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Monday 22 July, 2024
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GOP debate fact check: A review of Republican candidates’ mistakes from the debate

BY Shahzad Saeed Aug 24, 2023. 06:51 pm UPDATED: Aug 24, 2023. 06:51 pm

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Tonight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the first debate between the leading Republican presidential candidates before the 2024 primary.

Due to former President Donald Trump’s decision to skip the debate, eight candidates—including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Trump’s former vice president Mike Pence—have participated. The other participants in the debate are North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, ex-Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

This fact check addresses some statements made on stage:

DoJ calls parents “domestic terrorists,” according to the claim

Sen. Tim Scott: “We continue to see the Department of Justice being used as a weapon not only against political opponents but also against parents who attend school board meetings. Their designation is “domestic terrorists.”

This is untrue and is a misrepresentation of the dialogue that started when an education organization wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland in September 2021 to ask for help with threats of violence against school officials.

The National School Boards Association wrote in their letter that some of the threats “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.” The group later apologized for their language.

Garland’s response omitted using that phrase.

Instead, he discussed the increase in intimidation, harassment, and violent threats against school officials and he instructed the FBI to consult with national authorities about how to handle these threats.

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Claim: Florida has the lowest crime rate in 50 years.

“Crime is at a 50-year low in Florida,” said Ron DeSantis.

This is misleading. DeSantis has made the claim in the past, but The Marshall Project, a news organization that specializes in criminal justice issues, contends that it is unsupported by enough evidence.

Over 40% of the state’s residents are monitored by law enforcement, but only about half of those organizations are included in Florida’s crime statistics. The state’s police forces were only represented in less than 10% of a federal crime database.

Miami, the state’s second-most populous city, has seen a drop in violent crime this year, with homicides dropping more than 30%, according to a local television news station.

According to Chris Christie’s claim, Hunter Biden was accused of a gun crime that had a mandatory minimum prison sentence of ten years.

Christie claimed during the debate that Hunter Biden had been charged with a gun offense that called for a ten-year minimum sentence in prison. This is untrue.

Hunter Biden was accused by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware of one count of unlawful possession of a handgun by a person barred in June. The president’s son was charged in October 2018 with carrying a handgun “knowing that he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance.”

The maximum sentence for Hunter Biden, according to the U.S. attorney’s office, is 10 years in prison, not just a few months.

Claim: Hutchinson reduced employment in Arkansas by 14%

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Asa Hutchinson: “After I left government, there were 14% fewer state employees in Arkansas than there were when I became governor eight years ago.”

Hutchinson has previously made a claim that is similar to this, but state statistics suggest that this isn’t entirely true. According to KARK-TV, he stated that he had cut the state’s executive workforce by 14% when he announced his candidacy for president in April.

According to a January article in the El Dorado News-Times, the executive branch of the state had about 3,000 fewer employees when he left office in 2023 than it had when he had taken it over in 2015.

According to the publication, there were 23,111 employees at the start of this year as opposed to 26,108 in 2015. However, rather than the 14% he claimed, that leads to a decrease of just over 11%.

Read more: Who is David Pakman?

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