC filings, upward of $3.9 million from individual donors compared to using only $101,000 of his own money. How does this fit with his "self-funded" narrative? It's unclear, but perhaps a more urgent question is why would any sane person donate money to someone who claims to have more than $10 billion?

7. Moderator lie: CNN's Wolf Blitzer claimed terrorism fears are higher than they've been since 9/11.

That's not true. A recent Gallup poll shows terrorism fears have spiked recently, but are the same as in 2005 and nowhere near as high as after 9/11.

8. Lie by omission: Why was the attack on Planned Parenthood not mentioned in a debate about terrorism?

As Sean McElwee of Demos noted, in a debate that was nominally about "terrorism," non-Muslim terrorism was completely absent. The recent Planned Parenthood terrorist attack carried out by a man who claims to be a "warrior for babies" wasn't discussed in the broader context of terrorism. Why this is so remains unclear.

9. Lie by cliche: What the hell is Fiorina talking about?

Fiorina keeps referencing "building up the sixth fleet" because presumably it sounds like some important walk-and-talk dialogue in the West Wing, but it actually makes no sense. Several experts have chimed in on this strange refrain and pointed out that it's basically nonsense. As military magazine Stars and Stripes noted:

"Her meaning wasn’t immediately clear—the U.S. 6th Fleet is less a collection of ships than a command structure for operating American warships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Moreover, the fleet is one of the few growing military commands in Europe. It is building land-based missile interceptor sites in Romania and Poland and in the coming days it will welcome the last of four guided-missile destroyers to arrive for permanent stationing in Rota, Spain."

10. Several candidates keep claiming the Iran deal "gives $150 billion to Iran."

As the LA Times notes, it's not "giving" $150 billion to Iran, it's relieving sanctions that will ultimately unfreeze more than $150 billion in assets to Iran, but the funds were already Iran's to begin with. No one is "giving" Iran anything.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Trump Says EPA Regulations Are Ruining His Hair

The Video Climate Deniers Don’t Want You to See

‘Bernie Blackout’: 81 Media Minutes on Trump = 1 Minute on Sanders

Ted Cruz Offers Al Gore Some ‘Inconvenient Truths’ in Most Outrageous Climate Denier Stunt Yet

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new report spotlights a U.N. estimate that at least 275 million people rely on healthy coral reefs. A sea turtle near the Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef is seen above. THE OCEAN AGENCY / XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY

By Jessica Corbett

In a new report about how the world's coral reefs face "the combined threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing" — endangering the future of marine biodiversity — a London-based nonprofit calls for greater global efforts to end the climate crisis and ensure the survival of these vital underwater ecosystems.

Read More
Half of the extracted resources used were sand, clay, gravel and cement, seen above, for building, along with the other minerals that produce fertilizer. Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

The world is using up more and more resources and global recycling is falling. That's the grim takeaway from a new report by the Circle Economy think tank, which found that the world used up more than 110 billion tons, or 100.6 billion metric tons, of natural resources, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Read More
Sponsored

By Gero Rueter

Heating with coal, oil and natural gas accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. But that's something we can change, says Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute in the western German city of Darmstadt.

Read More
Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016. Markus Spiske / Unsplash

By George Citroner

  • Recent research finds that official government figures may be underestimating drug deaths by half.
  • Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016.
  • Drug use decreases life expectancy after age 15 by 1.4 years for men and by just under 1 year for women, on average.

Government records may be severely underreporting how many Americans die from drug use, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University.

Read More
Water coolers in front of shut-off water fountains at Center School in Stow, MA on Sept. 4, 2019 after elevated levels of PFAS were found in the water. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In a new nationwide assessment of drinking water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are far more prevalent than previously thought.

Read More