President Trump ripped into fact-checkers as “some of the most dishonest people in media” at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night.
“Where are the fact-checkers? Some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called ‘fact-checkers,’ ” the president said, echoing a tweet earlier in the day in which he praised a Fox News segment that accused media fact-checkers of “lying” to the public while becoming “fake news.”
“Fact checkers have become Fake News.” @JesseBWatters So True!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2019
Trump also pushed back against statistics and official statements from El Paso city authorities that crime did not go down with the construction of a border fence in the border city.
“I don’t care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat—they’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference,” Trump said at the El Paso County Coliseum.
“I heard the same thing from the fake news,” the president said. “They said, ‘Oh, crime actually stayed the same.’ Didn’t stay the same. Went way down.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 12, 2019
In his State of the Union address last week, Trump claimed that El Paso was an example that “walls work and walls save lives. The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime—one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities,” Trump said. “Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”
However, FBI crime data shows that El Paso has not been “one of our nation’s most dangerous cities,” but rather, had significantly lower crime rates from 1985 to 2014 than cities of similar sizes, according to a Politifact fact check. In fact, the violent crime rate increased 3.2 percent from 2007, the year before fence construction began, to 2011, Politifact noted, citing FBI Uniform Crime reporting data.
In response to Trump’s false claims, El Paso County passed a resolution on Monday stating that Trump had “falsely stated that El Paso was one of the most dangerous cities in the United States until the construction of border fencing. El Paso’s violent crime rate dropped 62 percent from its peak in 1993 to 2007, a year before constriction on the fence began,” the resolution read.
“Though it is difficult to welcome him to El Paso while he continues to proliferate such untruths, we do welcome him to meet with local officials to become properly informed about our great and safe region,” the resolution added.
Trump insisted that those facts were fake news as he worked to convince his supporters that he was right.
“These people, you know you’d think they’d want to get to the bottom of a problem and solve a problem. Not try and pull the wool over everybody’s eyes,” Trump said. “So for those few people that are out there on television, saying, ‘Oh, it didn’t make too much of a difference.’ It made a tremendous—people from El Paso, am I right?”
"Some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called fact-checkers," Trump said last night.
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) February 12, 2019
Trump’s supporters cheered as he said, “It’s just fake news,” reports Newsweek.
“It’s like, it’s obvious. It’s common sense.” he continued. “Just a few thousand feet, as an example from where we stand right now on the other side of the border, it’s one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Juarez, Mexico.”
On Sunday, The Washington Post fact-checker introduced “the Bottomless Pinocchio,” a rating inspired by President Trump to more accurately rate politicians “who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.”
“Trump’s willingness to constantly repeat false claims has posed a unique challenge to fact-checkers,” the Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote. “Most politicians quickly drop a Four-Pinocchio claim, either out of a duty to be accurate or concern that spreading false information could be politically damaging.”