O’Rourke Twists Facts at Town Hall

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke twisted the facts on several topics, including immigration and gun control, during a CNN town hall.

  • O’Rourke incorrectly said Trump is “proposing to build a 2,000-mile wall” at a cost of $30 billion. The administration has proposed a 10-year, $18 billion plan that would increase the total miles of primary border fencing to 970 miles. “The wall’s never meant to be 2,100 miles long,” Trump now says, citing “natural barriers” between the two countries.
  • O’Rourke claimed that the president had described “asylum-seekers as animals or an infestation,” but the president used those words when talking about the MS-13 gang.
  • O’Rourke said Trump tried to “ban all Muslims” from entering the United States. Trump called for such a ban during his presidential campaign — but that’s not what he did as president.
  • The Texas Democrat said “an expert” told him that “40 percent of the incarcerated population in” Iowa is African American. But estimates we reviewed were lower — at around one-quarter of inmates.
  • He claimed that states that have adopted universal background checks for gun purchases “have seen a reduction in gun violence of up to 50 percent.” Academic research doesn’t support that.

The town hall aired on May 21. O’Rourke, a former U.S. representative from Texas, spoke to a crowd at Drake University in Iowa. 

Exaggerating the Wall

In discussing the current situation at the southwest border, O’Rourke twice said that Trump either wants or is proposing to “build a 2,000-mile wall.”

And then let’s focus more of our attention on our own hemisphere. Those people to whom we are connected by land, by culture, and increasingly by families, if we invest in solutions in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, then fewer people have to flee those countries and come to our border

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