The Washington Post awarded Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez three Pinocchios for the misleading claim that President Donald Trump transferred “$10 of millions” pursuant to his border security national emergency but moved “$0” to address the “national public health emergency” created by opioid abuse.
The freshman Democrat from New York made the assertion in a tweet that included video of her questioning the White House director of drug policy, James W. Carroll, who appeared before the House Oversight Committee last week.
“So we’ve got two emergencies, one is treated with an actual action and the other is just to raise awareness,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
💰Amount President Trump has transferred from other agencies to fund his ‘Build the Wall’ Emergency: $10s of millions, & has identified billions more.
💰 Amount he’s transferred to address the Opioid National Emergency: $0 https://t.co/KamONSr67q
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 8, 2019
Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler looked into the claim and determined that Ocasio-Cortez was engaging in false equivalencies in her charge against Trump.
Kessler wrote that the president sought $5.7 billion in funding to construct additional border barriers, but Congress voted to authorize only $1.375 billion.
In response, Trump declared a national emergency in February under the powers granted him through the National Emergencies Act and announced he would be transferring $3.6 billion from a military construction fund.
The president also identified $2.5 billion from a Department of Defense drug interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department from a drug forfeiture fund.
Trump pointed to the illegal drugs flowing across the border as one of the reasons he was declaring the emergency.
To address the opioid crisis specifically, he issued a directive in August 2017 instructing his administration “to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic.”
Kessler recounted that following the president’s declaration, Congress appropriated over $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis.
“Ocasio-Cortez is making a misleading comparison,” the fact-checker wrote. “Trump has no need to transfer billions of dollars for the opioid emergency because Congress already has appropriated billions of dollars.
“Trump’s backing of a national public-health emergency did more than raise awareness; it triggered a congressional response. So it’s the exact opposite of the standoff over the wall.”
Kessler awarded Ocasio-Cortez three out of four Pinocchios because only is in the narrowest sense is her claim about Trump true.
He concluded, “One can question the effectiveness of the Trump response to the opioid epidemic without resorting to red herrings and false equivalency.”
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak contended in a tweet directed at Ocasio-Cortez that Trump is, in fact, seeking to address the opioid epidemic by building a southern border wall.
“The wall IS part of a policy to stop opioids. Do you support it now?” he asked.
The wall IS part of a policy to stop opioids. Do you support it now? https://t.co/PB3UDK41vM
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) March 8, 2019
The Post reported it reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s staff regarding the congresswoman’s misleading claim about Trump but received no response.
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