In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper debunks two claims made by President Donald Trump about the U.S. military involvement in Syria.
Trump falsely claimed on Twitter, “The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago.” He then repeated the claim both in remarks at the White House and in a campaign rally. But several experts told FactCheck.org and CNN that they never heard of such a 30-day timeline.
In fact, when the Obama White House first announced the deployment of special operations troops in October 2015, then-Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “I don’t have a specific date to give you when they will come out.”
Earnest said that “we’ve been quite candid about the fact that this is not a short-term proposition in terms of our counter-ISIL strategy,” referring to the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State.
Trump also wrongly claimed that thousands of captured Islamic State fighters in Syria were “mostly from Europe,” when in fact they are overwhelmingly from Iraq and Syria.
The most recent report from the inspectors general of the Department of Defense, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development says that of the 10,000 Islamic State fighters being detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces across northeastern Syria, 8,000 were nationals of Iraq and Syria. The rest were “foreign fighters” from other countries, including “about 800 … believed to be from European nations.”