Fact Checking the First GOP Debate

Fact Checking the First GOP Debate



It was falsely stated by DeSantis, Scott, and Hutchinson that Democrats are in favor of abortion rights “up until the moment of birth,” as DeSantis phrased it. It is unverified that Pence’s claim that a fetus is “capable of feeling pain” at 15 weeks of gestation is accurate.

Let’s begin with the initial assertion. Democrats in Congress, as we have previously stated, are in favor of legislation that would prevent states from outlawing abortion in situations where the patient’s life or health is in jeopardy once the fetus is viable outside the womb. Republicans argue that the bill would permit abortion on demand at any stage of a pregnancy, and they oppose the health exception.

“Republicans view those health exceptions as sort of like a blanket permission to have an abortion whenever you want,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis and the author of six books on the abortion debate and the law. “It’s an exception for life or health,” claim Democrats.

Claiming that President Joe Biden was “pushing for a Democrat proposal which is, in essence, abortion on demand through the term,” Hutchinson specifically targeted the president. Thus, they hold an extreme stance on a national scale. However, the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill currently in Congress, allows exceptions for the mother’s life and health after viability, mirroring the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling of the Supreme Court.

According to the court’s ruling in the Roe v. Wade case, the government may limit or outright forbid abortions after a fetus is viable outside of the womb, but it cannot interfere with an abortion rights during the first trimester. However, Roe and a related case decided that same day necessitated exceptions after viability for the mother’s life and health, which includes both her physical and mental well-being.

It is important to remember that early in pregnancy is when most abortions in the United States take place. Less than 1% of abortions were carried out at or after 21 weeks of gestation, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 93.1% of procedures occurring at or before 13 weeks.

Three states, according to Scott: Illinois, California, and New York, “have abortions on demand up until the day of birth.” According to the Guttmacher Institute, those states forbid abortions after viability but allow exceptions if the mother’s life or health is in danger. Additionally, New York permits an exemption for fetal abnormalities.

Regarding Pence, he stated: “Is it not possible for every state in the country to have a minimum standard that prohibits abortions when a baby is capable of feeling pain? The time for a 15-week prohibition has come. Seventy percent of Americans support it. “70% of Americans support legislation to ban abortion after a baby is capable of” he continued feeling hurt.

The poll that Pence mentioned was not available. According to a May Gallup poll, 70% of Americans are against third-trimester abortions, but those can only happen up until 28 weeks. In a similar vein, a June Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey revealed that roughly two thirds of Americans agreed that abortion should be prohibited beyond 24 weeks.

In 2015, we looked into the topic of fetal pain and discovered that it was a complex matter, with no clear cut threshold for a growing fetus to experience pain. Republicans at the time claimed that a fetus could feel pain as early as 20 weeks, but the majority of published research indicated that this was not possible until later.

The concept of pain, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, doesn’t emerge until several weeks later. On its website, ACOG states that “the science conclusively establishes that a human fetus does not have the capacity to experience pain until after at least 24–25 weeks.” “Every significant medical organization that has looked into this matter and peer-reviewed research on the subject has consistently concluded that a fetus aborted before this point does not experience pain.”

Mental Health and Violent Crime

Ramaswamy asserted without proof that the U.S. started closing mental institutions in the 1950s and that this led to an increase in violent crime.

Additionally, there is a mental health epidemic in our nation. Violent crime has increased around the same time that we have closed mental health facilities, he claimed. Do we possess the backbone to rescue them? As president, I will do as I believe we should.

He went on, “But it’s not just dosing people up with Zoloft and Seroquel in those mental institutions.” We will support the police because we have a clear understanding of our true selves. And that’s also how we deal with the epidemic of mental illness in the younger generation, which is a direct cause of violent crime.

As we have previously stated, individuals with severe mental illnesses are more prone to violence than those without such conditions. However, the great majority of these people never use violence, and the majority of violent crimes are committed by non-psychiatric individuals.

It’s untrue that a significant portion of acts of community violence are perpetrated by individuals suffering from mental illness, as clarified by the American Psychological Association.

People with mental illnesses who are violent frequently also struggle with substance abuse or other problems that raise their risk of violence; these are factors that also affect people without mental illnesses. One study found that mental illness alone accounts for only 3% to 5% of all violent crimes.

According to experts, violent behavior—rather than any kind of diagnosis—is the best indicator of violence.

It’s important to remember that violent crime in the United States is currently at a historically low level. The rate of violent crime has decreased to almost half of what it was in the early 1990s, according to the most recent data, which is from 2021.

Ramaswamy’s Proposal on Military Aid for Israel

Haley pressed Ramaswamy on his plan to reduce military aid to Israel, as was to be expected, asserting that he would “stop funding Israel.”

Claiming it to be “false,” Ramaswamy refuted the assertion and charged Haley with lying. In response to questions, the candidate stated that he would carry out the 2016 agreement’s requirement to extend prior aid packages through 2028. It gives the Jewish state $3.8 billion a year.

According to Ramaswamy, he intends to mediate a settlement that would restore peace between Israel and a few of its neighbors, thereby eliminating the need for the United States to provide military assistance to the nation.

Referencing diplomatic accords signed in 2020 and 2021 between Israel and four Arab nations—Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, and Morocco—he has dubbed the plan “Abraham Accords 2.0.”

Ramaswamy stated to actor-turned-conservative commentator Russell Brand, “I want to get Israel to the place where it is negotiated back into the infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East,” during the August 11 episode of Brand’s Rumble program. “That’s beneficial for Israel, beneficial for the Middle East, beneficial for us, so that by 2028, we won’t need further aid.”

Naturally, there are many obstacles in the way of Ramaswamy’s plan coming to fruition, and conservative pundits have attacked it. “Foreign aid to Israel isn’t a mere charity; it’s a strategic investment,” read a recent National Review column denouncing the candidate’s foreign policy ideas.

Likewise, Mark Levin, a conservative radio host, responded to Ramaswamy in a lengthy post on X, the former Twitter platform. Part of what he said was, “Israel is an ally in a very dangerous part of the world.” Israel is necessary to balance out Iran, Syria, terrorist groups, and other threats.

It’s also important to note that Ramaswamy has changed his platform from his earlier campaign this year to this one.

He echoed the National Review and Levin, two prominent conservative think tanks, in May. “Our interests are what guide me to be an unapologetic supporter of Israel,” he said in response to a New Hampshire voter who inquired about treating Israel like an apartheid state and cutting off military aid. For the past 40 to 50 years, Israel has been our most dependable ally in a region of the world where there aren’t many trustworthy allies.

Additionally, in response to a general question about Ramaswamy’s views on Israel posed by an Iowa voter in February, Ramaswamy stated that he supported “a policy that still stands with Israel in the Middle East,” but he then brought up US military assistance to Ukraine and recommended that the country concentrate on internal matters.

Thus, Ramaswamy’s position on aid for Israel has changed throughout the year, but what Haley stated wasn’t precisely what Ramaswamy has suggested.

Climate Change

Host Martha MacCallum asked for a show of hands early in the debate to determine who thought that human behavior was causing climate change. DeSantis avoided the answer by requesting a debate instead of a show of hands.

Falsely claiming that “actual climate change” causes fewer deaths than “the climate change agenda,” Ramaswamy responded.

Ramaswamy: The climate change agenda is a hoax, and I can say this because I’m the only person on stage who isn’t bought and paid for. The anti-carbon agenda is actually a damp blanket on our economy. In actuality, therefore, more people are dying as a result of poor climate change policies than from actual climate change.

The truth is that climate scientists have long since determined that the main driver of global warming is human activity. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared that there is “unequivocal” evidence that humans are causing global warming in both its 2007 and most recent report, which was released last year.

“Aside from temperature, other clearly discernible, human-induced changes beyond natural variations include thawing of permafrost, a strengthening of the global water cycle, and declines in Arctic Sea ice and glaciers,” the IPCC stated in a recent report.

Rising sea levels, acidification, deoxygenation, and shifting salinity are examples of oceanic changes. In recent times, there has been a rise in the frequency and severity of hot extremes over land, while there has been a decrease in the frequency of cold extremes. Additionally, there has been a parallel increase in the occurrence of weather conditions that encourage wildfires and a decrease in the amount of water available during dry seasons.

Although the World Health Organization claims that “climate change is already killing us,” we are not aware of any deaths brought on by “bad climate change policies.” Climate change is “the single biggest health threat facing humanity,” according to the WHO.

The WHO predicted in a fact sheet that between 2030 and 2050, “malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress” will account for about 250,000 additional deaths annually due to climate change. “Climate change is already impacting health in a myriad of ways, including by leading to death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms, and floods, the disruption of food systems, an increase in zoonoses and food-, water-, and vector-borne diseases, and mental health issues,” the WHO said in a fact sheet.

The U.S. Department of Defense and its military authorities have issued warnings about the threat that climate change poses to national security as we have written. Gen.

In 2020, Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Biden and Trump, stated in testimony before a House committee that climate change will result in a rise in illnesses, instability, and the depletion of natural resources. Does it affect national security in the United States? It does, he replied.

Haley responded by stating that while climate change is real, “where our problem is” is in China and India, not the United States.

However, the United States emits more carbon dioxide overall and per person than both India and Pakistan combined.

The world’s biggest CO2 emitters in 2021 were “China, the United States, the EU27, India, Russia, and Japan,” in that order, accounting for 67.8% of global CO2 emissions, according to the European Commission’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research. In terms of emissions per person, the United States came in ahead of China and India. China and India had average emissions of 8.73 and 1.90 tons per person, respectively, while the United States had an average of 14.24 tons per person.

Illegal Immigration

Pence falsely stated that “illegal immigration and asylum abuse were reduced by 90%” during the Trump/Pence administration.

Pence has asserted this several times. Apprehensions at the southern border actually increased during Trump’s whole presidency, as we have previously reported. When comparing Trump’s last year in office to the last full year prior to his inauguration, they increased by 14.7%.

When comparing the first year of Trump’s presidency to 2016, the year before he took office, there was a 43% drop in arrests. However, the number of arrests started to increase in 2018 and 2019.

When PolitiFact examined this claim in 2022, they discovered that Pence could make a claim for roughly a 90% reduction if he used May 2019—the month during the administration with the highest number of apprehensions—and April 2020—the month with the lowest number. That, however, obviously does not represent the administration’s entire tenure.

Regarding “asylum abuse,” that’s probably a reference to Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program and restrictions on who is eligible for asylum. While their claims were being processed by immigration courts, the program returned non-Mexicans who had crossed the southern border in search of asylum.

DOJ Did Not Call Parents ‘Domestic Terrorists’

Scott claimed that the people no longer trusted the legal system and that, should he be elected president, he would fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland right away. During his speech, Scott brought up a disingenuous Republican talking point regarding the Department of Justice’s designation of parents who attend school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.”

Garland stated in testimony before Congress, as we have written, that he was unable to “imagine a circumstance” in which “parents complaining” at a school board meeting would be “labeled as domestic terrorism.”

It is true that the National School Boards Association warned the White House in a letter dated September 29, 2021, about an increase in threats and violent crimes against public school board members and other district officials. The primary concerns were related to mask mandates and “propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.” Some violent threats against school officials, according to the NSBA, “may be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism” and call for federal law enforcement to get involved.

Garland responded by ordering his agency to examine tactics for dealing with threats and harassment of violence directed at school boards. However, he refrained from using the NSBA’s derogatory term “terrorism,” for which the organization later issued an apology.

On October 21, 2021, Garland testified repeatedly before a congressional oversight committee that he believed parents’ concerns voiced at school board meetings were protected by the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

“I don’t think parents who speak out, debate, testify, or voice concerns about school boards and schools should be labeled as domestic terrorists or criminals of any kind,” Garland stated.

Since school boards and public education existed, parents have been complaining about both their children’s education and the school system. The First Amendment provides complete protection for this. You make a valid point that the First Amendment does not protect actual threats of violence. These are the issues that are concerning us.

Crime in Florida

DeSantis boasted that “crime is at a 50-year low in Florida” in response to a question concerning his anti-crime initiatives.

However, as we’ve already mentioned, experts advise against extrapolating too much from the 2021 data because a substantial change in the reporting format occurred that year, and a large portion of Florida’s law enforcement community had not yet adopted the new format.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that, including violent and property crimes, the state’s overall crime rate in 2021 was 1,952.3 crimes per 100,000 residents, a decrease of approximately 9.5% from the rate in 2020. DeSantis began his tenure in January 2019.

The state’s statistics show that the overall crime rate for 2021 was the lowest since 1971. According to DeSantis, that would make it the lowest overall crime rate in at least the previous 50 years.

But over the past thirty years, the rate has been continuously falling. Since 2008, the state has actually seen its lowest crime rate ever, even during DeSantis’ first two years in office.

Data specialists also warn that a significant caveat with the 2021 data makes it dangerous to compare it to earlier years.

.. The FBI changed its approach to reporting crime data in 2021. Rather than using a “summary-based” approach, which reports only the most serious crimes in an incident—even when multiple crimes may have been committed—it now uses a “incident-based” approach.

In Florida, 239 law enforcement organizations, or 57.5% of the state’s total population, filed data in 2021 based on the outdated, summary-based crime statistics. Furthermore, 140 law enforcement agencies were in the process of making the switch to incident-based crime reporting, while 29 agencies had already made the switch.

“More robust and dynamic crime reporting” will be possible, according to the FDLE, with the new incident-based reporting method. However, comparisons with prior years may be distorted until data is gathered consistently.

Richard B. Rosenfeld, an emeritus professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told the Tampa Bay Times in December that the data “should be treated with some caution.”

Trump and the 14th Amendment

Asa Hutchinson and Chris Christie were the only candidates who did not raise their hands when host Bret Baier asked them if they would still support Donald Trump as the GOP nominee if he was found guilty of a crime.

Hutchinson stated that he did not put up his hand because he felt that Trump was “morally disqualified” from serving as president once more due to his involvement in the attack on the US Capitol in January 2021. As a result of the uprising, Hutchinson added, some “conservative legal scholars say he may be disqualified under the 14th Amendment from being president again.”mber.

According to an article published in Forbes this week, conservative legal experts William Baude, Michael Stokes Paulsen, Steven Calabresi, and J. Michael Luttig have written that Trump may be ineligible for office under the 14th Amendment. Section 3 of the Amendment states that “no person shall… hold any office” in the federal or state government if they have taken an oath of office and “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States “or given aid or comfort to its enemies.”

For instance, Baude and Paulsen contended that Section 3 is “self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office” and does not need further action from Congress in a future law review article that is currently available as a preprint.

“Any state or federal official who judges qualifications can and should enforce it,” they wrote. It encompasses a wide range of previous positions, including the White House. Specifically, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump as well as possibly a large number of others due to their involvement in the effort to rig the 2020 presidential election.

However, as Forbes also noted, not all legal scholars are in agreement.

Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman contended that, in contrast to Baude and Paulsen’s writing, an 1869 circuit court ruling stated that Section 3 was “not automatically enforceable” in the absence of congressional action.

Concerning “too loose an interpretation” of Section 3, Michael McConnell of Stanford Law also expressed concern that it might give “partisan politicians such as state Secretaries of State the ability to disqualify their political opponents from the ballot, depriving voters of the ability to elect candidates of their choice.”

Critical Race Theory

DeSantis declared that the federal Department of Education should be abolished if elected president, claiming that the American educational system is in “decline.”

DeSantis claimed that “in Florida we eliminated critical race theory from our K through 12 schools,” and he asserted that schools should prioritize “solid academics” over “indoctrination.” But there wasn’t really anything to eliminate, as we noted when DeSantis asserted something similar in a speech announcing his presidential bid.

DeSantis signed the Individual Freedom Act into law in April 2022, prohibiting instructors in the Florida College System and public school educators from promoting the idea that “a person is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” based solely on the identity of their race, color, national origin, or sex.

In actuality, the term “critical race theory” is not mentioned.

Professor of law Derrick Bell began teaching advanced legal theory, or critical race theory, at Harvard University in the 1980s. It acknowledges the existence of institutional racism and the need for greater understanding of it in order to combat racial inequality. The term “critical race theory” has been attributed to Kimberlé Crenshaw, a Columbia University law professor and former Harvard law student.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson described CRT as “an academic theory that’s at the law school level” during her Senate confirmation hearings. The majority of educators claim that critical race theory is not taught in K–12 classrooms. Ninety-six percent of educators surveyed in 2021 by the Association of American Educators stated they were not required to teach it.

UCLA education researchers stated that critical race theory is not taught in K–12 schools in a 2022 report on state efforts to outlaw it in public schools. According to them, conservative activists have appropriated the term “critical race theory” in an attempt “to restrict or ‘ban’ curriculum, lessons, professional development, and district equity and diversity efforts addressing… race, racism, diversity, and inclusion.”

Fact Checking the First GOP Debate

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