We’re doing something new: analyzing every factual claim from President Trump’s campaign rally in Montana on Thursday.
According to The Fact Checker’s database, the president had made 3,251 false or misleading claims at the end of May, and his average daily rate was climbing.
This side of Trump really comes alive during campaign rallies, so we wanted to do the math and find out whether the president speaks more fictions or facts in front of his crowds.
We focused only on Trump’s statements of material fact at the Montana rally, avoiding trivialities and opinions. We didn’t double-count statements when the president repeated himself.
According to our analysis, the truth took a beating in Montana. From a grand total of 98 factual statements we identified, 76 percent were false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.
Here’s a breakdown: 45 false or mostly false statements, 25 misleading statements and four unsupported claims. We also counted 24 accurate or mostly accurate statements. False or mostly false statements alone accounted for 46 percent of all claims.
Trump’s rallies draw huge crowds — an estimated 6,500 people attended the Thursday rally — and they usually provide days of fodder for TV networks. Because three-quarters of the president’s claims in Montana were false, misleading or unsupported, there is a need to fact-check these events.
Here’s our analysis of all 98 claims:
It’s time to retire liberal Democrat Jon Tester.
Misleading. Sen. Tester (Mont.) has voted with Trump 36.5 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, and is more on the moderate side of the Democratic Party than the liberal side.
Jon Tester voted no on repealing Obamacare.
Accurate. Tester opposed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
And even though we got a little surprise vote that evening, you all remember that evening somebody came in with a thumbs down after campaigning for years that he was going to repeal and replace.
Mostly false. Trump is referring to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who voted no on one of the bills to roll back the Affordable Care Act in 2017. McCain complained that the bill had not gone through regular order in the Senate, meaning it was being rushed to passage without the usual vetting. Trump suggests that McCain single-handedly killed the bill, but two other Republicans also voted no, and even if it passed the Senate, there would have been more wrangling during a conference with the House.
But that’s okay because we, for the most part, have already done it. … We got rid of the individual mandate and lots of other things.
Mostly false. The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was repealed in Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but other core provisions such as insurance exchanges and mandating coverage for preexisting conditions remain.
Jon Tester voted no on tax cuts for Montana families.
Accurate. Tester voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
He voted no on cutting the estate tax or the death tax for your farms, your farmers, and your small businesses. … But you got it anyway because we got it passed. So, on your farms, for the most part, you will have no estate tax or death tax to pay. You can leave your farm, you can leave your small business to your children or whoever you want to leave them.
False. The federal estate tax rarely falls on farms or small businesses, since only those leaving behind more than $5 million pay it. According to the Tax Policy Center, nearly 5,500 estates in 2017 — out of nearly 3 million — were subject to the tax. Of those, only 80 taxable estates would be farms and small businesses.
Jon Tester voted no on legislation to stop late-term abortions.
Accurate. Tester voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.
Jon Tester voted no on Kate’s Law.
Accurate. Tester voted against an earlier version of Kate’s Law. The current version passed the House in 2017 but has not come up for a vote in the Senate.
You know what Kate’s Law is. That’s legislation named for Kate Steinle, who was gunned down by a five-time-deported illegal immigrant.
Accurate. The man who shot the gun that killed Steinle in San Francisco, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, had been deported to Mexico five times. Garcia was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges, but was convicted of being a felon who possessed a firearm.
Tester even voted no on enhanced vetting for refugees from terror-stricken countries.
Accurate. Tester in 2016 voted against legislation that would have added additional background checks for refugees trying to enter the United States. He also opposed the president’s travel ban.
The Democrats want open borders, which means lots of crime.
False. Democrats support measures to tighten border security, but they don’t support Trump’s plans for a border wall or other parts of his aggressive immigration agenda. There’s no evidence to show that immigration leads to higher crime. In fact, most studies have found that legal and undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than the native-born.
Jon Tester opposed our travel ban to keep America safe, which, by the way, I’m proud to report that last week the Supreme Court of the United States just upheld the Trump travel ban.
Accurate. Tester opposes Trump’s travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 vote.
And I want to thank Justice Kennedy for his lifetime of truly distinguished service. And he had confidence in me. He left because he said, “You’re going to pick somebody great, and so nice.”
Unsupported. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy met with Trump the day his retirement was announced, but it would be out of character for him or any judge to say this to the president. A statement from the Supreme Court said Kennedy, 81, retired because of a “deep desire to spend more time” with his family.
Jon Tester voted against Neil Gorsuch.
He never votes for me.
False. Tester votes with Trump 36.5 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. He has voted to confirm several of the president’s Cabinet officials and has supported major pieces of legislation Trump supported including a rollback of some Dodd-Frank regulations and expanding private care options for veterans.
Yes, Jon Tester voted for liberal Obama judges who tried to take away your Second Amendment.
Misleading. It’s not clear which judges Trump is referring to, but Tester has an “A-” rating from the National Rifle Association. His website states, “As a gun owner, Jon has voted against legislation that would violate Montanans’ Second Amendment rights and hinder the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own a gun.” Tester voted to confirm Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented from the court’s 2010 decision McDonald v. Chicago, which expanded gun-possession rights. But she also dissented in Voisine v. United States, which restricted gun rights for people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.
Jon Tester showed his true colors with his shameful, dishonest attacks on a great man, a friend of mine, a man that I said, “Why don’t you run the VA? You’d be great,” Navy Admiral Ronny Jackson.
And a report just came out, and I should have brought it because I would have read it, but it’s long but beautiful for Ronny Jackson. Secret Service are all over the place. And they wrote a report that what he said was so false and so untrue.
Misleading. Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, made public several allegations against Jackson. The White House conducted a review that found evidence of minor incidents but not the most serious allegations Tester had described, and the Secret Service released a statement denying several allegations. The Defense Department inspector general is investigating Jackson but has not released a report. Republicans believed Jackson to be unqualified, and Tester’s actions had the support of Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
And when they said I’m very healthy, the news was devastated. They were devastated. They didn’t want to hear that. They didn’t want to hear that.
I won Montana by so many points I don’t have to come here. You know, a lot of people from states where we have these crazy big leads, we had 42 and 44 — we won by 44 points over a Democrat, over a Democrat. We won by 44 points over a Democrat. Now it was Crooked Hillary, but still she’s a Democrat.
False. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Montana by 20 points, not 42 or 44.
She gets special treatment under the Justice Department.
False. Trump suggests the Justice Department went easy on Clinton while investigating her use of a private email server as secretary of state, but then-FBI Director James B. Comey gave detailed reasons for declining to bring charges and took the extraordinary step of rebuking Clinton in public shortly before the 2016 election. The Justice Department inspector general found “no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations” and said Comey acted inappropriately in calling her out before the election.
How about that FBI agent? How about that guy? … You think there was just a little bias there — a little bias? Oh, did we catch them in the act. It’s a rigged deal, folks.
Misleading. Trump is referring to Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who worked on the Clinton email investigation and who spent two months working on the Russia investigation. The inspector general’s report criticizes Strzok and other FBI officials for sending numerous text messages showing anti-Trump bias or frustration with the fact that the FBI was investigating Clinton, and for dragging their feet on the Clinton probe at one stage. The inspector general found that these communications showed “extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism,” but did not conclude the investigations were “rigged” against Trump. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III removed Strzok from his team when he became aware that Strzok had sent anti-Trump text messages.
I’m going to tell NATO, “You got to start paying your bills. The United States is not going to take care of everything.”
Misleading. NATO’s guideline is that defense expenditures should amount to 2 percent of each country’s gross domestic product by 2024. In 2017, the United States and three other countries met that standard, and Poland spent virtually 2 percent. NATO allies have been steadily boosting defense spending since 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea. In any case, these funds would not be going to the United States or even necessarily to NATO; this is money that countries would spend to bolster their own military.
We’re paying for anywhere from 70 to 90 percent to protect Europe, and that’s fine.
Misleading. The United States is the largest contributor to NATO’s organizational expenses, which includes its headquarters in Brussels and subordinate military commands, but it funds only 22 percent of these programs. Separately, the U.S. defense expenditure represents 72 percent of defense spending across NATO. But this reflects what the United States spends on all military programs, not just those related to Europe.
Of course, they kill us on trade. … They make it impossible to do business in Europe, and yet they come in and they sell their Mercedes and their BMWs to us. So we have $151 billion in trade deficits with the E.U., and on top of that, they kill us with NATO.
False. The European Union is the largest goods trade partner for the United States. Trump has a habit of using trade numbers that factor in only goods, not services. The combined trade deficit with the E.U. was $92 billion in 2016. Although the E.U. imposes a 10 percent tariff on U.S. cars, while the U.S. tariff is 2.5 percent for European cars, tariff rates vary by product and in some cases U.S. tariffs are higher.
So we pay 4 percent of a huge GDP, which got a lot bigger since I became your president.
Misleading. The United States spends close to 4 percent of gross domestic product on defense, but GDP growth under Trump has been par for the course. GDP grew 2.3 percent in 2017, Trump’s first year in office. It grew at a faster rate in three of the years Barack Obama was in office and for much of the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
Germany, which is the biggest country of the E.U., European Union, Germany pays 1 percent.
Mostly accurate. Germany increased its defense spending by 5 percent in 2017, but because the country saw healthy economic growth, defense spending was 1.2 percent of its GDP. German leaders say they plan to reach 1.5 percent by 2024.
And then they go out and make a gas deal, oil and gas, from Russia, where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. Okay, so they want to protect against Russia, and yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia, and we are the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing.
False. Germany in March approved an $11 billion pipeline, Nord Stream 2, to be built by Russian energy giant Gazprom. But the United States is not “paying for the whole thing,” not even by some logic that factors in U.S. spending on NATO. Germany is the second-highest contributor to NATO’s common programs. The United States pays 22 percent of these costs; Germany pays 15 percent.
Since I came, which is a year and a half, almost $33 billion more is projected to be paid by those NATO nations, but it’s not enough.
Misleading. NATO member nations pledged to end defense cuts and began to ramp up spending in 2014, years before Trump took office.
I will tell you, the secretary general, [Jens] Stoltenberg, is Trump’s biggest fan. He says, those NATO nations are going like this, less money, less money. … And when you started talking, it went like a rocket ship.
Mostly accurate. During a visit to Washington in May, Stoltenberg said Trump had made a “real impact” pushing for more defense spending from NATO allies. But, again, this trend began in 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea. And there was no mention of a metaphorical “rocket ship” in Stoltenberg’s public remarks.
I love Russia. I will say this, I am meeting with President Putin next week and getting along — let me tell you, getting along with Russia and getting along with China and getting along with other countries is a good thing.
Misleading. Russia is not a friendly nation to the United States. It has been widely determined by U.S. intelligence agencies, Justice Department officials and congressional investigators that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Take a look at what’s happened. Take a look: We’ve just increased our military spending. We are at $700 billion.
Accurate. The military budget is $700 billion this year.
We’ve become a nation that is exporting energy for the first time.
False. The United States has long been an energy exporter, and since 2015 has exported more than it has imported.
We have North Korea, where you noticed eight months — so, during the Obama administration, it seemed like a missile a week. I mean a lot of missiles going up, a lot of rockets going up, a lot of nuclear testing.
False. North Korea conducted 74 missile tests during the Obama administration, or roughly one test every five and a half weeks. The rate was far higher during Trump’s first year in office: 20 tests, or roughly one test every two and a half weeks.
First of all, we got our prisoners back before I even went, right?
Accurate. North Korea released three American hostages in May, before Trump’s summit with Kim on June 12 in Singapore.
And I didn’t pay $1.8 billion, by the way, in cash. … We paid nothing.
Misleading. Trump is comparing his dealings with North Korea to Obama’s dealings with Iran. The money in question — which was actually $1.7 billion — was Iran’s all along, and was sent by the Obama administration to settle a decades-old claim. U.S. officials insist it was a coincidence that four American hostages, including The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian, were released the same day as the first $400 million tranche was delivered.
We signed a wonderful paper saying they’re going to denuclearize their whole thing. It’s going to all happen.
Misleading. The June 12 joint statement signed by Trump and Kim is vaguely worded and does not ensure that North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons. The Trump administration continues to negotiate parameters with North Korea.
Obama was very close to going to war.
Unsupported. Trump claims Obama told him he was ready to go to war with North Korea, but Obama has never said this.
You have 30 million people in Seoul. It’s 30 miles off the border. And that’s a tough border. Thousands of cannons, they call them. These are big, big guns. I’m not even talking about nuclear. You could have lost 30, 40, 50 million people. You could have had a war like you haven’t had in a long time.
Misleading. North Korea does have thousands of rocket launchers and artillery positioned toward South Korea. According to the Congressional Research Service, these weapons are believed to be able to fire 10,000 rounds per minute at Seoul and kill between 30,000 and 300,000 South Koreans “in the first days of fighting.” The CRS report adds that “an escalation of a military conflict on the peninsula could affect upwards of 25 million people on either side of the border.”
And guess what you have now? Eight months, no nuclear testing, no missiles, no anything.
Misleading. North Korea has not tested missiles since November 2017, but experts say and satellite imagery indicates that its nuclear research efforts have not ceased.
Obama couldn’t meet. They wouldn’t see him.
False. Obama never requested a meeting with North Korea.
So I didn’t have, like [Bill] Clinton, where they gave him billions and billions of dollars and got nothing.
False. Clinton’s administration did not give “billions and billions of dollars” to North Korea. According to PolitiFact, the Clinton administration extended $666 million in aid, and experts say an agreement between the two nations at the time — although it ultimately failed — helped restrain North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.
They [the media] make the sources up. They don’t exist in many cases. Any time you say — you know, I saw one of them said “15 anonymous sources” — I don’t have 15 people in the White House.
False. More than 370 people work in the White House. Trump has a history of speaking anonymously to reporters.
Wages are going up.
Accurate. Wages have been increasing steadily since 2014.
A vote for the Democrats in November is a vote to let MS-13 run wild in our communities. … Democrats want anarchy. They really do.
False. Democrats support measures to tighten border security, but they don’t support Trump’s plans for a border wall or other parts of his aggressive immigration agenda. Democrats don’t support MS-13.
She is a low-IQ individual, Maxine Waters. … She’s somewhere in the mid-60s, I believe that.
There’s no collusion. No collusion. After spending $22 million, it’s awfully tough.
False. The special counsel continues to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and there’s no word yet whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians. It’s not clear where Trump gets this $22 million figure. At last count, the special counsel had reported $17 million in costs, which is inside the norm for such investigations.
And the House just left and they said, “There’s no collusion.” Can you imagine this? It’s all a ruse.
Mostly accurate. The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican majority released a report that found “no evidence” of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. But the report said investigations “by other committees, the special counsel, the media, or interest groups will continue and may find facts that were not readily accessible to the Committee or outside the scope of our investigation.” Democrats on the committee strongly disagreed with the report’s conclusions, noting that there were many documented contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian actors during the campaign.
[The Russia probe] was an excuse for the Democrats who lost an election.
False. The special counsel’s office has indicted or secured plea deals from 20 people and three companies including four former Trump advisers. Plus, the U.S. intelligence agencies have said they have “high confidence” that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Foxconn … they are going to spend like $11 billion, and this is going to be about a $15 billion plant. … Fifteen thousand jobs to Wisconsin.
Misleading. Foxconn is planning to invest $10 billion in a Wisconsin plant and to employ 13,000 workers.
But think of Wisconsin. Reagan had his big win. He won every state except for one, the great state of Wisconsin. I won Wisconsin. First time — first time since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.
False. This is totally ahistorical. Republicans have won Wisconsin six times since 1952. Ronald Reagan won twice in the 1980s. Richard Nixon won three times in the 1960s and 1970s. Eisenhower won in 1956 after winning in 1952.
And we won Michigan. And we won Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina and Florida, we ran up that East Coast.
Mostly accurate. But the Northeastern states and Virginia did not vote for Trump.
Winning the electoral college is very tough for a Republican, much tougher than the so-called popular vote, where people vote four times, you know.
False. Republicans often win the presidency. Trump’s suggestion that he lost the popular vote to Clinton because of voter fraud is not supported by any evidence.
The New York Times was ready to fold. It was going to close. And then I came along.
False. The New York Times was not going to close.
[Elizabeth Warren] proclaims that she’s of Indian heritage because her mother says she has high cheekbones. That’s her only evidence, that her mother said she had high cheekbones.
False. Although there’s no hard evidence to support Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry, she has cited family lore and not just a stray remark from her mother about her cheekbones.
I have broken more Elton John records. He seems to have a lot of records and we beat — and I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument.
False. New York magazine found that Elton John draws much bigger crowds than Trump.
How about the one from The Washington Post? They got there four hours early and the arena hadn’t started even letting people in. So there was just a few people, you all saw that story, I hope. You all saw that story, right? They got there four hours, five hours — this writer, sleazebag — he didn’t get fired. … And I didn’t see this story but you know who saw the story? The people that were in the arena and they went nuts. And they apologized, but you know where they apologized? On Twitter.
False. A Washington Post reporter tweeted a picture of a Trump rally before it filled up, but when he was alerted, he removed the tweet and apologized to Trump on Twitter. The Post did not publish a story that incorrectly described the crowd size at this Trump event.
And by the way, hate to say it, take a look at the pictures for the inauguration. We had some monster crowd. Big, monster — big monster — but take a look at that.
Misleading. Photographs from the National Park Service show a partially filled Mall for Trump’s inauguration.
The new platform of the Democrat party is to abolish ICE. In other words, they want to abolish immigration enforcement entirely. That’s what they want to do.
Misleading. Some Democrats have been calling to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but it’s not a widely held position and some Democrats say the agency should be reformed, not abolished. In any case, ICE is only one of several agencies tasked with immigration enforcement.
When you have these MS-13 thugs come in, ICE goes in and wipes them out like nothing because they’re much tougher. They wipe them out and they liberate towns and on Long Island and other places. You know, it’s like you’re occupied. It’s like a nation is occupying your country.
False. MS-13 has a large presence in Long Island and other places, but it’s a serious exaggeration to say ICE has “liberated” towns from MS-13.
So we’re taking them out by the thousands. And if it weren’t for ICE, we wouldn’t be doing it.
False. There’s no evidence that “thousands” of MS-13 members have been deported. Hundreds, yes. Thousands, no.
These are savage gangs, MS-13 and others.
Accurate. MS-13 is known for its gory violence and a preference for edged weapons.
Getting military funding from these Democrats is almost impossible. They don’t want it, they don’t care about military, they don’t care about our law enforcement. They couldn’t give a damn.
False. Many Democrats voted for the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill Trump signed in March 2018, which provides $700 billion for the military.
We are already building the wall. It started in California, in San Diego, $1.6 billion.
False. Trump has not secured funding for his promised border wall. The $1.6 billion he’s referring to comes with strings attached and cannot be used for the wall. It’s designated for a stretch of bollard-style fencing near San Diego.
We’ve created 3.4 million jobs since Election Day.
Mostly accurate. It’s actually 3.6 million since November 2016, and 3.2 million since Trump took office January 2017.
Unemployment claims are at a 45-year low. African American and Hispanic American unemployment have reached the lowest levels in the history of our country.
Mostly accurate. These numbers fluctuate from month to month, but they have been at historic lows under Trump. However, the black unemployment rate has only been calculated since 1972, and at 6.5 percent, it’s much higher than the 4 percent overall jobless rate. Trump on the campaign trail called the unemployment rate phony, so these claims are flip-flops.
In fact, a new poll came out last week: We were up — in like a week — 10 points with the Hispanic community.
Accurate. One poll found that Trump’s approval among Hispanics had increased 10 percent after he signed an executive order to end family separations at the border. The poll was an online survey of registered voters, and the margin of error was not disclosed.
Unemployment among women is at the lowest level it’s been in 65 years.
Mostly accurate. The unemployment rate for women as of April was the lowest since 1953. But it ticked up in June and is now the lowest in 18 years.
Since the election, we have lifted 3 million people off of food stamps.
Mostly accurate. Data show that 3 million fewer people collect food stamps since the 2016 election, but this trend began before Trump took office. Experts say the decline is not just the result of a stronger economy. Several states have rolled back recession-era waivers that allowed some adults to keep benefits for longer periods of time without unemployment. Reports have also suggested immigrant families with citizen children have dropped out for fear of the administration’s immigration policies.
Wages, for the first time in 18 years, are rising again.
False. Wages have been rising since 2014.
And six months ago, Republicans passed the biggest tax cuts in American history, the biggest in American history.
False. Trump’s tax cut is nearly 0.9 percent of GDP, much smaller than Reagan’s tax cut in 1981, which was 2.89 percent of GDP. Trump’s tax cut is the eighth largest since 1918 — smaller than two tax cuts passed under Obama.
We slashed taxes for working families and saved our family farms. We saved family farms.
False. This is an enormous stretch.
As a result of our tax cuts, $300 billion poured back into the United States just in the first quarter of this year alone. … I think the number’s going to be $5 trillion, but $350 billion has already come back. Apple computer is spending $350 billion on new campuses, on new facilities. They’re bringing back $350 billion. They’re going to actually have — probably, subject to the tax code, about $230 billion come back.
Misleading. Apple announced a five-year investment plan in January that adds up to $350 billion, but some of this investment would have happened with or without Trump’s tax cut. The tech giant appears to be repatriating $252 billion, not $350 billion or $230 billion, in offshore profit under a provision of Trump’s tax legislation.
Ninety-five percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future. That’s the highest number ever.
Misleading. Trump is citing the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that has been surveying members for 20 years. In the latest survey, released in June, medium and large manufacturers’ confidence had increased to 20-year highs but small manufacturers’ confidence had decreased. This survey, however, is not necessarily representative of all manufacturers. NAM members make up 6 percent of manufacturing firms. This is a very low level of coverage for a survey of this kind. The trade group declined to say whether its members are surveyed randomly.
We are allowing businesses to join forces to buy better health care for less money through association health plans. … Millions of people are already signing up.
Mostly false. Trump’s Labor Department has adopted a new rule to allow small businesses to band together to buy health-care plans as long as they share a “common geography or industry.” The Congressional Budget Office estimates that millions of people may switch over to these health plans, but there’s no evidence “millions of people are already signing up.”
After decades of waiting, we opened ANWR in Alaska for energy development.
We’ve eliminated record numbers of job-killing regulations.
Unsupported. There are no reliable data to judge this claim.
We approved the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines right away, 48,000 jobs — 48,000 jobs.
False. Only 90 of these jobs would be permanent, according to estimates from the State Department and the Brookings Institution.
We withdrew from the job-killing Paris Climate accord. … It’s horrible for us — great for other countries, but horrible for us.
Misleading. Each country sets its own commitments under the Paris accord, so Trump’s comment is puzzling. He could unilaterally change the commitments offered by Obama, which is technically allowed under the accord. Plus, as we’ve noted before, Trump ignores any possible benefits that could come from tackling climate change, including potential green jobs.
We took historic action … confirming a record number of circuit court judges.
Accurate. The Senate has confirmed nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals at a record pace, with 21 judges seated in the year and a half Trump has been in office.
Our allies in many cases were worse than our enemies. We opened our country to their goods but they put up massive barriers to keep our products and our goods the hell out of their country because they didn’t want that competition. … We have trade deficits. They have surpluses.
False. It’s not hard to find countries that the United States has a trade surplus with, including close allies such as Canada.
You saw with China, $50 billion and another $200 billion, frankly, is waiting.
Accurate. Trump has set $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods and has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to find $200 billion more.
I respect China … but they’ve been killing us: $507 billion dollars in trade deficits last year.
False. The goods trade deficit with China was $375.6 billion in 2017, a figure that will probably be lower when trade in services is factored into the equation. Moreover, countries do not lose money on trade deficits. A deficit simply means that U.S. consumers bought more Chinese products than vice-versa.
Do you know that if we knocked down the trade deficit, right, the trade deficit, by just a little bit, 25 percent — we can do that easily. If we do that, we pick up one point in GDP? That’s $3 trillion and that’s 10 million jobs. That’s just 25 percent. We pick up one point.
Misleading. Trump makes this sound like a done deal. Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, disputed Trump’s idea that cutting the trade deficit by a quarter is “easy,” noting, “Most economists believe that the trade war cuts both imports and exports, so it’s unlikely to change the trade deficit much.” Plus, with some quick back-of-the-napkin math, Bernstein demonstrated cutting the trade deficit — which is 3 percent of GDP or $600 billion — by 25 percent equals $150 billion not $3 trillion. “As far as jobs,” he told the Fact Checker using a common rule of thumb (Okun’s rule), “A 25 percent decline in the trade deficit would amount to three-quarters a point of GDP or about a 0.4 percentage decrease in the unemployment rate” or 650,000 jobs — not 10 million.
Speaking of GDP, remember when I’d say it’s going to go to 3 percent pretty quickly and all of this? Well now, the Atlanta Fed just predicted 4.8 percent.
Mostly false. GDP grew 2.3 percent in 2017, Trump’s first year in office. It grew 2 percent during the first quarter of 2018. Trump is referencing an unofficial GDP growth forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. This projection changes every few days and was most recently at 3.8 percent for the second quarter.
And every time I meet a leader of another country, which is often, they always start by saying, “Sir, I’d like to congratulate you on the incredible job you’ve done with the United States economy: Japan, South Korea.”
Unsupported. Foreign leaders have not said this publicly, and there’s no evidence they’ve said it in private.
Since the election, we’ve created in wealth, $7 trillion.
Misleading. This appears to be based on the performance of the Russell 3000 Index since Trump’s inauguration. This index includes nearly 98 percent of U.S. stocks, but the market capitalization of the top U.S. companies is not a good indicator of wealth gains for the general population.
We’re the fastest growing nation on an economy basis — maybe it’s for the big nations but I heard “nation.” We’re the fastest growing economically nation in the world.
False. U.S. GDP growth is not the fastest among large nations, according to the World Bank.
We’re taking care of our vets more than anybody’s ever taken care of our vets.
False. Trump’s legislation on veterans builds on what was passed during the Obama administration. The GI bill of 1944 was a much more significant piece of legislation.
America’s being respected again all over the world. It’s been a long time.
False. Polls by Gallup and the Pew Global Attitudes Project show worldwide views of the United States and its president have become more negative since Trump took office. The Washington Post and others have reported that world leaders and allied nations often are baffled or upset by Trump’s moves and pronouncements.
We have people flooding our borders like they haven’t flooded ever before. They’re doing an incredible job, but we’ve never had a rush like this. That’s because people want a piece of our action. They want to come into our economy.
False. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended significantly more people along the southern border in 2014, when immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began to boom. Most of these migrants say they’re journeying to the United States to escape gang violence and crime, not for economic reasons.
All of that money that we’ve secured for our military, all of that I’ve directed the Pentagon to begin a process of creating a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces called the Space Force.
Mostly false. Trump has ordered the creation of a space force. But Congress has not authorized any funding — from the $700 billion in the omnibus spending bill or otherwise — for this new military branch.
We passed a landmark VA accountability law that everybody said could not be passed. … Everyone said it couldn’t be passed, has not been able to be passed for 45 years, and we just got it passed, VA accountability. So now you can fire people when they don’t do a job.
Misleading. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 builds on the firing authority given to the VA secretary through the Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, which was enacted in response to the 2014 Phoenix VA scandal.
And the other thing we just passed a few weeks ago, and you’ve heard me talk about this, I’ve always said, “You know, our greatest people, they’re the greatest people, the vets.” They’ve protected us. Some of them have suffered greatly. And we weren’t taking proper care of them. They were waiting in line for 12 days. … Even if you have, like, a bad cold, you have something, people were going in with nothing much, and they were coming out six months later. They can’t see a doctor. They were coming out with a terminal illness that could’ve been corrected easily. And I said, why are we sending people who can wait for these long periods? Just send them across the street to a local doctor. Get taken care of, and we pay the bill. And everybody said, “We’ve been trying to get that passed for 40 years.” I got it passed three weeks ago.
False. Despite Trump’s claims, veterans are still facing long wait times. A 2018 report by the Government Accountability Office found that veterans referred to Trump’s “choice” program “could potentially wait up to 70 calendar days” to be seen by a doctor, which is not consistent with the requirement that they receive care within 30 days. On average, the study found veterans using the choice program wait 64 days.
Remember [at the United Nations] when we had two votes on something having to do with Israel. I said, “We’re watching. With all the aid we give all these countries, we’re watching.” We ended up getting 68 votes.
False. The U.N. General Assembly voted 128 to 9 to demand the United States rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Together, the abstentions, no votes and absences equaled 65, not 68. Only nine of these were votes.
Because they’re ripping us, they’re taking our money, they don’t even vote for us because they didn’t respect our country, but now they respect them a lot more. And in many cases, they’re not getting that money anymore, too. We stopped it.
Misleading. A 2010 study from the conservative Heritage Foundation found that countries that received foreign aid historically did not always vote with the United States. But other studies show there is at least a casual relationship between aid and votes. The final breakdown of countries that receive aid in fiscal 2018 is still pending, so it’s not clear if the Trump administration has “stopped it,” but aid programs were cut by 4.2 percent for fiscal 2018 over 2017.
Hey, how about the NFL? … I don’t want to cause controversy, but how about they passed this stupid thing. You don’t have to do this anymore. If you don’t respect the flag or if you don’t like the country or whatever it is, just go into the locker room. Just go into the locker room. … So okay, the anthem’s getting ready to play, they run into the locker room, then they come back out.
Misleading. Trump says NFL players would be leaving the field during the national anthem if they opted to protest. The NFL policy actually says players may stay in their locker room, meaning they wouldn’t take the field at all before the anthem plays. Some teams have announced they will not fine players or coaches for kneeling on the sidelines during the anthem despite the NFL’s new policy.
This commissioner [Roger Goodell], where this guy comes from I have no — they’re paying him $40 million a year.
Misleading. Goodell, the NFL commissioner, signed a contract extension in late 2017 worth $200 million over five years if — and this is a big if — all incentives are met and bonuses are granted. Goodell’s base salary reportedly is less than $10 million annually. Plus, over several previous seasons, the commissioner’s salary was cut repeatedly.
[NFL ratings are] down 20 percent since this whole thing started with the flag and the anthem.
False. Trump started commenting on NFL players kneeling in the fall of 2017. Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who first knelt during the anthem, began protesting in 2016. Ratings fell 9 percent in 2017 and 17 percent since 2016, according to Nielsen. But that roughly tracks with an overall decline in TV viewership and experts say that the protests were not the primary reason the ratings declined.
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