PolitiFact rates statements about civil rights by Clinton, Trump

There’s less than a week left before the Nov. 8 election. In the run-up to the historic event, PolitiFact Georgia will be looking at how Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have fared on fact-checks about major issues in the race for president of the United States.

Today we look at their statements on civil rights.

Donald Trump on Monday, November 16th, 2015 in an interview on MSNBC:

The New York Police Department used to have “surveillance going on in and around mosques in New York City. … Our mayor totally cut that out.”

While Trump doesn’t paint the full picture, there is some evidence supporting his point: the NYPD used to spy on Muslims. The program went further than just surveilling mosques — detectives mapped out entire Muslim communities, tracked daily activities and more.

The project was shut down by the police commissioner, not the mayor. The commissioner is the mayor’s appointee and likely acted with the mayor’s approval.

We can’t say for certain what surveillance the police department conducts now, but Trump is right that the program was shuttered.

We rate this statement Half True.

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 in a speech in Florissant, Mo.:

American schools are “more segregated than they were in the 1960s.”

Overall, experts say and the data shows that the United States has taken two steps forward and one step back, but the country hasn’t quite reverted to pre-Civil Rights levels of segregation.

Clinton would have been more accurate setting her time frame a little later, but she has a strong point that the country has not kept up the high levels of diversity from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

We rated Clinton’s statement Mostly True.

Donald Trump on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 in a speech in Kenansville, N.C.:

“Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever.”

This statement makes no comparison between today and slavery, or the today and the Jim Crow era.

Meanwhile, over the last 50 years, African Americans, despite consistently falling behind whites, have made significant strides in life expectancy, educational attainment and other measures, and unemployment and poverty rates are near historical lows.

We rated Trump’s statement Pants on Fire!

Mike Pence on Sunday, March 29th, 2015 in comments on ABC’s “This Week”:

Says Barack Obama voted for the “very same language” of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act when he was in the Illinois state Senate. Sexual orientation “doesn’t have anything to do with this law.”

Pence’s point about the vote is true, as is the name of the bill, but Pence’s explanation is an oversimplification of the purpose of the law then and the motivation of some pushing the law now.

Current proponents of this law are pushing the measure as a way that businesses can seek protection “for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage.” That was far from an intent of Illinois’ law, or the others passed more than 15 years ago.

As for the language itself, Pence is incorrect to say the language is the same. Overall, Pence’s claim is partially accurate but misses important context.

We rated Pence’s statement Half True.

Hillary Clinton on Friday, August 26th, 2016 in a Hillary for America television ad; “Trump Management was charged with discriminating against African-Americans and breaking federal law.”

In 1973, the government accused Trump, his father and Trump Management of violating the Fair Housing Act, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The case alleged Trump’s realty company discriminated against non-white tenants and potential tenants at numerous apartment complexes.

The government settled the lawsuit, after Trump waged a years-long legal battle, so Trump never admitted guilt. The company agreed to comply with extensive requirements intended to stop housing discrimination at its properties.

We rated Clinton’s claim True.

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