On Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for president.
In the process, he delivered an exceptionally pessimistic speech on the state of America, essentially painting the picture of a country that's in rapid decline.
President Obama took issue with this, arguing that it's not an accurate reflection of reality. At a White House press conference on Thursday, he stated,
The one thing that I think is important to recognize is this idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse. This vision of violence and chaos everywhere doesn't really jive with the experience of most people.
In other words, Trump's apocalyptic narrative about America is a load of bullshit.
In particular, I think it is important, just to be absolutely clear here, that some of the fears that were expressed throughout [the RNC] just don't jive with the facts. Let's take two specific examples. When it comes to crime, the violent crime rate in America has been lower during my presidency than any time in the last three, four decades. Although it is true we've seen an uptick in murders and violent crime in some cities this year, the fact of the matter is that the murder rate today, the violence rate today, is far lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president, and lower than when I took office.
The president highlighted that recent events, such as violence perpetrated both by and against police, have perhaps created the perception that things are worse than they are. But President Obama urged people to keep things in perspective.
We are all... troubled by how we can rebuild trust, and support law enforcement and make sure communities feel they are being fairly policed. But the fact is that the rate of intentional killings of police officers is also significantly lower than when Ronald Reagan was president. Those are facts, that's the data.
The president's statements are correct: Violent crime has declined significantly in the US since the 1980s.
Also, the average number of police fatalities is far lower under Obama than it was under previous presidents.
Simply put, we are living in one of the safest eras in US history.
Sometimes, it might feel like things are getting worse. But we need to remember that social media and 24/7 news coverage mean we are inundated with awful news, given that it tends to drive viewership for major media outlets. We should not be fooled into believing that this means the world is falling apart.
After discussing crime, President Obama also touched on the fallacious and xenophobic nature of Trump's remarks on immigration. The New York billionaire has consistently suggested that the US-Mexico border is essentially porous, which is why building a border wall has been one of his primary talking points on the campaign trail.
But, as the president noted,
The rate of illegal migration into the United States today is lower by two-thirds than it was when Ronald Reagan was president. We have far fewer undocumented workers crossing the border today than we did in the '80s, or the '90s, or when George Bush was president -- that's a fact.
The data backs him up. The number of undocumented immigrants crossing the US border has declined over the past decade.
According to a study from Pew Research Center, there were 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in the US in 2007. By 2014, that number was down to 11.3 million.
Long story short, Trump is feeding people's fears by feeding them misinformation for his own political gain. If his supporters stopped and looked at the numbers, they might begin to see the emptiness of his rhetoric.