Arizona state police didn’t estimate pro-Trump caravan at 96 miles, 41,000 cars
CLAIM: A pro-Trump caravan of vehicles on highways circling the Phoenix area on Oct. 25 stretched 96 miles long and consisted of 41,000 cars, the Arizona Department of Public Safety reported.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: Partly false. The Arizona Department of Public Safety put out a rough estimate of 7,000 cars in the caravan, not 41,000, spokesman Bart Graves told The Associated Press. He added that estimates of 96 miles did not come from DPS. It remains unclear how many vehicles were involved in the event and how far they stretched.
THE FACTS: A pro-Trump highway parade in Arizona on Oct. 25 has become a conservative talking point ahead of the election as Trump supporters claim without evidence the event involved tens of thousands of cars and stretched nearly 100 miles.
Several social media users attributed the numbers to Arizona state police.
“Arizona DPS (State Patrol) reported the Train stretched 98 miles! Wow!” wrote one Facebook user in a post shared nearly 300 times.
“Arizona DPS confirmed today’s “Trump Train” that circled Phoenix, AZ was 96 miles in length, estimated 41,000 vehicles participated,” another Facebook user wrote.
Twitter and YouTube users echoed the same claims, suggesting in posts and triumphant videos that the caravan broke national records and that Arizona’s Department of Public Safety had confirmed the size of the event.
However, DPS did not report any of these numbers, spokesman Bart Graves confirmed to the AP on Monday.
“DPS did put out a number of 7,000 vehicles which was based on a rough estimate however we cannot say with certainty how many vehicles were involved in the caravan,” Graves said in an email.
The numbers didn’t appear to come from other local or state officials either.
The Arizona Department of Transportation told the AP it “would not keep data of this kind.” The police department in Peoria, a suburb of Phoenix where the event largely occurred, said they did not make any estimates. The Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office also told the AP they did not estimate the crowd.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536