Trump sparks outrage as fact checker spots at least 23 lies in ex-president’s CPAC speech

Donald Trump made at least 23 false statements during his CPAC speech over the weekend, a fact check has found.

CNN’s Daniel Dale noted that this was “far from the total,” adding that the speech was full of “wildly inaccurate claims”.

Mr Trump said that “killings are taking place at a number like nobody’s ever seen, right in Manhattan”.

According to the New York Police Department, there were 43 reported murders in the Manhattan North region last year, compared to 379 in 1990 and 306 in 1993.

In the Manhattan South Region, there were 35 murders last year, compared to 124 in 1990 and 86 in 1993.

There were 438 reported murders in New York City in 2022, while there were 2,262 in 1990 and 1,927 in 1993, making Mr Trump’s claim far from accurate.

Mr Trump spoke of the racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer in 2020, adding that he was ready to send in the National Guard to Seattle, where demonstrations were also taking place.

“We saved Minneapolis,” he claimed. “The thing is, we’re not supposed to do that. Because it’s up to the governor, the Democrat governor. They never want any help. They don’t mind – it’s almost like they don’t mind to have their cities and states destroyed. There’s something wrong with these people.”

In fact, it was Minnesota Governor Tim Walz who sent in the Guard in 2020, over seven hours before Mr Trump threatened to do so, according to CNN. That year, the office of Mr Walz told the network that the guard was sent in following requests from the Democratic-led cities of Minneapolis and St Paul.

Mr Trump also claimed that he took action to stop the destruction of statues and memorials.

“I passed and signed an executive order. Anybody that does that gets 10 years in jail, with no negotiation – it’s not ’10’ but it turns into three months.”

“But we passed it. It was a very old law, and we found it – one of my very good legal people along with Stephen Miller, they found it,” Mr Trump said. They said, ‘Sir, I don’t know if you want to try and bring this back.’ I said. ‘I do.’”

In reality, the executive order didn’t mandate any raises in sentences but instead directed the Attorney General to “prioritize” investigations of such cases and said it was federal policy to prosecute the cases to the fullest extent of the law, including a law allowing up to ten years in prison for willful destruction of federal property. But the order didn’t force judges to hand down decade-long sentences.

“How’s Portland doing? They don’t even have storefronts anymore. Everything’s two-by-four’s because they get burned down every week,” Mr Trump claims.

CNN called this a “major exaggeration”.

“I was also the only president where Russia didn’t take over a country during my term,” the former president claimed.

Speaking of NATO funding, Mr Trump said he “told delinquent foreign nations – they were delinquent, they weren’t paying their bills – that if they wanted our protection, they had to pay up, and they had to pay up now”.

NATO countries have been paying their bills to run the organisation, but some haven’t reached the goal of spending two per cent of GDP on defence. But this is a guideline, not a requirement to be a part of NATO.

In 2014, NATO said members not at the threshold would “aim to move towards the two per cent guideline within a decade”.

The NATO website states that last year was “the eighth consecutive year of rising defence spending across European Allies and Canada”.

“Actually, NATO wouldn’t even exist if I didn’t get them to pay up,” Mr Trump said in a claim CNN simply called “nonsense”.

Mr Trump has previously made similarly wrong claims about the HQ. NATO told CNN in 2020 that it was built under the budget of €1.18bn ($1.3bn).

Mr Trump also made false claims about the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Obama White House and its relationship to Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s relations to the country, his own job creation record, his tariffs on China, the 2020 election, ISIS, Afghanistan, the border wall, and deportations to Latin America, among a litany of other issues.

Twitter users were quick to blast Mr Trump’s speech.

Legal Affairs Editor at Condé Nast, Luke Zaleski, wrote that “Trump doesn’t want to be president. He wants revenge. He wants to vanquish the nation that rejected him”.

John Avlon said on CNN This Morning that looking at Mr Trump’s long CPAC speech and his posts on Truth Social, it appears that he’s “not well”.

He said there was a risk of “sleepwalking past these absurdities, these inanities, these divisive firebombs” while Don Lemon compared it to his 2017 inauguration speech “American Carnage,” adding that the speech was “depressing” and “low-energy”.

During his speech, Mr Trump said, “the Republican Party was ruled by freaks, neocons, open border zealots and fools. We’re never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush”.

Former Illinois GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger tweeted that Mr Trump was essentially telling Republicans to “sell your soul to me or lose your job”.

He called out members of House GOP leadership Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik, saying that “those who think Trump will organically go away are wrong. Speak out or own the damage you are doing to your country”.

Many Twitter user shared their anger at Mr Trump’s many falsehoods.

“What else did we expect? Liars are gonna lie!” one account holder said.

“As Steve Bannon advised Trump early on, flood the end zone with bulls***,” another added.

“If Trump’s mouth is moving, he’s lying,” a third said.

“When are we going to realize it’s not ‘wildly dishonest’ but ‘wildly insane’ instead,” a fourth said.