Fact check: it turns out Donald Trump never sent any U.S. warships to North Korea

Ten days ago, Donald Trump and his administration announced that they were sending a fleet of U.S. warships to the Korean Peninsula in response to the escalating antics of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. But after Kim set off a missile test on Sunday, which was expected because it marked the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the U.S. fleet had no response. That’s because the U.S. fleet never went to the Korean Peninsula.


Several members of Donald Trump’s military leadership, including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Admiral Harry Harris, had publicly and clearly stated that U.S. forces were on their way to the Korean Peninsula in response to North Korea. But as the Washington Post (link) and New York Times (link) have now both determined, that never happened. The facts reveal that the fleet was nowhere near where U.S. leaders claimed. Instead the U.S. fleet in question has been down in the Indian Ocean, closer to Indonesia and Singapore, and was more than three thousand miles away from North Korea on the day that everyone involved knew Kim would fire off a ceremonial missile test.


So why the subterfuge? That’s open to interpretation. The U.S. military made false public statements about the matter, but it may have done so in an attempt at tricking Kim Jong-Un into believing that U.S. warships were on their way to attack him, in the hope of convincing him to back down from his missile test. It’s also possible that the U.S. military made these false public statements because it wanted to trick the American public into believing action was being taken toward North Korea when it was not. However their specific motive for these lies cannot be proven, at least not yet.


But what is clear, based on the facts, is that Donald Trump’s military leadership publicly claimed U.S. forces were en route to North Korea when they were instead headed even further away from North Korea. And because it’s impossible for them not to have known where their own warships were, it can be confirmed that they were not mistaken, and instead they were lying. So we rate the Trump administration’s claim as False.


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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

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