Fox News Fact Checkers Work Overtime During Trump’s CPAC Speech

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, is an annual gathering of conservative activists and elected officials in the United States. This past weekend, former President Donald Trump delivered the keynote address, his first speech since leaving office.

During the address, Trump reiterated many of his past controversial claims about the 2020 election, leading to significant fact-checking efforts by major media outlets. Fox News, which has generally provided favorable coverage of Trump, nevertheless deployed its team of fact-checkers to scrutinize the former President’s statements, cut his speech airing short.

Overview of Trump’s Speech

Former President Trump asserted that he defeated ISIS in Iraq within four weeks of taking office, a claim not supported by facts. While ISIS lost control of territory during Trump’s term, the group was not defeated within four weeks. Trump also failed to acknowledge the groundwork laid by the Obama administration and Kurdish forces in pushing back ISIS.

Source: YouTube

In his speech, Trump harshly criticized the Biden administration, referring to Biden as “the crookedest, most incompetent president in the history of our country.” He accused Biden of threatening democracy and warned that “the worst is yet to come” under Biden’s leadership.

Portrayal as a “Dissident

Trump portrayed himself as a “proud political dissident” fighting against tyranny, inviting the audience to see him as an outsider battling the establishment. Framing himself this way allows Trump to tap into grievances against the government and position himself as the solution.

Source: Victor J. Blue

While not officially announcing a 2024 presidential run, Trump called on supporters to back him to “save” the country from Biden’s leadership. Imploring the audience to see him as the “ticket back to freedom,” Trump attempted to rally continued loyalty and reignite enthusiasm for his political ambitions after losing re-election.

Trump Repeats False Statements About the Iraq War

Despite years of fact-checking proving otherwise, former President Trump repeated the false claim that he had warned against invading Iraq prior to the 2003 war.

Source: Johan Charles Van Boers

According to analyses of Trump’s public statements, there is no evidence he publicly opposed the Iraq war before it began. In fact, Trump did not emerge as an explicit opponent of the war until 2004, after the invasion had already occurred.

Misleading Statements on Stock Market, Gas Prices and 2020 Election

During his speech, Trump made misleading statements regarding the stock market, gas prices and the 2020 election results. He claimed the stock market would crash if Biden won, yet it has reached record highs under Biden.

Source: X

He said gas prices were rising due to Biden’s policies, though global oil prices largely determine prices. He also repeated false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged,” though election officials and independent observers found no evidence the results were compromised.

Biden Labeled “Threat to Democracy” Despite No Evidence

Trump labeled Biden a “threat to democracy” and said “the worst is yet to come” under his presidency. However, Trump provided no evidence to support these claims. Biden and his administration have taken no discernable actions against democratic principles or institutions since taking office.

Source: Jim Watson

Trump’s statements appear to be part of a continuing strategy to undermine confidence in Biden and spread misinformation about his presidency without factual basis. The repeated false and misleading claims in Trump’s CPAC speech follow a pattern of dishonesty and disregard for facts established during his time in office.

Misleading Assertions About Germany and Russia

Trump criticized Germany for relying on Russian energy and claimed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline made Germany “totally reliant” on Russia. In reality, the pipeline never began operating. Germany halted the project in 2022 as Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine.

Source: Alexander Zemlianichenko

The pipeline was later damaged in an act of sabotage. While the pipeline demonstrated the dangers of Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, Trump’s specific claims were factually incorrect.

Trump Falsely Takes Credit for Stopping Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

Trump also dishonestly took credit for stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, claiming “I ended Nord Stream” and “I stopped it. It was over.”

Source: Sean Gallup

However, at the time of Trump’s presidency, the pipeline was still under construction and continued after his term ended. Trump placed sanctions on the pipeline but was unable to stop the project fully. His claims of ending Nord Stream 2 have been repeatedly proven false.

Overwhelming Support From Loyal Base

The reactions and responses from Trump’s base of supporters at CPAC were overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. According to reports, the crowd erupted into loud cheers and chants of “USA!” multiple times during Trump’s speech.

Source: Tom Fox

His most ardent supporters view him as a “proud political dissident” fighting against the tyranny of the Biden administration. For them, a vote for Trump represents a vote for freedom and an escape from Biden’s perceived failures.

Agreement With Trump’s Claims

Many Trump supporters at CPAC agreed with the former President’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen, that Biden is incompetent, and that Trump could solve the nation’s problems if returned to office.

Source: Ross D. Franklin

Trump’s assertions that he would seal the border, curb crime, and prevent foreign policy disasters resonated with supporters seeking simple solutions to complex issues. While fact-checkers worked to counter Trump’s dishonest statements, his base accepts his rhetoric at face value.

Distrust in Media and Government

Trump supporters’ belief in his unsubstantiated claims stems from a deep distrust in government institutions and the mainstream media. When news anchors fact-checked Trump’s speech, supporters likely viewed it as further evidence of bias and an attempt to undermine a leader fighting for their values.

Source: James Devaney / GC Images

For Trump’s base, his “persecution” at the hands of Democrats and the justice system only reinforces their view of him as a martyr for their cause. His warnings of tyranny and loss of freedom if Democrats remain in power continue to rally his most loyal supporters.

Ongoing Tensions Between Trump and Fact-Checking Organizations

His speech at the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference provided yet another opportunity for fact-checkers to identify inaccurate statements. Fox News, generally perceived as an ally of conservatives, took the unusual step of cutting away from live coverage of Trump’s South Carolina rally.

Source: Adobe Stock

Their anchor, Neil Cavuto, said, “Even though he’s entitled to his opinion, he’s not entitled to his own set of facts.” The former President repeatedly debunked claims about topics ranging from the stock market and gas prices to his warnings about the Iraq war.

Fact Checkers Work Overtime During Nearly Two-Hour Speech

According to a CNN fact check, Trump repeated more than a dozen previously debunked claims during his speech. For example, Trump again claimed that he had warned the U.S. not to invade Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion.

Source: Global Investigative Journalism Network

However, fact-checkers found no evidence to support this claim. Trump also gave himself undue credit for the defeat of ISIS, stating, “I knocked it out” in four weeks. In reality, ISIS’s so-called caliphate was not declared fully eliminated until 2019, more than two years into Trump’s term.

Trump’s History of Making False and Unsupported Statements

Donald Trump has a long history of making false or misleading statements at public speeches and rallies. According to various fact-checkers, Trump’s speeches and public addresses frequently contain inaccurate statements or claims that are not supported by evidence.

Source: Adobe Stock

The CPAC speech highlighted Trump’s approach of appealing to emotions over facts, according to some analyses. His rhetoric about dissidence, tyranny and loss of freedom aims to stir resentment and grievance among his base, even when not supported by evidence.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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