PolitiFact Florida’s Top 5 fact-checks for July 2015
In July, Donald Trump surged in the polls over his rivals in the GOP presidential field, including former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Here are our Top 5 reports, counting down to the most popular:
Continuing his effort to confront Bush over illegal immigration, Trump said in a speech in Phoenix that "the polls just came out, and I'm tied with Jeb Bush. And I said, oh, that's too bad, how can I be tied with this guy? He's terrible. He's terrible. He's weak on immigration. You know, the sanctuary cities, do you know he had five of them in Florida while he was governor? Can you believe this? I didn't know that."
So-called sanctuary cities -- where local police generally don’t alert federal officials to illegal immigrants -- drew attention after the murder of a woman in San Francisco by a man who had previously been deported multiple times. But there’s no legal definition of a sanctuary city, and therefore no official classification. A federal report from 2006, when Bush was governor, didn’t name any Florida cities. We found one list on the Internet that claimed five Florida locations as current sanctuary cities, but the supporting evidence was virtually nonexistent. We rated Trump’s statement False.
Trump’s controversial campaign could just be a ruse to sabotage the GOP, Curbelo said. After all, the billionaire is so friendly with Hillary Clinton that Trump invited her to his nuptials.
"I think there's a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate," Curbelo told Miami radio host Roberto Rodríguez Tejera. "Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons' foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious."
Bill Clinton only made the reception, but Hillary Clinton did have a seat in the first row at the church in 2005, when Trump got married for the third time. We rated this statement True.
A day after visiting the border in Laredo, Texas, Trump said on MSNBC that "I don't think the 11 million -- which is a number you have been hearing for many many years, I've been hearing that number for five years -- I don't think that is an accurate number anymore. I am now hearing it's 30 million, it could be 34 million, which is a much bigger problem."
The Department of Homeland Security says the number of illegal immigrants was about 11.4 million as of January 2012. Other independent groups that research illegal immigration put the number in the same ballpark. Trump has provided no proof that the number of illegal immigrants is triple the widespread consensus. We rated this claim Pants on Fire.
2. Rubio says that, according to the Iran deal, "if any other country tries to undermine (Iran's) nuclear program, we have to help them defend themselves against Israel, Egypt, Saudis, our own allies."
Rubio has repeatedly criticized the Iran deal negotiated by six major powers including the U.S. in July, with the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining or developing a nuclear bomb.
On Fox News, Rubio said, "At the last minute, they were able to get all sorts of outrageous concessions including the concession that I talked about earlier which now says this: Iran, we have to help Iran protect itself against sabotage. If any other country tries to undermine their nuclear program, we have to help them defend themselves against Israel, Egypt, Saudis, our own allies."
Rubio was referring to a provision that the U.S. and other partners are prepared where "appropriate" to cooperate with training to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage. But nothing in the agreement says the United States will "have to" offer assistance, as Rubio put it; the language of the provision offers significant wiggle room surrounding who, if anyone, might provide such assistance. We rated the claim False.
The Department of Defense issued a directive, not a law, in 1992 -- when Bush’s father was president. It did not ban firearms outright; it limited them to military personnel who held certain jobs, such as positions in law enforcement. And while the Army issued a regulation implementing that directive in 1993 -- two months after Clinton was in office -- experts say it is not the sort of matter that would typically rise to the attention of a president.
Bush has a point that, for the most part, military personnel can’t have firearms at recruiting offices. But most of everything else he said was incorrect. We rated this claim Mostly False.
And before we sign off ...
One final note: Some of our older fact-checks and articles were also popular, including our tracking of Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s broken promise to require drug testing for welfare recipients, our 2013 fact-check of a statistic about black-on-black murders (see our May 2015 update about that) and a claim in a chain email that illegal immigrants are covered under the health care law which we rated Pants on Fire.