Defending his decision to ban refugees and entry of citizens from seven Muslim majority countries, US President Donald Trump during a rally in Florida on Saturday stated how devastating the ‘event of Friday night’ had been in Sweden; all because of the country’s liberal policies on refugees.
There was one glitch in the statement though – ‘that event of Friday night’ had never happened!
A confused Swedish government then asked the US State Department to explain what the President meant. News reports then went on to cite official statistics which showed that Sweden’s crime rate had, in fact, fallen since 2005.
But the apparent gaffe is nothing new for Trump. His four weeks in the Oval has been bizarre and full of chaos and absurdities. He has battled the court over the controversial ban, waged war on media, strained diplomatic ties and lost his national security advisor.
But what has truly been remarkable is the series of false assertions and bogus claims he has made to support his decisions. Or as Trump’s aide Kellayanne Conway would like to put it – Trump’s rhetoric has been filled with ‘alternative facts’.
Just last week in a press conference, Trump made a claim that he won the most electoral college votes since Ronald Reagan. Only that he did not. When a reporter pointed out that this was not true, the President went on to insist that he had meant the ‘biggest victory on the Republican side’. But when the reporter again pointed out that this was also not true, Trump simply replied he had been ‘given the information’.
Even before he took oath, angered by demands for a recount in the three states that gave him an electoral college victory, President-elect Donald Trump made a bold but unsubstantiated assertion in a tweet — that ‘millions of people’ voted illegally in the presidential election. The bogus claim drew criticisms from many corners with Federal Election Commission asking him to produce evidences.
To support his ban, Trump also said that the murder rate in the US had been the highest in 47 years. It was again found to be untrue.
But it is not just Trump who has retorted to false claims to support his decisions. Earlier this month, a senior White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, was criticized for citing a ‘Bowling Green massacre’ that had not occurred. Conway cited the ‘massacre’ as justification for a travel and immigration ban. She later clarified that she was referring to the 2011 arrest of Two Iraqi refugees in Bowling Green.
In light of the recent development, many have started questioning where Trump gets his information from. Many are amused as to how a President could act/speak so easily on unverified news. Trump has shown to be erratic and intellectually un-curious. In this regards, even the most talented team managing the most rigorous, well-run process can’t make up for the fact that Trump is Trump; he will not change. The world will just wait and have to see how many more bogus claims and false assertions he will throw in the future to show that his government is indeed running like a ‘fine-tuned machine’, as he claimed!