Sunday 19 November 2017

Fact or fiction? Trump's inauguration speech debunked

*Sworn in as 45th president of the US
*Speech shorter than average address in history
*Police arrest protesters amid violence
*Obamas fly out of Washington for vacation

President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama stand on the steps of the Capitol in Washington (Rob Carr/Pool Photo via AP)
President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama stand on the steps of the Capitol in Washington (Rob Carr/Pool Photo via AP)
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Paul Wiseman and Christopher S Rugaber, in Washington

Donald Trump's inaugural address held familiar echoes of the campaign speeches that led to his presidential win: downbeat about the state of the nation, to the point of hyperbole.

Here is a look at some of his assertions:

TRUMP: "The jobs left, and the factories closed ... the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon."

THE FACTS: The US economy is a lot healthier than the wreck Mr Trump describes. Jobs have increased for a record 75 straight months. The US unemployment rate was 4.7% in December, close to a nine-year low and to what economists consider full employment.

Donald Trump is now the 45th President of the United States
Donald Trump is now the 45th President of the United States

From July through until September, the economy expanded at a 3.5% annual pace - the fastest in two years.

The Federal Reserve is so confident in the resiliency of the economy that it raised interest rates last month for only the second time in a decade. While wage growth has been sluggish since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009, declining unemployment and steady job growth are starting to force businesses to offer higher pay to find and attract new workers.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives on the platform to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives on the platform to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

And in 2015, the income for a typical household jumped 5.2% to an inflation-adjusted 56,516 dollars (£45,748), the largest annual growth in nearly five decades, according to the Census Bureau. Average hourly pay rose last year at the fastest pace in more than seven years.

TRUMP: "We've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own."

THE FACTS: Hardly.

Since 2001, the US has more than doubled the ranks of the Border Patrol, which now has nearly 20,000 agents. The vast majority of those are stationed along the Mexican border, where about 408,000 people were apprehended during the budget year that ended in September.

Outgoing U.S. first lady Michelle Obama listens with outgoing President Barack Obama (L) to incoming President Donald Trump speak during inauguration ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Outgoing U.S. first lady Michelle Obama listens with outgoing President Barack Obama (L) to incoming President Donald Trump speak during inauguration ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

TRUMP: The US has "subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military".

THE FACTS: The US military may have shortcomings, but it remains the world's most advanced, expensive and far-flung fighting force. American military spending is nearly three times that of second-place China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Newly sworn in President Donald Trump with his wife first lady Melania Trump, shakes hands with Hillary Clinton, as they arrive for the inaugural luncheon at the Statuary Hall in the Capitol, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Newly sworn in President Donald Trump with his wife first lady Melania Trump, shakes hands with Hillary Clinton, as they arrive for the inaugural luncheon at the Statuary Hall in the Capitol, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Pentagon says it does have additional needs, including more ships, a replenished air fleet and bigger training budgets to prepare for large-scale combat.

TRUMP: "We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth."

THE FACTS: Quelling radical Islamic terrorism worldwide is a heavy lift in which the US has been engaged for years, and Mr Trump has offered no plan for how he will deliver on this promise.

A US-led coalition began battling Islamic extremism even before 9/11. In Afghanistan alone, the coalition has fought for more than 15 years to prevent al Qaida and other radical groups from regaining a safe harbour there.

Getting the help of Nato allies might prove diplomatically challenging since Mr Trump has called Nato "obsolete" and says European members are not paying their fair share.

The threat is only growing.

Islamic State has a global reach, and attacks linked to radical extremism have occurred in the United States, France, Belgium, Turkey and countries throughout northern Africa.

AP

Press Association

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