Did Fiorina say Obama was preparing for 250,000 Syrian refugees?

Did Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina say Obama was planning to accept 250,000 Syrian refugees?

On Nov. 26, 2015 international news agency Agence France-Presse published “Facts take a back seat in White House race,” an article providing supposed examples of campaign trail falsehoods.

The story leads with four examples:

Republican Donald Trump’s claim that Arab Americans cheered during the September 11, 2001 attacks is just the latest in a string of falsehoods from US presidential candidates.

Trump is not alone among the candidates in distorting the truth, according to fact-checkers.

Carly Fiorina falsely claimed the United States was preparing to accept 250,000 Syrian refugees; Marco Rubio said that welders earn more than philosophers; and Ben Carson stated that no signatories of the Declaration of Independence had elected office experience.


AFP’s story plays fast and loose with the truth in a number of areas. We’ll focus on the story’s most obvious error.

Fiorina and the 250,000

AFP said Fiorina falsely claimed the United States was preparing to accept 250,000 Syrian refugees. The story says it was the “fact checkers” who found the falsehoods.

Which fact checkers? Try none, in Fiorina’s case.

The Washington Post Fact Checker looked at the following statement from Fiorina:

“I am angry that President Obama unilaterally decides that we’ll accept up to 100,000 Syrian refugees while his administration admits we cannot determine their ties to terrorism.”


Whatever else might prove wrong with Fiorina’s statement, it seems obvious that “up to 100,000” is not 250,000.

FactCheck.org looked at nearly the same statement from Fiorina:

At the Sunshine Summit on Nov. 14, Carly Fiorina said she was “angry that President Obama unilaterally decides that we will accept in this nation a hundred thousand Syrian refugees.”


CSPAN video supports the wording reported by FactCheck.org. But 100,000 remains less than 250,000. FactCheck.org didn’t fault Fiorina for any statement about 250,000 Syrian refugees.

AFP Fiorina clip 250,000 SyrianHow about PolitiFact, the third “elite” fact checker? Perhaps it caught Fiorina claiming the administration would admit 250,000 Syrian refugees?

A search of the PolitiFact.com domain shows no stories featuring both “Fiorina” and “250,000.” PolitiFact has not published any fact check of a Fiorina claim involving “250,000 Syrian refugees.”

We couldn’t find any case of Fiorina referring to 250,000 Syrian refugees in any story other than the one from AFP.

The falsehood has continued to spread thanks to the AFP article. Raw Story. The Taipei Times. The Straits Times. It is likely the falsehood will spread further before and after the news agency corrects its error.

Fiorina didn’t say Obama was preparing to allow 250,000 Syrian refugees into the country. The AFP story on fact-checking has its facts wrong.

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