In part three of our examination of Trump’s April 27th foreign policy speech, we take a look at one of the specific claims made by Trump about ISIS. He talked about ISIS repeatedly in this speech, taking a much more hard line on the extremist group than the Obama administration.
At the 21:20 mark of the above video Trump is speaking of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, and makes this claim:
“And now ISIS is making millions and millions of dollars a week selling Libya oil. And you know what? We don’t blockade, we don’t bomb, we don’t do anything about it. It’s almost as if our country doesn’t even know what’s happening, which could be a fact and could be true.”
As reported by Factcheck.org, Claudia Gazzini, Tripoli based analyst for Libya with the International Crisis Group, said that the goal of ISIS in Libya has been to disrupt and disable Libyan oil fields. They made several attacks on oil production facilities in 2015, but just destroyed equipment and murdered workers, without setting up an infrastructure for the sale or distribution of oil.
Gazzini told the Washington Post that “there is no evidence that [ISIS] are pumping out the crude oil and certainly no evidence that they are trading it.” Trump’s assertion that ISIS is benefiting financially from oil in Libya is simply not true.
ISIS is actually making millions (estimates range to $500 million a year) from oil fields in Syria. It is unlikely that Trump just misspoke here, as he was railing against Hillary Clinton and the Benghazi fiasco.