Naturally, he made 84 false claims.
Trump added 15 false claims in exchanges with reporters, six in two interviews with New Hampshire media and 10 on Twitter.
The most egregious false claim: Google and the election
Coincidentally or not, Trump’s latest sensational and inaccurate allegation of nefarious behavior came after Fox Business aired a segment on the subject.
The most revealing false claim: Michigan Man
The most absurd false claim: The time of day
During his energy speech on Tuesday, Trump looked at the crowd and said: “That’s a lot of people back there for a — like an 11 o’clock speech. That’s a lot of people.”
We don’t know if he was lying or just confused, but it was not 11 o’clock.
He made the comment at about 2:40 p.m. The speech was scheduled for 2:10 p.m.
Here is this week’s full list:
Voter fraud in California
Facts First: There is no evidence that there was mass voter fraud involving dead people or anyone else in California in 2016.
“The Judicial Watch settlement provided no evidence of fraud whatsoever,” said Rick Hasen, an expert in elections law and a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine.
Google and votes
Facts First: Trump was wrong about this study’s findings, and the study itself has major flaws.
Though the study alleges “bias” in Google search results, its author says there is no evidence Google “manipulated” either search results or election results to favor Clinton. Also, critics of the study note that it did not establish a link between search results and voting behavior in presidential elections.
Energy and the environment
The Department of Energy explains that although power grid operators need to account for the variability that comes with using wind and solar power, they know how to manage, since “all forms of power generation,” including non-renewable sources, “may sometimes not operate when called upon.”
James Manwell, professor and director of the Wind Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in response to a previous version of this Trump claim: “No one is suggesting that the wind alone would supply all the electricity in any large electricity network. It could supply a very large fraction, however, with no adverse impacts.”
“And we’re not taking chances. And we have the cleanest air and water we’ve ever had in our country right now. The cleanest we’ve ever had.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: By several measures, US air was cleaner under Obama than it’s been under Trump.
Though there were significantly more “unhealthy air days” in Obama’s first term than there have been in Trump’s, the lowest amount of unhealthy air days — 598 — occurred in 2014 under Obama.
Hillary Clinton on coal and steel
“Remember, she wanted to close up all coal. She was in an area where they didn’t do the coal. And she said, ‘Well, I look forward to closing up all coal. It’s going to be closed. Steel — going to be in big trouble.’ She forgot: In three weeks, she was going to West Virginia. That didn’t work out too well.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Louisiana LNG plant
“But this is just the beginning. My administration is clearing the way for other massive, multi-billion-dollar investments. We just did one in Louisiana. It’s a $10 billion plant. There’s more pipes in that plant that I’ve ever seen in my life…And you haven’t had a plant like that built in this country, really, ever, because there’s never been anything that big. But you didn’t build plants like that because, environmentally, they weren’t letting you. And yet, environmentally, it’s so good what they’ve done and what they can build today.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: The permits for the facility Trump visited were granted by the Obama administration.
The facility made its first shipment in late May.
“We have the greatest resources, which really came about over the last few years. Nobody knew this. Fracking made it possible. Other new technologies made it possible. And now we’re the number-one — think of it, as I said — the number-one energy producer in the world. I’m so proud of that because we wouldn’t have been number five. They were going to close it up. They were going to close it up.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
China’s oil and gas production
“We’re lucky. You go to places like China, they don’t have oil and gas. They don’t have it under their — they have to go buy it and then they devalue their currency and manipulate their currency. And that costs them a fortune to go out and buy it. They hurt themselves in the long run.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: China is among the world’s leading producers of both oil and natural gas.
Obama and fracking
“The last administration tried to shut down Pennsylvania coal and Pennsylvania fracking.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
A representative for Marcellus Protest, a volunteer activist group in Western Pennsylvania, called Trump’s claim “pure invention,” saying in an email, “We have no evidence or recollection that the Obama administration did anything at all to ‘shut down…Pennsylvania fracking.’ To the contrary, President Obama will be remembered for describing his energy policy as ‘all of the above.’ ” (The representative asked to be quoted anonymously because the group does not have a single designated spokesperson.)
Pennsylvania ethane cracker plant
“It was the Trump administration that made it possible. No one else. Without us, you would never have been able to do this.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
“And we have incredible things going on in Pennsylvania. We just opened up a $10 billion plant. We have many of them going up. A lot of jobs…Pennsylvania, would have never happened, they wouldn’t have allowed them to frack. So they would have never been able to build it. But what a place that is.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Shell announced in June 2016, during the Obama administration, that it had made a final decision to build the plant. A federal regulatory commission chaired by a Trump appointee did approve a pipeline that will feed ethane to the plant, but Trump is wrong to take sole credit for the plant.
Shell has said that the key factors in its decision to build in Pennsylvania were the proximity to low-cost ethane, proximity to customers, and tax incentives from the state government.
Shell’s US president did give Trump credit when introducing him before his speech at the plant on Tuesday, saying, “We couldn’t do this without the President’s focus, also, on energy infrastructure. That focus has enabled us to break ground on the Falcon pipeline.” Still, “no one else” is an obvious exaggeration.
“Mortgage rates are at an all-time low.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: Certain mortgage rates are the lowest they’ve been during Trump’s administration but not the lowest of all-time.
“You know, you say you want low taxes, good education, strong military, strong borders, you want to have safe homes, you want a house, you want low interest rates, you got low — hey, you got low interest rates, the lowest ever.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“Borrowing costs are at an all-time low.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: Interest rates are low by historical standards, but they are not at a record low.
Asian American unemployment
“And you’ve heard me say it, but now it’s even better. Numbers just came out. African American unemployment — lowest in history. Asian American, Hispanic American — lowest in the history of our country.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
“Unemployment for African Americans — you’ve heard me say this many times, I’m very proud of it — Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans have all reached their lowest rates ever recorded in the history of our country.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Trump was accurate about the black and Hispanic unemployment rates, but not the rate for Asians.
Black Americans are at their lowest unemployment rate since the government began tracking employment statistics for them using its current methodology (in the 1970s); Hispanic Americans were slightly lower earlier in Trump’s term, but he can still accurately say they have not been lower under a previous president.
However, the rate for Asians was 2.8% in July — higher than the 2.6% rate in December 2016, Obama’s last full month in office.
“The energy revolution is also creating new jobs in West Virginia, [New] Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, all across our beautiful land. You have no idea what’s going on, including, as I said before, car companies. We didn’t make cars.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
“Remember President Obama, ‘You need magic to bring back manufacturing jobs. You need a magic wand.’ You remember? ‘Not going to happen.’ Well, so far, we’ve brought back 600,000 manufacturing jobs.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
In addition, Obama did not say that creating manufacturing jobs was “not going to happen.” He did say that some manufacturing jobs were gone for good, but he also boasted of how many were still being created.
But Obama didn’t say all manufacturing was gone. He also noted that some manufacturers were indeed coming back, and he boasted that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I’ve been President than any time since the 1990s” and that “we actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today, than we’ve had in most of our history.”
Michigan’s auto industry
Telling a story about his 2016 campaign in Michigan and his past complaints about automotive companies leaving the state, Trump claimed, “We have 17 companies now coming back in.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Trump was vague on what he meant by companies, but there are not 17 automakers operating in Michigan, and an expert on the industry says there have not been 17 auto companies of any kind that have left and come back.
“There are not 17 automakers doing anything in Michigan, let alone leaving and coming back,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice president for industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research. “At most there are nine or 10 doing any sort of corporate business (other than dealerships and sales offices) in the state.”
Checking the activity of smaller supplier companies in the industry is harder, but Dziczek said the “back” part is clearly false, since “that implies a company or plant that left and returned. There haven’t been 17 reversals of plant investments that physically left and returned since January 2017.”
“For the first time in 20 years, wages are rising…” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Wages have been rising since 2014, using one common measure.
Popularity and accomplishments
Man of the Year in Michigan
“In fact, five or six years before I even thought about running, for whatever reason, they named me man of the year in Michigan. I said, ‘How come?’ I didn’t even understand it myself, but I was named man of the year.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: CNN and other news outlets have found no evidence Trump was ever named Michigan’s man of the year.
The opioid epidemic
Facts First: Trump didn’t explain what exactly he was referring to, but the most prominent statistic associated with the opioid epidemic, the number of overdose deaths, is not down 16% or 17% nationally, according to the latest available data.
“…last year, we saw the first nationwide decline in drug overdose deaths in 31 years. It’s pretty amazing.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“I don’t know what happened to them but I came to office and I had 138 judges that were not appointed by President Obama. So I say, ‘Thank you Mr. President, very good.’ And they’ll say, ‘He was a great president.’ The fake news, ‘He was a great president.’ If he was a great president, how come he left me 138 judges to appoint when everybody says that’s the single most important thing a President of the United States has to do.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“And equally importantly, we will have, within another 90 days, 179 federal judges…President Obama did not do his job and I inherited 138 empty positions.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: Trump did not enter office with 138 judicial vacancies. According to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments, there were 103 vacancies on district and appeals courts on Jan. 1, 2017, just before Trump took office, plus a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The crowd in New Hampshire
“Look, we had, I think they said, 17,000 people outside that couldn’t get in. The fire marshals close it at a certain level. The arena announced — I don’t know the people at the arena — that I broke Elton John’s record.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: Trump did break attendance records at the arena, and did beat Elton John, but he is exaggerating the amount of people who were stuck outside unable to get in.
SNHU Arena assistant general manager Jason Perry confirmed that Trump had a bigger crowd than John did at the Manchester facility, saying Trump had over 11,500 people and John just under 11,400. But Perry also said, “As for the outside, best estimate would be between 3,500 and 4,000 that gathered and couldn’t get in.”
Mitch Cady, the fire marshal assigned to Trump’s rally, said the overflow crowd outside appeared closer to half what the President claimed. “We estimated the size to be, conservatively, in the ballpark of 8-9,000 persons. Again, this is just an estimate based upon factors we use to establish occupant loads and the square footage the crowd was taking up,” Cady said.
Prescription drug prices
“Our ambitious campaign to reduce the price of prescription drugs has produced the largest decline in drug prices in 51 years and the only decline in 51 years.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: This was a slight exaggeration. Prescription drug prices declined last year for the first time in 46 years, according to one of several measures.
Right to Try
“And to help patients with life threatening illnesses, we also passed something I am so proud of — 44 years they couldn’t get it passed. Right to Try.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: There had not been a 44-year push for a federal Right to Try law, experts said.
Similar laws have been passed at the state level only since 2014, after the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank, began pushing for them.
Right to Try laws seek to make it easier for terminally ill patients to access experimental medications that have not received Food and Drug Administration approval for widespread use.
“I have no idea what ‘they’ve been trying to get’ for 44 years. The Right to Try law was a creation of the Goldwater Institute, and it first became state law in 2014 (in Colorado), relatively soon after it was first conceived of,” said Alison Bateman-House, assistant professor of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Health.
“And we’re taking care of our military, and we’re taking care of our vets. Veterans Choice: You’ve been hearing it about for 45 years. I got it approved. Veterans Choice. We’re taking care of our veterans. We’re taking care of our military like never, ever before.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
“You look at the military, you look at what we’ve done with VA Choice, we had VA Choice approved. I used to talk about it all the time in New Hampshire. We got VA Choice approved.” — August 15 interview with Jack Heath of New Hampshire Today
“From forever, five decades, we passed for our great veterans VA Choice… ” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
In 2018, Trump signed the VA MISSION Act, which expanded and changed the Choice program.
Trump was not clear at the rally about what he meant by “five decades,” but he has previously claimed that people had been trying to get Veterans Choice passed for “44 years.”
Electoral votes in 2016
“They came from the hills, they came from the mountains, from the rivers, they came from all over the place. And they showed up, and they voted like nobody’s seen before and it was 306 to 223, remember?” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Visits to Pennsylvania
“And this is my 13th visit to Pennsylvania during my administration, which is more than any other president to this point in the term.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Beaver County, Pennsylvania
“This Shell petrochemical plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania — I did very well here. We did very well. How many points did we win by? Does anybody know? I’ll tell you. Isn’t it, I think, 28 points? That’s a lot.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: Trump won Beaver County by 18.7 points in 2016, not 28 points.
The time of day
“Now, the press will try and spin that differently, but I’m right, okay? The fake news. That’s a lot of people back there for a — like an 11 o’clock speech. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
This might well have been a slip rather than intentional deception, but Trump was using the inaccurate time of day to suggest that the size of the media crowd was especially impressive, so we’re counting it.
Wollman Rink renovation
“Even when I was doing the Wollman Rink, the city couldn’t build it. Took them nine years. They had no idea what they were doing.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Wollman rink size
“And I had that whole big — about 70,000 feet — it’s like a massive office floor, bigger than an office floor.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
“They closed so many — like 92% — of the mental institutions around this country over the years, for budgetary reasons.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: There is no evidence that backs up the President’s claim that 92% of mental institutions have closed. He appeared to be conflating a decrease in the number of available beds at mental hospitals with the institutions themselves.
While the number of mental institutions has not decreased as drastically as Trump claims, the Treatment Advocacy Centre, a national nonprofit “dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness,” found that the amount of staffed state mental hospital beds has decreased by 96.5% from peak hospital population numbers in the 1950s to 2016.
D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto, a research scientist at UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, said she thinks Trump has “misunderstood” the situation.
“There has never been a time period in the US where 92% of mental institutions were closed,” Padilla-Frausto told CNN. “From 1950 to 2015 there has only been a 39% reduction in state and county psychiatric hospitals — which are often referred to as ‘mental institutions.’ As of the most recent data in 2017, there has actually been about a 5% increase.”
Democrats and the economy
Facts First: There is no evidence the Democrats are trying to damage the economy to hurt Trump.
“I think Sleepy Joe may be able to limp across the finish line. But today they announced that they’re going to cut way back on his appearances because he is such a disaster, they’re going to have fewer appearances. You’ve heard that, right? This is certain. They’re going to cut way back on his appearances. Can you believe it? If I ever did that, it would be over.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign did not announce that he would be cutting back on his appearances.
Democrats’ health care plans
“Every major Democrat running for president supports a massive government takeover of health care that would raid Medicare and destroy the private health insurance plans of millions of American families that they love.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“Medicare for All” health care proposals endorsed by other Democratic presidential candidates, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, would mandate a Medicare-style single-payer system for everyone. These plans would indeed ban private insurance except for supplemental coverage for anything not covered by the single-payer system.
Democrats and the border
“Yet Democrats want to open borders and Republicans want strong borders. That’s your difference. One wants open borders. Who can even think of an open border? Think of it.” And: “Democrats want open borders, they don’t mind crime. We do mind crime. And that’s the way it is.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“All my rhetoric is that we have to have borders, they want to have open borders.” — August 15 interview with Jack Heath of New Hampshire Today
Facts First: Some Democrats, including Warren and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, another Democratic presidential candidate, have advocated for a significant loosening of immigration law, including a decriminalization of the act of illegally crossing the border. But none of them have proposed literally opening the border to unrestricted migration.
Obama’s book deal
“I got sued on a thing called ’emoluments.’ Emoluments. You ever hear the word? Nobody ever heard of it before. They went back. Now, nobody looks at Obama getting $60 million for a book. That’s okay. Even though nobody in history ever got that money for a book. Obama got $60 million. Think of it: $60 million for a book. Nobody looks.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
The $65 million figure would make the deal the largest book deal involving a former president, with a former first lady or not.
Foreign affairs and the military
Payments to Greenland
“It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: Denmark’s annual subsidy to Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, is for less than $600 million.
According to a representative from Greenland’s Ministry of Finance, Head of Division Anders Fonnesbech-Wulff, the grant for 2019 is expected to amount to 3.86 billion Danish kroner (DKK), which is approximately $573 million. The amount has increased slightly over the years, from $547 million (3.68 billion DKK) in 2016 to $553 million (3.72 billion DKK) in 2017 to $568 million (3.82 billion DKK) in 2018. All US dollar amounts are based on the Tuesday exchange rate.
The Iran deal
“You saw we ended the Iran disaster. How about that? We paid them $150 billion, $1.8 billion in cash. Cash, cash, cash. We got nothing.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: The second figure is roughly correct, but the first is exaggerated.
The Iran nuclear deal allowed the country to access tens of billions in its own assets that had been frozen in foreign financial institutions because of sanctions; experts say the total was significantly lower than $150 billion.
Trump did not invent the $150 billion figure out of thin air: Obama himself mused in a 2015 interview about Iran having “$150 billion parked outside the country.” But experts on Iran policy, and Obama’s own administration, said that the quantity of assets the agreement actually made available to Iran was much lower.
As Trump regularly notes, the Obama administration did send Iran $1.7 billion to settle a decades-old dispute over a purchase of US military goods Iran made before its government was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The war in Afghanistan
“I think just that we’ve been there for 19 years. We’re like a police force.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: This was a small exaggeration. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, less than 18 years ago. This was not a one-time slip though; Trump habitually says “19 years.”
“And my biggest fan is Secretary General (Jens) Stoltenberg from NATO. He said, ‘Until President Trump came along, we were going like’ [moves hand in a downward sloping motion] boom, they would have been finished very quickly.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Military spending by NATO members other than the US was not declining, nor was NATO on the brink of being “finished,” prior to Trump’s presidency.
“You see what happened to Venezuela with socialism. Venezuela 15 years ago was one of richest countries. Now, they don’t have water, they don’t have food, they don’t have anything.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Venezuela was not one of the world’s richest countries 15 years ago.
“Venezuela was one of the richest countries in the world 60 years ago. The richest in Latin America 40 years ago. But not 20 years ago,” Ricardo Hausmann, a former Venezuelan planning minister and central bank board member, said in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. Hausmann, now a Harvard University professor of economic development, was chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1994 to 2000.
The Golan Heights
“And just three months ago, we also recognized the Golan Heights as being a part of and protected by Israel.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“When I took over our military was sad. We weren’t flying half of our planes, they were old.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
The readiness of Air Force planes was on the decline before Trump took office, but “we weren’t flying half our planes” is an exaggeration.
Who is paying for the tariffs on China
“We are taking in billions of dollars in tariffs. And again, China is devaluing their currency, they’re pouring out money, the prices haven’t gone up. So that means we are taking in billions of dollars, we are not paying for it and ultimately their devaluations are going to hurt them very badly.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
“The tariffs have really bitten into China. They haven’t bitten into us at all — except for the reporters that want to make it look that way, but they don’t understand what’s happening. The tariffs, we’ve taken in close to $60 billion in tariff money. And the consumer has not paid for them. Now, at some point, they may have to pay something. But they understand that.” — August 15 exchange with reporters
“…We’re not paying for the tariffs, China is paying for the tariffs, for the 100th time. And I understand tariffs very well. Other countries, it may be that if I do things with other countries, but in the case of China, China is eating the tariffs, at least so far.” — August 18 exchange with reporters
Facts First: American importers make the actual tariff payments, and economic studies have found that Americans, not people and companies in China, have borne most of the cost.
This same week, Trump acknowledged at least the possibility that tariffs on China might hurt US consumers when he delayed planned additional tariffs until December 15. Peter Navarro, his trade adviser, described the move as a “Christmas present to the nation.”
Some Chinese suppliers might take on some of the burden of the tariff by reducing their prices to maintain a market in the United States, but these studies show that the burden heavily falls on US consumers and companies.
Trade deficit with China
“China is taking out $500 billion a year, and much more than that, if you include the theft of intellectual property.” — August 13 exchange with reporters
“China has taken out over $500 billion a year for many years from our country. And that’s not going to happen anymore.” And: “We can’t allow China to take, out of our country, $507 billion every year, not including intellectual property theft and so many other things.” — August 15 exchange with reporters
“China is ripping our country like has never happened before in history with any country. They were taking out $500 billion a year, $500 billion, and that’s not including intellectual property theft, which they were stealing like crazy.” — August 15 interview with Jack Heath of New Hampshire Today
“While others allowed China to freely loot the US economy, $500 billion dollars a year. Not million, not million. Billion, with a B.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: The US has never had a $500 billion trade deficit with China.
We’ll ignore Trump’s suggestion that a trade deficit amounts to China taking or looting money from the US, which is rejected by most economists.
Farmers and China
“And by the way, the biggest beneficiary, you know who have been great? Our great farmers have been so incredible because they have been targeted by China.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: While farmers have not unequivocally benefited from the tariffs, the Trump administration has attempted to compensate for losses due to tariffs as part of the ongoing trade war between the US and China.
Trade deficit with Japan
“I told (Japanese) Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe — great guy. I said, ‘Listen, we have a massive deficit with Japan.’…But the deficit is massive, which — changing rapidly…But we’re losing $78 billion.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Exports to Japan
“Many car plants — they’re coming in from Japan. I told Prime Minister Abe — great guy. I said, ‘Listen, we have a massive deficit with Japan.’ They send thousands and thousands — millions — of cars. We send them wheat. Wheat. That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we’re okay. You know, they do it to make us feel good.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: The US exports far more than just wheat to Japan. Japan is the 4th biggest export market for the US, buying $120.4 billion in US goods and services in 2018.
Wheat is not even the top agricultural export to Japan. Wheat exports totaled $698 million in 2018, behind corn, beef, pork and soybeans.
There is no apparent basis for Trump’s claim that Japan only buys US wheat to make Americans feel good.
The steel industry
“Pennsylvania steel raised the skyscrapers that built our cities. And, by the way, steel — steel was dead. Your business was dead. Okay? I don’t want to be overly crude. Your business was dead.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: It is not true that “steel was dead” before Trump imposed his tariffs last year. Though US Steel had significantly declined from its heyday and had faltered for much of the decade, it had earned a profit in 2017. Other American steel companies, notably Nucor, were thriving before the tariffs.
Once-dominant US Steel, a company Trump has regularly referenced, earned $387 million in 2017, the year before Trump imposed the tariffs. The company had struggled so badly in the years prior that it was dropped in 2014 from the S&P 500 stock index, but it was certainly not dead.
Steel plants before the tariffs
“I’ll tell you what: Those steel mills — US Steel and all of them, all of them — they’re expanding all over the place. New mills. New expansions. We hadn’t have — we didn’t have a new mill built in 30 years, and now we have many of them going up.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: It is not true that no steel mills had been built in 30 years prior to Trump’s presidency or prior to his tariffs.
Various other plants were idled or closed over the past 30 years, but it’s simply false that none were built.
World Trade Organization record
“And, you know, we were losing all our cases until I came along. We were losing all our cases in the World Trade Organization. Almost every case, we were — lost, lost, lost. They thought we were stupid. They were the ones ruling. And then I came along. Now we’re winning a lot of cases because they know that they’re not on very solid ground. We will leave, if we have to. And all of the sudden, we’re winning a lot of cases. We’re winning most of our cases. And it’s only because of attitude, because we know that they have been screwing us for years. And it’s not going to happen any longer. They get it. They get it. So they’re giving us victories. They’re giving us victories.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
The global average was 84% and China’s figure 67%. As is standard for the WTO, the US tended to lose cases where it is defending the case rather than bringing it — but even in those cases, Trump’s advisers noted that it did better (25% victory rate) than the world average (17% ) or China’s record (just 5%).
The WTO and China
“By the way, World Trade Organization, it made China. China made themselves. They did a good job. But they ripped off our country for years, and with our money and World Trade Organization backing. And then they took advantage of the rules of the World Trade Organization. And I’m being nice when I say ‘took advantage.’ Much more than ‘took advantage.’ They went up like a rocket ship. They were flat-lined for 100 years. And then, one day, World Trade Organization — a terrible move.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: China’s economy was not “flat-lined for 100 years” before it became a member of the World Trade Organization in late 2001. China had experienced significant growth for years prior.
Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics wrote in 2008: “China has been the fastest growing economy in the world over almost three decades, expanding at 10 per cent per year in real terms.” In an email to CNN in July, when Trump made another version of this comment, Lardy said, “Uninformed would be the best characterization of the President’s comment.”
Japan and auto plants
“But what they’re doing is they’re buying a lot of our stuff, including our military equipment. They’re building car plants now in the United States — in Michigan, in Pennsylvania. Many, many of the Japanese car companies are coming over and building car plants in the United States.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
Facts First: Japanese automakers are not building new plants in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Two Japanese automakers, Toyota and Mazda, have announced plans to build a US plant during Trump’s presidency; their joint venture is under construction in Alabama.
Trump has said since last year that Japan’s Abe, has told him that more Japanese automakers will soon announce major US investments. But none of the companies has announced a new US plant since Toyota and Mazda introduced the joint venture in early 2018.
“There are no Japanese automakers currently building plants or making announcements that they plan to build manufacturing plants in Michigan or Pennsylvania,” said Kristin Dziczek, the Center for Automotive Research’s vice president for industry, labor and economics.
Japanese automakers have made additional investments in existing facilities.
“I just see where we’ve collected close to $59 billion in tariffs so far. And, in my opinion, the consumer has not paid for it because of the devaluation by China. They devalued and they pumped a lot of money into their system. So, it’s really been an amazing — it’s been an amazing period of time.” And: “The only impact has been that we’ve collected almost $60 billion from China — compliments of China.” — August 13 exchange with reporters
Facts First: The figure that is close to $60 billion is for revenue generated by duties on all countries this year, not just tariffs on China.
“Together, we’re restoring this nation’s industrial might and we are doing it with American iron, American aluminum and American steel. We’re doing steel. Steel industry is hot. They were dumping steel all over. They were destroying our companies. US Steel now, all of them — they’re all expanding. The steel industry is back, it’s doing great.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
The New York Times
“The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I’m fairly certain they’ll endorse me just to keep it all going!” — August 18 tweet
Facts First: The New York Times Company is making profits and is not on the verge of going out of business.
Building the wall
“Think of it, we protect the border of South Korea, but we don’t protect our own border. But now we are. And the wall is being built…The wall is being — and we’re going to have a lot of it. We’re going to have anywhere from 400 to 500 miles built by the end of next year. We’re building a lot of wall and we need it.” — August 13 energy speech in Monaca, Pennsylvania
“…We’re building the wall. It’s going up now, you know, we won the big lawsuit three weeks ago. The wall is proceeding very rapidly. We need it.” — August 15 interview with Jack Heath of New Hampshire Today
“…and by the way, the wall is being built.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
Facts First: Nothing resembling the wall Trump campaigned on has been built at any speed. Zero additional miles of border barriers had been erected as of mid-June.
About 50 miles have been built over his two and a half years in office, but all of them are replacement barriers rather than additional miles.
Trump has started arguing since this spring that replacement fencing should be counted by the media as his “wall,” since he is replacing ineffective old barriers with effective modern ones. This is subjective, but we think it’s fair to focus on the new barriers he promised during his campaign.
“And you have to remember this: Republicans, and I speak for every one of them, we will always protect pre-existing conditions. We are going to protect, always.” — August 15 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire