FACT CHECK: Black Lives Matter takes a distorted hit at GOP convention

The Republican National Convention’s final night heard BLM accused of coordinating violent protest.

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President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Convention’s final night heard Black Lives Matter falsely accused of coordinating violent protests, while President Donald Trump related familiar distortions of his record on energy, veterans and more.

A look at some of the rhetoric Thursday from Trump and his supporting speakers:

Black Lives Matter

RUDY GIULIANI, Trump’s personal attorney and former New York mayor: “Black Lives Matter and antifa sprang into action and, in a flash, they hijacked the peaceful protest into vicious, brutal riots.”

THE FACTS: That’s a hollow claim.

There’s no evidence that Black Lives Matter or antifa, or any political group for that matter, is infiltrating racial injustice protests with violence.

In June, The Associated Press analyzed court records, employment histories and social media posts for 217 people arrested in Minneapolis and the District of Columbia, cities at the center of the protests earlier this year.

More than 85 percent of the people arrested were local residents, and few had affiliation with any organized groups. Social media posts for a few of those arrested indicated they were involved in left-leaning activities while others expressed support for the political right and Trump himself.

Local police departments across the country were forced to knock down widespread social media rumors that busloads of “antifa,” a term for leftist militants, were coming to violently disrupt cities and towns during nationwide racial justice protests. In June, Twitter and Facebook busted accounts linked to white supremacy groups that were promoting some of those falsehoods online.

Veterans

TRUMP: “We also passed VA accountability and VA Choice, our great veterans. We are taking care of our veterans.”

THE FACTS: False. He didn’t get Veterans Choice approved; President Barack Obama did in 2014. Trump expanded it, under a 2018 law known as the MISSION Act. It allows veterans to get health care outside the VA system at public expense under certain conditions.

Energy

TRUMP, claiming to have “secured for the first time American energy independence.”

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-California: Under Trump, “we … achieved energy independence.”

THE FACTS: This is misleading. The pandemic has severely lessened the demand for crude oil. But through June, the United States was still importing more crude oil than it was selling overseas, according to the Census Bureau.

While the United States has become less reliant on foreign oil, it only produces 11.3 million barrels a day and consumes 18.5 million barrels of liquid fuels daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Technological advances like fracking and horizontal drilling have allowed the U.S. to greatly increase production, but the country still imports millions of barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iraq and other countries. One reason is that foreign oil is more affordable. Another is that much of what the U.S. produces is hard for domestic refiners to convert to practical use. So the U.S. exports that production and imports oil that is more suitable for American refineries to handle.

SEN. TOM COTTON of Arkansas: “Joe Biden sent pallets of cash to the ayatollahs.”

THE FACTS: This is a distorted tale Trump and Republicans loves to tell. Yes, the U.S. flew cash to Iran in the Obama years, but it was money the United States owed to that country.

Cotton is also playing into the convention’s pattern of attributing every action of President Barack Obama’s administration to Biden personally.

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