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Fact-Checking the First Night of the Republican National Convention

NBC News fact-checked some of the claims made during the first night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Image: Republican National Convention
People cheer as delegates gather on the floor during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016.John Locher / AP

NBC News fact-checked some of the claims made during the first night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Here are some of our findings.

CLAIM (Rudy Giuliani): “Hillary Clinton's answer to Congress about the death of these four brave Americans [in Benghazi] because of her failures as Secretary of State was 'what difference at this point does it make?' Watch the video for yourself and see the arrogant disregard for American lives lost unnecessarily. Make up your own mind."

THE FACTS: According to the video of Clinton's congressional testimony, Clinton's "what difference at this point does it make" was over whether the violence in Benghazi was inspired by anti-Islam video or not. "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."

CLAIM (Melania Trump): “Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people. That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims, it includes Hispanics and African Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle class.”

THE FACTS: In addition to the temporary Muslim travel ban that Trump first proposed in Dec. 2015, Trump has once talked about a “Muslim problem” in a 2011 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

“Bill O'Reilly asked me is there a Muslim problem? And I said absolutely, yes. In fact I went a step further. I said I didn't see Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center,” he said.

On the Koran, Trump added: “A lot of people say it teaches love and there is a very big group of people who really understand the Koran far better than I do. I'm certainly not an expert, to put it mildly. But there's something there that teaches some very negative vibe. I mean things are happening, when you look at people blowing up all over the streets that are in some of the countries over in the Middle East, just blowing up a super market with not even soldiers, just people, when 250 people die in a super market that are shopping, where people die in a store or in a street. There's a lot of hatred there that's some place.”

CLAIM (Rudy Giuliani): "This includes undoing one of the worst deals America ever made – Obama’s Nuclear Agreement with Iran that will eventually let them become a nuclear power and put billions of dollars back into a country that the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Donald Trump will make sure that any agreement with Iran meets the original goals of the U.N and our allies: a non-nuclear Iran. "

THE FACTS: The Iran Deal requires that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency continuously monitor Iran’s nuclear sites to verify that Tehran is keeping its enrichment activities within limits set out in the deal and that none of the fissile material is being moved to covertly build a bomb. It also requires that Iran shut down or transform some of its reactors to be used for science and energy purposes, rather than to enrich weapons-grade material, and it caps Iran’s nuclear stockpiles at levels considered insufficient to build a bomb. Many of those restrictions are in place for 15 years, which the White House hopes will be sufficient time to normalize relations with Iran so in the case the nation does continue to move towards becoming a nuclear power, it’s not seen as such a significant threat.

An Associated Press report out this week did reveal, however, that many of the restrictions, which were set to end in 15 years, actually conclude in a little over a decade, potentially reducing the amount of time Tehran would need to build a bomb to just six months.

CLAIM (Jeff Sessions): “Understand this. From 2000 to 2014, while our existing population increased by millions, the number of jobs held by Americans actually declined. Amazingly, all the net job growth during that period went to immigrants.”

THE FACTS: Sessions is citing the research of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors far lower immigration numbers and produces research to further those views. PolitiFact has checked out claims made from this study before and found that this reading of the data is misleading. The organization found that the study looks at jobs for workers 16-65, ignoring the gains for workers over age 65 that existed and ignoring the recession, which had a strong affect on net job gains over those 14 years. After the recovery began in 2010, foreign-born workers saw 43% of job gains, the study notes.

CLAIM (Darryl Glenn, Colorado Senate candidate): "Neighborhoods have become more dangerous under [Obama's] watch"

THE FACTS: While there is some evidence of an increase in violent crime in some large American cities in the last few years, the national trend shows overall crime going down. From the AP: "According to FBI data, the national violent crime rate last peaked in 1991 at 758 reported violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2014, the latest year for which full data is available, the rate was 366 per 100,000 people."

Donald Trump (in an interview with Bill O’Reilly live during the RNC proceedings): “I wanted [the convention] to be here and we had lots of choices. I wanted it to be in Ohio, I recommended Ohio, and people fought very hard that it be in Ohio.”

The Facts: The Republican National Committee’s Site Selection Committee announced in July 2014 its recommendation of Cleveland, Ohio, as the site of the convention. Donald Trump announced his intention to run for president nearly a year later, in June 2015.