President Donald Trump kept up his habit of making incorrect claims in the first abbreviated week of 2019, starting the new year by dispensing a dizzying supply of factually dubious and straight-out incorrect statements.
Over the course of an hour-and-a-half-long press schedule during his very first Cabinet conference of 2019, the president provided a confusing reason for the Soviet intrusion of Afghanistan, grossly inflated the expense of unlawful migration and the variety of people in the country without appropriate documents, declared he “basically” fired his former secretary of defense (who in fact resigned over policy arguments with the commander-in-chief), and incorrectly claimed the U.S. invests more in Afghanistan in one month than he is requesting for his desired border wall.
Trump’s confusing recollection of why the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan
In making the case that a limitless timeline on military presence in Afghanistan serves just to harm the U.S., President Trump started a riff on an argument he frequently used throughout the 2016 project: indicating the Soviet Union’s intrusion of Afghanistan in 1979.
“Russia utilized to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they declared bankruptcy battling in Afghanistan,” Trump stated.
While several historians reached by ABC News acknowledged that the Afghanistan war was expensive for the U.S.S.R., there was considerable argument with the president’s contention that the intrusion contributed to the Soviet Union’s collapse.
“Nobody can even remotely argue that the war in Afghanistan had anything to do with the break-up of the Soviet Union,” stated Sergey Radchenko, a professor of International Politics at Cardiff University and Global Fellow at the Wilson Center. “The Soviet Union fell apart partly because of runaway forces of centrifugal nationalism, which the specific structure of the Soviet state ironically made it possible for, and partially because certain political stars in the biggest republics– especially Russia– looked for to acquire power by weakening the center’s authority.”
“It was just a little portion of the Soviet overall defense expenditure,” Radchenko added.
Artemy Kalinovsky, an assistant teacher at the University of Amsterdam and research study associate at the Cold War Studies Program at the London School of Economics and Politics, mainly concurred with Radchenko.
“The war was not a substantial drain on the Soviet Union either in hard military terms or in fiscal terms,” Kalinovsky told ABC. “Reporting on the war in the late 1980s did add to political polarization, caused a more crucial attitude towards the military on the part of the public, and helped push away a few of the military elite from Mikhail Gorbachev. However the Afghanistan war was not a significant consider the nationalist mobilizations of that era.”
In his Cabinet conference, Trump also made the argument that Russia invaded Afghanistan mainly because, “terrorists were going into Russia,” adding, “they were right to be there.”
The latter claim that the U.S.S.R. was “right” to get into Afghanistan contradicts years of previous U.S. policy, especially thinking about the U.S. intervened in Afghanistan at the time to aid the mujahideen in their battle against the Soviets.
“That is undoubtedly a huge departure from the method U.S. policymakers – Democrats and Republicans – have ever spoken about the Soviet intervention,” Kalinovsky stated. “It is also not the method most Russians– including many military leaders– saw things, although recently there has been more of an effort to validate the initial intervention.”
The Soviet pretext at the time of the invasion was to provide assistance to the communist federal government in their fight against the anti-Communist mujaheddin.
However it was the president’s claim of ‘terrorists’ entering into the U.S.S.R. to back up his belief that Soviet intervention was justified that really perplexed historians.
“This claim is utterly outrageous,” Radchenko said. “The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a complex affair, but the notion that some terrorists were penetrating the U.S.S.R. from Afghanistan has no basis in reality.”
“When the Soviets intervened in Afghanistan they were not stressed over terrorism or Islamism of any sort,” Kalinovsky included. “They were mainly worried that an unsteady Afghanistan would be a chance for the United States to threaten the USSR on its southern border.”
“>Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images, FILE President Donald Trump, nationwide security advisor H.R. McMaster, White Home chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis go to an instruction in the Cabinet Space of the White Home, Oct. 5, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Does unlawful migration cost the US$ 250 billion each year? Near the beginning of the Cabinet conference, President Trump repeatedly stressed the need for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to curb prohibited immigration. Repeating a claim he made in a tweet about one month prior, he argued that if Congress offered him with his needs for $5.6 billion in border wall funding it would “pay for itself in a month or more.”
“Since we lose quite near to $250 billion on illegal immigration,” Trump said. “And I would say that it might be on a monthly, or a number of months, it would spend for the wall, spend for what we’re discussing.”
But that claim isn’t real. The White Home did not right away react to concerns asking for clarity on where the president very first discovered this statistic, but of multiple independent analyses measuring the economic costs of prohibited migration, none come close to the $250 billion figure floated by Trump.
A 2013 report from the conservative Heritage Foundation approximated that undocumented immigrant households cost the U.S. “around $54.5 billion” per year in net fiscal burden.
And a 2017 report from the Center for Immigration Researches, which typically advocates for aggressive steps to curb prohibited immigration, imagined the following circumstance of the wall “spending for itself” as the president has explained.
“If a border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 unlawful crossers– 9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next years– the fiscal cost savings would equal the $12 to $15 billion expense of the wall,” the study stated.
However that quote is still far from the “$ 250 billion” the president claims that prohibited migration costs the U.S. annually.
Trump falsely declares 30-35 million undocumented immigrants are living in US
President Trump also utilized his extended time in front of video cameras to make a claim widely inflating the present number of undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.
“Look, when you hear– I’ve been hearing 11 million; I have actually been 12 million; I’ve been hearing 35 million,” Trump stated. “I utilized to hear 11 million all the time. It would always stay right at 11.”
Trump included, “It’s probably 30, 35 million individuals.”
However that claim is incorrect.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, testifying before your house Oversight Committee on Dec. 20, said her department currently estimates there are “somewhere” in between 11 million and 22 million undocumented immigrants presently living in the U.S.
Seat Scientist have created far more conservative quotes, however, launching research study that they declare reveals the variety of undocumented immigrants has really decreased leading up to 2016 from its peak of 12.2 million in 2007.
Trump attempts to revise how and why Mattis departed
President Trump was the very first to reveal by Twitter last month that James Mattis would be “retiring” as secretary of defense. And officials within the administration explained at the time that Mattis’ resignation was not forced however a choice he made from his own accord.
However at Wednesday’s Cabinet conference, President Trump looked for to alter that narrative by asserting he “basically” fired Mattis.
“President Obama fired him, and basically, so did I,” Trump said, slamming Mattis’ management of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, where President Trump is now weighing a troop drawdown.
“What’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too great. Not too excellent. I’m not happy with what he’s performed in Afghanistan. And I should not be delighted,” Trump stated.
Trump’s effort to change the story comes after a large body of reporting that Mattis resigned in protest over his strong arguments with the president’s announced choice to withdraw troops from Syria within 1 month, a timetable the president has given that walked back to allow for a more gradual drawdown.
In his resignation letter revealed, Mattis did not conceal his philosophical differences with the president, writing, “Since you deserve to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are much better aligned with yours on these and other topics, I believe it is ideal for me to step down from my position.”
“>AFP/Getty Images, FILE U.S. Marines keep watch as unseen Afghan National Army soldiers participate in a training workout at the Shorab Armed Force Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand, Aug. 28, 2017. Trump declares the United States invests more in a month in
Afghanistan that amount to expense of border wall Trump likewise argued that the U.S. spends more in one month in Afghanistan than the$ 5.6 billion figure he’s requiring for a southern border wall in the continuous shutdown fight.
“We spend in Afghanistan more in one month than what we’re discussing for the wall,” Trump said, citing the $5.6 billion figure he’s requesting.
But his numbers are off.
Last February, Pentagon official Randall Schriver affirmed that the war in Afghanistan expense about $45 billion each year. That would put the monthly cost of the Afghan war at $3.75.
So, while the U.S. is still investing a considerable quantity in Afghanistan on a monthly basis, it is below the $5.6 billion figure pointed out by the president.