Almost everyone rightly criticized President Donald Trump’s Tuesday prime-time speech pushing for a U.S.-Mexico border wall for its numerous lies and misrepresentations. Surprisingly, included in those critical of Trump’s speech were news commentators on Fox News.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith immediately and ruthlessly challenged many of Trump’s false claims, using the government’s own numbers to do it.
For example, after Trump stated that “innocent people” are being “horribly victimized” by immigrants who commit crimes, Smith quickly commented that these conclusions were not supportable, saying:
“The government’s statistics show that there is less violent crime by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population.”
Trump also tried to justify his wall by maintaining that many illegal immigrants carry contraband such as drugs across the Mexican border, but Smith pointed out that a wall would not even help the drug smuggling problem. He said:
“Government statistics show much of the heroin actually comes not over the unguarded border but through ports of call.”
Then Smith continued his brutal fact-check of Trump by saying:
“He talks about undocumented crossings over the past months. In fact, the number of undocumented crossings over the southern border has been steadily down over the last 10 years and the government reports that there is more outward traffic than inward traffic.”
Smith also disputed claims by Trump and other administration officials that Mexico will pay for the wall through the revised Mexican trade deal of course, that is ludicrous, as private trade doesn’t pay for government construction projects.
The wall will have to be funded through government appropriations one way or another, and Trump has not figured out how to do that. It is not clear that he even knows how government works.
Trump’s speech was all about bluster and trying to fool enough of his base of supporters to generate public support for his misguided border wall project. But this is not likely to happen. Trump’s speech was a total fail.
Luckily both Congressional Democratic Leaders, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, were able to make televised responses to the President’s speech. They immediately pronounced Trump to be a liar and made clear that Americans should not believe a word he said.
When even Fox News calls out the president for spreading misinformation about immigration and border security you know has a big problem. And it’s not clear that he has any idea how to resolve it, so it’s likely his politically damaging government shutdown will continue for a good while longer.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.