In an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reily Monday night, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump defended his widely panned retweet of fabricated crime statistics in the United States. The retweet, which cited data from a non-existent Crime Statistics Bureau in San Francisco, claimed that this year, of the total white murder victims, 81 percent were killed by blacks -- a statistic that was quickly revealed as erroneous.
“Am I gonna check every statistic?” Trump asked, when questioned by the Fox News host. “I didn’t tweet, I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert and it was also a radio show.”
It wasn’t immediately clear who made the graphic, which suggested that blacks were not only responsible for most killings of black people, they were also killing a huge number of white people.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2015
However, according to FBI data for 2014 -- the most recent year available -- less than 15 percent of killings of white people were perpetrated by blacks. Most whites -- over 82 percent -- were killed by other white people. Moreover, while the graphic Trump retweeted claims that 97 percent of killings of blacks were carried out by other black people, the FBI data reveals that this number was 90 percent in 2014.
As this report by the Washington Post notes, between 1998 and 2008, 78 percent of homicides were committed by people who knew the victim, and since most people are either related to, or live near people who are of the same race, the homicide statistics would logically reflect that.
The retweet came just days after a several white attendees at a Trump rally at Birmingham, Alabama, punched and kicked a black protester who disrupted the GOP front-runner’s speech. “Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said Sunday morning on Fox News.
This is not the first time Trump has been criticized for his misleading remarks. He recently said, during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, that residents of New Jersey, “where you have large Arab population,” celebrated the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.
“I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down. … It was well covered at the time,” Trump reportedly said.
The claim was later widely disputed by several media outlets and local politicians, including Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.