Trump made 50 false claims last week. Thirteen were related to Democrats’ Ukraine-centric impeachment inquiry. This was the fifth consecutive week that Trump made more false claims about the impeachment inquiry or Ukraine than about any other subject.
Fifty false claims from the President in seven days is not good, per se, but it is an improvement from his recent barrage of dishonesty, which included an October week of 129 false claims.
Fifty false claims is the fourth-lowest total for the 17 weeks we have fact checked at CNN since July 8
Trump made 16 of the 50 false claims at his campaign rally in Mississippi. He made 11 on Twitter.
The most egregious false claims: On the whistleblower
The whistleblower who complained about Trump’s Ukraine-related behavior has been the primary target of his multi-front effort to rewrite the reality of the story.
Just last week, Trump said on three more occasions that the whistleblower’s account of his phone call with the president of Ukraine was “sooo wrong” and “very inaccurate” (in fact, the rough transcript Trump released proved the whistleblower’s account was highly accurate); that the whistleblower “has disappeared” (no); and that Democrat Adam Schiff was, somehow, the one to “pick” the whistleblower (also no).
The most revealing false claim: The Dunns’ non-meeting
Trump, a former reality television star who has demonstrated better instincts for drama than for empathy, apparently tried to stage a surprise encounter between Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, and the parents of Harry Dunn, the British 19-year-old who was killed in a car crash in which police believe Sacoolas was involved.
The Dunns had accepted an invitation to the White House. They were aghast, though, when Trump unexpectedly told them Sacoolas was also in the building, and they declined Trump’s offer to bring her into the room.
Trump compounded the offense in an interview on British radio last week with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Trump said: “Well, I had a meeting set up but all of a sudden, I guess, lawyers got involved. But I had a meeting set up.”
There was never a meeting set up, said family spokesman Radd Seiger, who told CNN that Trump’s claim was “a lie.”
The most absurd false claim: The CNN camera
We’ve already delved into this one, so we won’t belabor the point, but let’s think about it one more time.
The President looked at his supporters at the Mississippi rally, pointed at the back of the room, and told them he had just seen something: the light on CNN’s camera being turned off as he criticized CNN.
He had not seen that. CNN’s photojournalist on the scene has his “tally light” permanently set to off, so it is never visible, and he never stopped recording as Trump was speaking.
Trump lies a lot about policy and politics. To lie that he is seeing something he is not seeing is next-level weird.
Below is this week’s full list of 50 false claims, starting with the ones we haven’t included in a weekly update before:
The Ukraine scandal and impeachment
Adam Schiff and the whistleblower
“Didn’t he pick the Whistleblower?” — November 2 tweet
Facts First: While the whistleblower did seek guidance from the staff of the House Intelligence Committee (which Schiff chairs) before filing an official complaint, that is not at all the same thing as Schiff somehow “picking” the whistleblower.
Polling on impeachment
“The impeachment polls have been very, very strong — and especially in the swing states, I think you see that. The swing states — they don’t want to hear about it. And we have polls — people don’t want to hear about impeachment. The only one that wants impeachment — to talk about it — is the fake media and the Democrats, who — basically, they work for the media.” — November 3 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
Facts First: Swing-state polling on impeachment by the New York Times and Siena College in October did contain some good news for Trump: the pollsters found that in the six closest states Trump won in 2016, registered voters “oppose impeaching Mr. Trump and removing him from office, 53 percent to 43 percent.”
But Trump exaggerated when he said that only Democrats and the media even want to talk about impeachment. Those same swing-state polls found that 50% of registered voters supported Democrats’ impeachment inquiry versus 45% who were opposed; among independents, it was 51% support to 43% opposition.
In some recent polls by prominent pollsters, including Gallup and Quinnipiac University, more independents have supported impeaching Trump and removing him from office than independents who opposed the idea. Other polls have found that more independents are opposed; even in those polls, though, there has been substantial support among independents for impeachment and removal.
A quote from Guy Lewis
“‘Adam Schiff has taken all of the power for himself. That is very unfair. There were dozens of people on this call, yesterdays witness knew that and had no problems (nor did any of them). Facts matter, and that’s why this is not about Impeachment.’ Guy Lewis, former prosecutor @FoxNews” — November 1 tweets
Facts First: Trump added his own comments into this quote. In this segment on Fox News, Lewis did not say Schiff had “taken all of the power for himself” or mention anything witnesses supposedly “knew.”
Lewis actually said the Democrats’ resolution to establish procedures for their impeachment inquiry gave Schiff “almost unfettered power in terms of what information gets released, what documents get subpoenaed, what witnesses get subpoenaed.” He did not say the words “taken all of the power for himself.” When Lewis referred to the “dozens of people on this call,” he did not say that “yesterday’s witness knew that and had no problems (nor did any of them)”; he simply said “there were dozens of people on this call listening and there was nothing illegal discussed.”
Joe Biden, Burisma and the golf photo
Trump suggested that one of Joe Biden’s claims related to his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine had been contradicted by a photo of Biden posing at a golf course with Hunter Biden and two other men. Trump claimed Joe Biden had said “I never met the people, never met the gentleman,” but then, “in about 10 seconds, a picture came out where they’re playing golf together.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: The photo did not contradict anything Biden had said.
Trump appeared to be referring, as he has previously, to Devon Archer, one of the other men in the photo. Archer is a longtime business associate of Hunter Biden who served with Hunter on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma. Joe Biden never said he had never met Devon Archer.
Trump has previously claimed that the photo showed Biden golfing with the “company boss” of Burisma, which it does not. (There is a fourth man in the photo who has not been identified, but he is not Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky or top executive Taras Burdeinyi.)
The United Kingdom
Trump’s meeting with the Queen
“No, I really did and you know I met the Queen as a second time and the first time everything is so perfect and we got along so well and I was supposed to be there for 16.3 minutes. You know, I kid when I say that, but like 15 or 16 minutes, everything was so precise, and I was there for more than an hour and I came out.” — October 31 interview with Nigel Farage on LBC
Facts First: Trump’s 2018 tea with the Queen was not scheduled for a “precise” 15 or 16 minutes; it was scheduled for 30 minutes, according to various UK and US news outlets. It lasted for 47 minutes or 48 minutes, news outlets reported. (We might let this little claim go if Trump had been speaking informally, but he specifically claimed the “15 or 16 minutes” was a “precise” figure.)
The Dunn family
“Well, I had a meeting set up but all of a sudden, I guess, lawyers got involved. But I had a meeting set up. They were both in the White House.” — October 31 interview with Nigel Farage on LBC
Facts First: The family of a UK teen, Harry Dunn, who was killed in a collision with a car police believe was driven by Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat, had never agreed to any meeting “set up” by Trump, family spokesman Radd Seiger said. Seiger told CNN that Trump’s claim was “a lie.”
What happened, Seiger said in an interview, is that Trump surprised the family during its visit to the White House by unexpectedly telling them that Sacoolas was in a nearby room.
Seiger said he had received a phone call from a White House aide inviting the family to meet with a “senior government official” whose name the aide would not disclose. The official turned out to be Trump himself.
“If the aide had said, ‘We’ve got the driver, would you like to come and meet her,’ I would have said, ‘Respectfully, now is not the right time,'” Seiger said. “We weren’t told what the reason for the meeting was. We were just simply asked to come down.”
Dunn’s parents were “terrified” when Trump told them he had Sacoolas in the building ready for a meeting, Seiger said, and he told Trump that they did not want to meet her at the moment.
Brexit and trade with the UK
“We’re far and away the number-one economy in the world. And if you do it [Brexit] a certain way, we’re prohibited from trading with the UK. That would be very bad for the UK because we can do much more business than the European Union.” — November 3 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
Facts First: The US would not be prohibited from trading with the United Kingdom under any proposed form of Brexit deal. Steve Peers, a University of Essex law professor who is an expert on European Union law and trade law, called Trump’s claim a “lie.”
“The withdrawal agreement between the EU and UK would mean the UK staying in the EU’s customs union and trade policy for a transition period to the end of 2020, with a possible extension of one or two years. This would mean the UK trading as it does now with the US; trade between the two countries is obviously not currently prohibited. After that it would be up to the UK what happens,” Peers said in an email.
Peers added: “It may have been that Trump meant that *some* trade would be prevented, but that’s not what he said; or that a trade *deal* would be prevented.”
Trump said in an interview last week with Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, that “under certain aspects of the deal, you can’t do it. You can’t do it. You can’t trade.” But he quickly added, “I mean, we can’t make a trade deal with the UK.”
So perhaps that was what he meant here too — but Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government rejected even that claim. “The PM’s deal takes back control of our money, laws and border and allows us to do trade deals with any country we chose – including the US,” the BBC reported that a spokesman for Johnson said.
“But listen, CNN, the worst. I mean the worst, the worst. Oh, their light just went off, see? What — the light was on, they just — they don’t like it. You know it’s tough. Your fake CNN — no, it’s tough. I tried not to do that because I see their light on. You know, when their light goes on that means you’re live. No, that means you’re live, and every time — it’s tough. Look, in all fairness…It’s hard to be broadcasting that when you’re talking about the network that has you on, right?” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: CNN’s photojournalist at the rally did not stop recording as Trump criticized CNN. Also, the light on his camera is set so that it does not go on and off at all. CNN did not carry the rally live on television at all, and it did not stop its live online stream as Trump criticized CNN.
Trump did not make an innocent mistake: this is at least the eighth time as President he has made a baseless claim about the lights on television cameras being turned off as he has criticized the media.
Unemployment in Mississippi
“Unemployment in Mississippi has reached the lowest rate ever recorded, ever recorded.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: This was true last year and early this year, but it is not true now. Mississippi’s unemployment rate went as low as 4.7% last fall, which was indeed a record, but it has since increased to 5.4% — higher than it was during portions of 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the same as it was during portions of 1979. The official White House Twitter account offered a correct version of the claim, saying the state’s unemployment rate “hit its lowest level EVER last year!”
The jobs report
“Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out, adjusted for revisions and the General Motors strike, 303,000. This is far greater than expectations. USA ROCKS!” — November 1 tweet
Facts First: Trump’s figure was an exaggeration.
The jobs report released the morning of Trump’s tweet showed that 128,000 jobs were added in October. The August and September figures were revised to add another 95,000 jobs. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that the strike at General Motors affected 46,000 jobs in October.
Add all of those together and you get 269,000. So how did Trump get 303,000?
According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the GM strike hit 60,000 jobs, not 46,000, because “the negative effects of the strike reverberated throughout the economy.” And the White House decided not to count the elimination of the 20,000 temporary jobs for Census workers that ended in October.
This decision on the Census job numbers bewildered economists. When those 20,000 people were hired, the White House didn’t say they shouldn’t count toward Trump’s total on the grounds that they were temporary. Trump cannot fairly include them when they are being created and ignore them when they are disappearing.
“The statement makes little sense and is not tethered to any empirical reality,” Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, told Politico of Trump’s tweet.
It is possible that the GM strike did cause more than 46,000 October job reductions, but it is far from certain that the number of additional reductions was 14,000. The New York Times said the White House’s 60,000 total was “larger than most independent estimates.”
The mass shooting in Dayton
“And, last month, I was profoundly honored to award the Medal of Valor to the six police officers who brought down the mass shooter in Dayton, Ohio, in 29 seconds. I don’t know how many people saw that, but I thought it was incredible. And he’s — he did a lot of destruction. But he would — it would’ve been the worst in history. Twenty-nine — I’ll never forget the scene. They showed four of them going down the street; there were six altogether. But it was on tape…They were shooting so fast. Twenty-nine seconds — he was dead.” — October 28 speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police
Facts First: Dayton police said they shot the mass murderer, Connor Betts, 32 seconds after he began his August attack, not 29 seconds. Trump himself said while awarding the officers with Medals of Valor in September, “Within 32 seconds of the start of the attack, these six officers ended the violent rampage and saved countless lives. “
Trump might well have been sincerely mistaken this time, but since he said “29” three times here, and the shooting was a situation in which each second was important.
Crime in Chicago
Told that Chicago leaders “would say that crime numbers are down this year, that they’ve made progress,” Trump responded, “Sure, down from what? Down from the highest crime numbers we’ve ever had.” — October 28 interview with ABC 7 Chicago
Facts First: Chicago had been experiencing a serious problem with homicide and other violent crime the year before Trump took office, but Trump was hyperbolic in describing the city’s previous numbers as “the highest crime numbers we’ve ever had.” Even before the declines of 2017, 2018 and the first 10 months of 2019, crime numbers were significantly lower in 2016 than they were at several previous points in the city’s history.
In 2016, there were 769 homicides in Chicago. Trump could have accurately said that was nearly a two-decade record — it was the highest number since 1997. But it was far from the highest number “ever”: 2016 ranked 19th in terms of the number of Chicago homicides, according to the Chicago Tribune. In 1974, for example, there were 940 homicides by the Tribune’s count (which often differs slightly from the police count because of differences in methodology. And the Chicago homicide rate, which takes population into account, was higher in nine individual years than it was in 2016, according to Tribune data.
Chicago and the decline in homicide
“Over the last two years, the number of murders in America and America’s major cities has dropped, unlike here, by more than 10%. And if we ever took the Chicago numbers out of our total numbers, the numbers would be incredible. And they already are — even including Chicago.” — October 28 speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police
Facts First: Trump was entirely inaccurate about Chicago’s role in the national decline in homicide between 2016 and 2018. Though Chicago does have a high number of homicides, it saw a significant decline between those two years — a bigger decline than for the country as a whole. In other words, the decline in Chicago’s numbers improved, rather than worsened, the overall national percentage change.
The number of homicides in the US dropped from 17,413 in 2016 to 16,214 in 2018, according to the FBI’s annual report; that’s a 6.9% decline, not a decline of more than 10%. We don’t yet have numbers for this year, though, so we won’t call Trump incorrect on that point — and Trump might have simply slipped when he first said “in America” rather than simply “in America’s major cities.” Depending on how you define “major cities” and when you start and finish counting, he might be correct.
Regardless: the national decline would actually be smaller, not larger, if Chicago’s numbers were removed from the equation. Chicago had 769 homicides in 2016 and 565 in 2018 — a 27% decline, much larger than the figure for the whole country. In 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Chicago’s decline in 2017 was responsible for more than half the entire national decline in 2017.
Jim Hood and illegal immigration
“He [Jim Hood] supports illegal immigration…” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: We also give Trump wide latitude to express opinions about political opponents, but there is no basis for saying Hood, the Democratic attorney general and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in Mississippi, “supports illegal immigration.”
Hood’s opponent, Republican winner Tate Reeves, argued that Hood has been insufficiently tough in enforcing laws related to illegal immigration; that’s a matter of opinion. But Trump’s claim that Hood “supports illegal immigration” is groundless.
Here are the claims Trump made last week that we have previously fact checked in one of these weekly roundups:
The Ukraine scandal and impeachment
The rough transcript
“They tried to take that conversation and make it into a big scandal. The problem was we had it transcribed. It was an exact transcription of the conversation.” — October 28 exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure
“We have a transcript. There was an exact transcript of the meeting. And anybody that reads the transcripts understands. It was a perfect phone call with the Ukrainian president, who is a very fine man, a very nice person.” — October 31 interview with Nigel Farage on LBC
Facts First: The document released by the White House explicitly says, on the first page, that it is not an exact transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky.
In testimony in late October, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said that he tried to make edits to the document to include two things that were said on the call but not included in the document, a source told CNN.
Trump appeared to inadvertently use the word “meeting” in his interview with Farage; he quickly made clear he was talking about the phone call.
People talking about Trump’s Ukraine call
“The conversation was perfect. They don’t ever talk about the conversation.” — October 28 exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure
Facts First: Trump didn’t specify who “they” were, but the claim is inaccurate enough to call it false anyway. Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was the subject of widespread discussion among members of Congress and in the media at the time. It was a central focus of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry
The accuracy of the whistleblower
“…when they saw what the whistleblower wrote, and then when I released the conversation, which bore no relationship to what the whistleblower saw, they said their case was out the window. And I think it’s a disgrace.” And: “So, in a nutshell, a whistleblower wrote a false narrative of the conversation. ” — October 28 exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure
“Well, the whistleblower gave a very inaccurate report.” And: “I don’t know why the media is not on it, because the whistleblower gave a very inaccurate report about my phone call.” And: “The whistleblower gave a false report. And because of that false report, people thought bad things were done.” And: “But the whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories. Some people would call it a fraud; I won’t go that far. But when I read it closely, I probably would.” — November 3 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
“The Whistleblower got it sooo wrong that HE must come forward.” — November 3 tweet
Facts First: The whistleblower’s account of the call has largely been proven accurate. In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct.
You can read a full fact check here.
Schiff’s comments and the law
“And Adam Schiff went before Congress, and Adam Schiff, what he did, will never be forgotten. He made up a conversation that was a phony fabrication. It was a fraud. And people shouldn’t be allowed to get away. They say he has immunity because he’s a member of Congress. People shouldn’t be allowed to do that. That’s a criminal act. What he did is a criminal act.” — October 28 exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure
“The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff, when he totally made up my phone conversation with the Ukrainian President and read it to Congress, together with numerous others on Shifty’s side. Schiff should be Impeached, and worse!”– October 28 tweet
Facts First: While it’s fair for Trump to be miffed about Schiff’s comments at a congressional committee meeting — Schiff’s mix of near-quotes from Trump, his own analysis, and supposed “parody” was at the very least confusing — Schiff’s words were not illegal or criminal. The Constitution includes a specific provision that allows members of Congress to speak freely during official meetings.
Trump briefly acknowledged that “they say he has immunity,” but he then proceeded to insist Schiff committed a crime anyway.
The timing Schiff’s comments
“And just to finish it off, Adam Schiff went up before Congress and he made my words. He didn’t copy what I said. He didn’t know them, probably, at the time. Nobody thought I was going to release the conversation. I got the approval from Ukraine. Once I released the conversation, this thing all died.” — October 28 exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure
“And then you had Schiff go out and speak before Congress and before the American people and give a false story. He made up a story. And then I released after — after all this was done, I released, and everybody said, ‘He didn’t do anything wrong.”– November 3 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
Facts First: Schiff made his comments at a congressional committee hearing about Trump’s call with Zelensky the day after Trump released the rough transcript, not before. Before he started claiming that Schiff did not expect a transcript to be released, Trump had complained that Schiff did not read the transcript available to him.
It is obviously false that “everybody” said ‘He didn’t do anything wrong’ after Trump released the rough transcript of the call, or that “this thing all died” after he did so.
“‘There is no underlying crime in that transcript.’@IngrahamAngle100% correct, and the Whistleblower disappeared after I released the transcript of the call. Where is the Whistleblower?” — October 28 tweet
“The Whistleblower has disappeared. Where is the Whistleblower?” — November 2 tweet
Facts First: There is no evidence that either the first whistleblower (who filed the complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine) or the second whistleblower (whose lawyers say they have firsthand information corroborating claims made by the first whistleblower) are now somehow “gone,” let alone that they are “gone” because the first whistleblower was shown to be inaccurate.
“The whistleblowers have not vanished,” Bradley Moss, a colleague of Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the two whistleblowers, said on Twitter.
Mexican soldiers and the border
“And I want to thank the country of Mexico. They right now have 27,000 soldiers on our borders; 27,000; do you know that is? And they are keeping people out — and I want to thank the president of Mexico.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Trump exaggerated how many are being stationed near the US border in particular. CNN reported on November 2: “Nearly 15,000 troops are deployed to Mexico’s northern border, where they’ve set up 20 checkpoints, Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said last week at a press briefing on the country’s security strategy. At the southern border, 12,000 troops are deployed and have set up 21 checkpoints.”
Acting US Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan has offered similar numbers, telling reporters in September that 10,000 of approximately 25,000 troops were on Mexico’s own southern border.
Democrats and undocumented immigrants
“They want to give these people that come into our country illegally more advantages than our own citizens have, more advantages than our own military has.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: There is no apparent basis for this claim. Some Democrats want to give undocumented immigrants the same access to health care and other programs that citizens have, not more.
It was not clear who Trump was talking about when he referred to “our own military.” He repeatedly claimed during the presidential election that undocumented immigrants were being treated better than veterans; a Washington Post fact check concluded that this claim was “absurd.”
Popularity and accomplishments
Approval with Republicans
“95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, a record. Thank you!” — October 29 tweet
“I’m the highest rated person in the history of the Republican Party — came out the other day, 95%; I have a 95% approval rating in the Republican Party…” — October 31 interview with Nigel Farage on LBC
“Republicans have never been more unified, and my Republican Approval Rating is now 95%!” — November 3 tweet
Facts First: Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is very high, regularly in the 80s and sometimes creeping into the 90s, but it has not been 95% in any recent major poll we could find. And his approval rating with Republicans is not a record.
Trump was at 90% approval with Republicans in a CNN poll conducted from October 17-20, 83% with Republicans in a Quinnipiac University poll conducted from October 17-21, 74% with Republicans in a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted from October 27-30, and 83% in an Ipsos/Reuters poll conducted October 28-29.
Trump’s approval with Republicans is not a record. Gallup’s website features data on approval rating by party for every president since Harry Truman. George W. Bush has the record for Republican approval over this 74-year period: he hit 99% after the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. His father, George H.W. Bush, hit 97% at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Dwight Eisenhower all went higher than 90%.
“…and we ended the war on American energy. We are now the number one producer of energy by far, anywhere in the world.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: The US has not just “now” become the world’s top energy producer, and it did not achieve this status because of Trump’s policies: it took the top spot in 2012, under the very president he has accused of perpetuating the “war.” The US became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump’s tenure.
“We passed VA choice…People said it couldn’t be done, VA Choice.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: President Barack Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014; in 2018, Trump signed another bill, the VA MISSION Act, that expanded and modified the Choice program.
“And last year, drug overdose deaths fell for the first time in nearly 31 years. It’s a great thing.” — October 28 speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police
Facts First: This was yet another of Trump’s trademark small exaggerations. Media outlets reported that overdose deaths had declined in 2018 for the first time since 1990, or 28 years, according to preliminary data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
We might be inclined to let this go if Trump did not do such exaggerating so frequently. As he did in the same speech with drug prices, he regularly adds additional years to his accomplishments.
Trade and China
China’s economic performance
“They had the worst year that they’ve had in 57 years.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: China’s second-quarter GDP growth of 6.2% and third-quarter GDP growth of 6% were its worst since 1992, 27 years ago.
Trump has repeatedly made clear that he knows that 27 years is the reported figure, but he has added additional years for no apparent reason.
Who is paying for Trump’s tariffs on China
Trump claimed that the tariff revenue being allocated to farmers who have been affected by his trade war with China is coming “compliments of China.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
The history of tariffs on China
“So, we will have pretty soon, over $100 billion in money paid into the United States Treasury by a country that never gave us 10 cents, they only took.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: Again, these tariffs are paid by Americans. Aside from the question of who is paying, it’s not true that the Treasury has never received “10 cents” from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries; the Treasury received $14 billion from tariffs on China in 2014, to look at one pre-Trump year.
Trump’s claim also ignores China’s hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases of US goods — more than $300 billion during Trump’s presidency alone.
“Pretty soon” is subjective, but the US had generated just over $35 billion from Trump’s new tariffs on China as of October 30, according to official data published by Customs and Border Protection.
“I hope they approve USMCA. It’s in there. It’s a great agreement for the United States, for our farmers, for our manufacturers, for unions, for everything. It’s been approved by Mexico and Canada. They’re waiting.” — October 28 exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure
Facts First: Mexico’s Senate has voted to approve the USMCA trade agreement, but Canada’s Parliament has not. (The agreement is highly unlikely to be rejected by Parliament, but still, the voting has not happened yet.)
Michelle Obama and the 2018 campaign in Georgia
“…Stacey Abrams, who by the way, went down to defeat in front of a terrific gentleman from the great state of Georgia, Brian Kemp. And they came in with — oh, they brought them all. They had President Obama, they had Michelle Obama, they had Oprah Winfrey, they came in, and all he (Republican Brian Kemp) had was Donald Trump, and we won.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: Michelle Obama did not campaign for Abrams at all, though Barack Obama and Winfrey did.
Rep. Al Green’s comments
“And they know they can’t win. So, let’s try and impeach him. How about that crazy Representative Al Green, right? You know, ‘We’ve got to impeach him because we can’t beat him.’ I don’t think so, right? I don’t think so.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: Trump was at least slightly exaggerating Green’s comments. In May, Green said this: “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this President, he will get reelected.” In September, when Trump previously claimed Green had said “we can’t” beat Trump without impeachment, Green told CNN, “I never said we can’t beat the President.”
Democrats and borders
Trump said on two occasions that the Democrats have a policy of “open borders.”
Facts First: Even 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump suggests.
Forests and fires in California
“And what she’s (Nancy Pelosi) done — and what she’s done for that district — and then, on top of it, you’ve got fires eating away at California every year because management is so bad.” — November 3 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
“The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him…. Also, open up the ridiculously closed water lanes coming down from the North. Don’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean. Should be done immediately. California desperately needs water, and you can have it now!” ” — November 3 tweet
Facts First: While exact causes have yet to be determined, most of the California fires of recent weeks occurred in suburban or residential areas. CAL FIRE spokesman Scott McLean told CNN that only one of the blazes which appeared to prompt the President’s response could be considered a forest fire. “A lot of our wildland fires are strictly that,” McLean said.
California firefighters were not experiencing any issues with their supply of water as they fought the blazes, McLean said.
Further, the federal government owns more than half of California’s forest land. And scientists say climate change is a significant contributing factor to the wildfire problem in California.
You can read our full fact check here.
Trump and Brexit
“I think it’s a good thing for the UK. The concept of what they’re doing. I was in favor of it [Brexit] originally. Remember, I was out opening up Turnberry at the time and we had a massive amount of press more than you would normally have for opening a — a club, and I said that it was going to pass and everybody laughed, and I was right.” — October 31 interview with Nigel Farage on LBC
Facts First: Trump was not at his Turnberry golf club in Scotland before the Brexit vote in June 2016; he visited the club and spoke to the press the day after the vote. (He might just have been forgetting, but he has made repeated false claims about his trip to Scotland and his comments on Brexit.)
Trump did predict in March 2016 that the United Kingdom would vote to leave the European Union. The day before the vote three months later, however, he made no prediction. He said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, “I don’t think anybody should listen to me,” because “I haven’t really focused on it very much,” but that his “inclination” would be that Britain should vote to leave the European Union.
“I want to thank you, President Obama, for giving me 142 open judges. How you allowed that to happen is beyond me. It’s beyond me.” — October 28 speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police
“In a very short while, we’ll have 182 federal judges. President Obama left us 142. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, President Obama. He left us 142 openings. Can you believe that? You’re supposed to leave none when you leave office, but that didn’t work out too well.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: Trump exaggerated. There were 104 judicial vacancies on January 1, 2017, just before Trump was inaugurated, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments.
Trump is entitled to his opinion on what “you’re supposed to leave,” but it is normal for presidents to leave some judicial vacancies to their successors. According to Wheeler, there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office; 107 vacancies on January 1, 1993, just before Bill Clinton took office.
The unemployment rate
“Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over 51 years, soon to be historic.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: This is Trump’s usual slight exaggeration of an already-impressive number. The 3.6% unemployment rate for October is the lowest in just under 50 years (if you ignore the fact that it was slightly lower, 3.5%, in September).
“I will always protect Medicare for our seniors, and we will always protect patients with preexisting conditions, always. We will always take care of them.” — November 1 campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi
Facts First: We usually don’t fact-check promises, but this one has already proved untrue. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions; Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void, and he has not issued a plan to reinstate the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the suit succeeds.
Louisiana auto insurance
Trump said the Democratic governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, had done a poor job with automotive insurance, which Trump said was “highest in nation.” — October 30 tweet
Facts First: Louisiana has the second-highest average annual car insurance premiums in the country, not the highest, according to Insure.com rankings regularly cited by Louisiana news outlets. Michigan has ranked first for six consecutive years, Louisiana second for three consecutive years.
According to Insure.com, the average Michigan premium for 2019 was $2,611; the average Louisiana premium was $2,298. The national average was $1,457.
Military spending and NATO
Trump claimed that the US is spending “4%” of gross domestic product on defense, “twice as much as we should be and we’re supposed to” under NATO’s goal of having each member spend 2% of GDP on defense. — October 31 interview with Nigel Farage on LBC
Facts First: This was another slight exaggeration. The US is spending an estimated 3.42% of its gross domestic product on defense in 2019, according to official NATO estimates from June. The US is exceeding NATO’s 2% guideline by 71%.