Nothing tests a potential presidential candidate like a major international crisis. Which is to say that nothing provides instant proof of how woefully unprepared most of the current candidates are to deal with a true commander-in-chief moment than something like the Paris terror attacks. Just... wow.
Our cornucopia of "Lies Presidential Candidates Told This Week" was overflowing over the past seven days, stuffed like a turducken of misinformation and malapropisms that we're going to try and rate using our patented 1-5 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ scale:
Donald Trump Claims Only GOP Governors Are Getting Syrian Refugees
The Lie: Thanksgiving came early for the Don, as he got to spend nearly a week floating unverifiable conspiracy theories, stumping for Nazi-esque surveillance, offering ridiculous suggestions about shutting down all the mosques in the U.S. and his crowning achievement: a factually suspect claim that the federal government is purposely sending Syrian refugees to states with governors who are "Republicans, not the Democrats."
The Truth: The numbers alone are against Trump: There are 31 states with Republican governors right now, versus 18 with Democrats, so that might explain any imbalance. According to figures compiled by the Associated Press, since Jan. 1 states with Republican governors have taken in 1,219 Syrian refugees, while states with Democratic ones have accepted 605.
So, while red states have taken in an average of 5 more refugees per (39), Trump was a bit off by saying no blue state has taken any. In fact, California, whose Gov. is Democrat Jerry Brown, has accepted the most at 200.
Also, as a State Dept. spokesperson told MTV News this week, the decision as to where refugees are placed is based on factors such as whether they have family in the country and availability. As Politifact pointed out, nine private volunteer organizations help place refugees, not the administration.
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Ben Carson's Map Is All Jacked
The Lie: While the good doctor was just wrong in the moral sense when he compared Syrian refugees to rabid dogs ("we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are"), it was his geographically challenged map of the U.S. that really turned heads.
The Truth: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are not 150 miles North of their actual locations; New York and Vermont did not suddenly find hundreds of miles of beachfront; Massachusetts doesn't share a border with Canada; and Maine is not suspended over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
Also, a few days after a reported advisor to Carson's campaign, former CIA agent Duane Clarridge, told the New York Times that Carson is struggling to retain "one iota" of intelligent information about the Middle East and foreign policy, Carson's camp essentially denied that the career diplomat had been working with them for two years... and then basically said he was a doddering old man.
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Jeb And Cruz Want A Religious Test, Which They Might Flunk
The Lie: The day after the Paris attacks, Ted Cruz decried "President Obama and Hillary Clinton's idea that we should bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslims refugees to America," noting that "Christians [who] are being targeted for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven for them." A day later, he said we should be accepting only Christians from Syria because, "there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror."
Like Cruz, Jeb Bush suggested we should focus on Syrian Christians (who made up 10 percent of the country's pre-war population) and while he said we should make them "prove" they're Christians, he struggled to explain how we might do that. "I think you can prove it," he stumbled. "If you can't prove it then, you know, you err on the side of caution."
The Truth: Forget for a second that the Parisian attackers weren't Syrian (from what we know at the moment), and that turning back Muslim Syrians is playing right into the ISIS playbook.
According to the Washington Post, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association David Leopold said it might be redundant and unnecessary to do a "Christianity test" because often the very stated reason refugees are fleeing is because of religious persecution. He said that barring refugees based on faith could raise "a whole host of legal, political and humanitarian concerns."
Bottom line: Legality aside, as President Obama said, "that's shameful. That's not American. That's not who we are."
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