Donald Trump falsely claimed that 99 percent of Egyptians voted to end the peace treaty with Israel. There was no such vote, although a recent poll found that 54 percent do support ending the treaty.
What a week for Donald Trump. It started with Trump claiming victory in forcing President Barack Obama to release his long-form birth certificate and misstating the facts about the 1991 Persian Gulf War (more about that later). Then he went to Las Vegas and gave an obscenity-laced speech that included this bogus claim:
Trump, April 28: I don’t know if you saw the vote. There was a vote in Egypt the other day. Ninety-nine percent of the people want to break the peace treaty with Israel. Did you see that? Did anybody see that? Ninety-nine percent! So, we have problems. We have weak, pathetic leadership.
Really? A vote? Ninety-nine percent?
We weren’t familiar with any votes in Egypt other than one last month on constitutional amendments, which had nothing to do with the peace treaty with Israel. The only thing we could find that resembled a “vote” was a poll released earlier in the week by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. “By a 54%-to-36% margin, Egyptians want the peace treaty with that country annulled,” the center said in an April 25 press release.
Just to be sure we didn’t miss any major developments in Egyptian-Israeli relations, we contacted Middle East expert Steven A. Cook at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“As with most everything, Trump is 100 percent wrong about Egypt,” Cook told us. “There was no vote; only the poll that you cited and the number was 54 percent. Troubling, but not 99 percent.”
This wasn’t Trump’s first foreign policy flub. As our friends at PolitiFact wrote earlier this week, Trump also wrongly claimed that Kuwait “never paid us” for leading a coalition to liberate that country after the Iraq invasion in 1990. Kuwait paid the United States $16.1 billion, according to the final report to Congress on the Gulf War. As of March 11, 1992, the U.S. received $53 billion from coalition nations of the $61 billion it cost to carry out that war, the report said.
Trump’s bogus claim on Kuwait came at a New Hampshire press conference on April 27. That was the same day that Obama released his long-form birth certificate. Trump’s persistence in recycling long-discredited claims about the president’s birthplace forced the president’s hand and Trump, in New Hampshire, described himself as “very proud.”
As Cook also said in his e-mail to us: “The Donald is certainly on a tear this week.”