Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler was a State Department reporter, so he tends to put the most swagger into his foreign-policy Pinocchio-throwing. On March 1, he threw Three Pinocchios at Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The headline was “Nikki Haley’s bogus claims about foreign aid dollars” and it focused on what she said to Maria Bartiromo on the Fox Business show Sunday Morning Futures on February 26. Asked how she would differentiate herself from the other Republicans, she answered “The number one thing I would do is stop giving foreign aid to our enemies.”
In summary, he claimed:
Bashing foreign aid might be good politics, but one would think someone with her level of experience might have more than a passing familiarity with the basics.
Instead, she suggests that foreign aid goes directly to governments, especially ones with policies that are at odds with the interests of the United States. That’s wrong. The dirty little secret of foreign aid is that most of it never leaves the United States — and it goes right into the pockets of U.S. companies. Some countries receive direct grants of aid, but those are certainly not “enemies.”
You can sense Kessler’s hostility to the isolationist echoes of questioning foreign-aid spending. But as Haley’s staff responded to Kessler when he inquired, “The United States sends billions of dollars to countries and entities that undermine and oppose American interests. That’s a fact.” But Kessler quibbled that (a) the specific amounts she cited were wrong, and (b) the aid didn’t always go directly to governments, but to aid groups.
That’s more the “Fact Quibbler” than Checker.
So when Haley said we’re sending taxpayer dollars to communist Cuba, Kessler quibbled the amount was tiny, and was for firefighters:
“USAID provided 100 sets of fire-resistant coats, pants, gloves, boots, and helmets for Cuban firefighters,” a USAID spokesperson said. “U.S. Government officials transferred 43 [personal protective equipment] kits to the Cuban fire brigade on Sept. 13, 2022, and on Jan. 13, 2023, delivered the remaining 57 sets of firefighter PPE to the Cuban national firefighter’s school.” The cost was $364,511.
None of that “corrects” Haley on sending aid to enemies. Does he think the “national firefighter’s school” isn’t the government? It’s the principle.
Kessler quibbled with Haley like this:
Haley: “You look at China. We’re giving China money for the environment. Are you kidding? We shouldn’t be giving them a single penny.”
Her comment refers to about $270,000 spent on programs aimed at ending illegal trade in endangered species and reducing illegal consumption of endangered turtles.
That’s foreign aid to China, not just turtles.
You could suggest that most people might not agree that Iraq or Pakistan comes to mind on a list of our enemies. But if I were on the Haley press team, I’d give Kessler this quote: “We’re confused at why The Washington Post would throw ‘bogus claims’ shade and give Three Pinocchios to our candidate, but bizarrely couldn’t find the Pinocchio bucket when it reviewed Stacey Abrams claiming ‘I have never denied that I lost.'”