Fact check: Donald Trump correctly described Seattle’s heroin problem and the percentage of Washington Latino children in low-income homes during his rally Tuesday in Everett. But he also told a couple of whoppers.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke in Everett on Tuesday night, attacking Democrat Hillary Clinton and making claims about Syrian refugees, heroin deaths and the Iraq war, among other subjects.
Here’s a fact check of some of those statements:
What Trump said: “This really has to do with people coming into our country that can’t be properly vetted. We have no idea where they’re coming from. There is no paperwork.”
Fact check: Trump’s suggestion that there is no paperwork or serious vetting of Syrian refugees is false.
The refugee-screening process can take two years and includes in-person interviews, database searches, fingerprinting and other measures. Syrian refugees are singled out for even tougher screening, including iris (eye) scans.
The screening starts with the United Nations refugee agency, which forwards only a tiny fraction of applicants to the U.S. for additional review.
“The significant amount of paperwork that it takes for a refugee to be settled in the United States is daunting,” said Sarah Peterson, Washington state’s refugee coordinator. “There are tremendous paper trails.”
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Washington has welcomed 116 Syrian refugees between October 2015 and July.
PolitiFact, the nonpartisan fact-checking organization, has dinged Trump for making similarly inaccurate claims in previous speeches.
However, PolitiFact has noted that law-enforcement officials, including FBI Director James Comey, have expressed concern over potential data gaps with refugees from Syria and other conflict zones.
Seattle heroin deaths
What Trump said: “The Seattle area recently experienced the largest number of heroin-related deaths, think of it, in 20 years. The largest number in 20 years. It’s getting worse. It’s getting horrific.”
Fact check: Trump was basically correct here.
Public-health officials reported a close-to 60 percent spike in fatal heroin overdoses in King County in 2014 — the steepest increase in 17 years.
Heroin-related deaths declined by 15 percent from that peak last year, but health officials said the problem remained severe.
Poverty and race
What Trump said: As part of a riff arguing that Democrats have failed minority communities, Trump got local with one statistic. He said: “Here in the state of Washington, 65 percent of Latino children and 60 percent of African-American children live in low-income households.”
Fact check: As of a few years ago at least, Trump’s statistics were accurate. The liberal Washington Budget and Policy Center cited those figures in a poverty fact sheet released in 2014.
What Trump said: Seeking to contrast his judgment with Clinton’s, Trump said the former secretary of state had made “one bad foreign- policy decision after another, beginning with her support for going to war in Iraq in the first place — which I opposed.”
Fact check: Trump has repeatedly claimed he was a farseeing oracle who opposed the Iraq war from the get-go. But it’s not true.
As several fact-checking organizations have pointed out, there is no evidence Trump opposed the war before it started. In September 2002, he told radio host Howard Stern he supported invading Iraq. It was only after the war was under way that Trump started criticizing it.
Trump is correct that Clinton, while in the U.S. Senate, voted to authorize the war in 2002 — a stand she later said was “a mistake.”
What Trump said: As he has all election season, Trump bragged about the size of the crowd at his rally, claiming “We set the record for attendance tonight” at the Xfinity Arena.
Fact check: He may have been right about that.
Due to lengthy security lines, the arena was not actually entirely full when Trump started speaking. Some upper-deck sections had empty seats even as people waited to be let in.
Arena staff counted 9,184 people entering the arena, said Rick Comeau, the arena’s general manager. Its total capacity, as configured for the rally, was 10,500.
Comeau couldn’t think of a bigger event at the facility, which opened in 2003. Some concerts have hit the high 8,000s, maybe even 9,000.
Those events typically have smaller capacities due to larger stages. Still, he said the Trump rally “was for sure one of our largest one-day events in the history of this facility.”