Fact Check: Trump makes at least 27 false claims at New Mexico rally

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We’re still working through the long transcript, but we know he made at least 27 false claims — most of them ones he’s said before in recent months.

Here’s the list so far:

  • Trump repeated his claim that a “Google executive,” someone who “worked at Google,” reported that Google bias may have cost Trump up to 10 million votes in the 2016 election. That flawed study (which we fact-checked last month) was conducted by a psychologist, not a Google employee or executive.
  • Trump said Venezuela was “one of the wealthiest countries in the world” 15 years ago, when it wasn’t. Venezuela was 67th in the world in GDP per capita in 2004.
  • He boasted that he was the one who got the Veterans Choice health care program passed, saying, “They’ve tried to get that for 45 years. They haven’t been able to get it. But I’m good at getting things.” The program was created in 2014 in a bill signed by President Barack Obama.
  • He said of his USMCA trade agreement, “Unions love it.” The agreement is generally opposed in its current form by major US unions, who have demanded changes to the text; the president of the AFL-CIO federation says it will be a “disaster for workers” if it is not amended.
  • He said, “They wanted a wall in San Diego — good mayor in San Diego, by the way. They wanted a wall.” There is no apparent basis for this repeated claim; even that mayor, Republican Kevin Faulconer, opposes the wall.
  • He said the Democrats have an agenda of “open borders.” Even Democratic presidential candidates who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump suggests.
  • Trump said, “We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions. The Republicans will always do that.” This promise has already proven false. Trump and Republicans, who have tried to pass bills that would have weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions, are now trying to get the courts to declare Obamacare void, without a plan to replace those pre-existing protections if their lawsuit succeeds.
  • He said, “We eliminated the unfair estate tax or death tax.” His tax law raised the threshold for the tax, so that fewer people now have to pay it, but did not eliminate it entirely.
  • He said North Carolina congressional candidate Dan Bishop, who won a special election last week, was down “17 points” before Trump got involved. There is no apparent basis for this number; some polls did have Bishop down, but in the single digits.
  • He said another successful North Carolina Republican candidate, Greg Murphy, had been up only a “couple points” before his special election. Murphy was running in a district Trump won by 24 in 2016; polls had put him up by double-digits.
  • He said the Mueller investigation cost “$40 million.” The final total was $32 million, and the government is expected to recoup about $17 million from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a result of Mueller’s convictions.
  • He said China is “eating the tariffs” he has imposed on imports of Chinese products. A bevy of economic studies has found that Americans are bearing the overwhelming majority of the tariff costs, and Americans make the actual tariff payments.
  • He said China is having its worst economic year in “57 years.” China’s second-quarter growth rate was the worst in 27 years. Trump has repeatedly made clear that he knows that this is the reported figure, but he has added additional years for no apparent reason.
  • He said the US has never previously received “10 cents” from China, only unemployment, job losses and “pencils.” The US generated billions per year in revenue from tariffs on China — again, paid by Americans — before Trump took office. The US imported $540 billion from China in 2018; the top categories were electrical machinery ($152 billion), machinery ($117 billion), furniture and bedding ($35 billion), toys and sports equipment ($27 billion), and plastics ($19 billion), according to the US government’s trade website.
  • He said his border wall is being built “fast.” As of the end of August, zero additional miles had been built during Trump’s presidency; 60 miles of replacement barriers had been built. (Trump has argued that these replacement projects should count as his wall.)
  • He said human trafficking victims do not come through legal ports of entry, only through “the desert areas” and “open” parts of the border. Experts on US trafficking say a large percentage of victims come through legal ports; according to the International Organization for Migration, in “the last ten years, almost 80% of journeys undertaken by victims trafficked internationally cross through official border points, such as airports and land border control points.”
  • Speaking about energy, Trump said, “We’re independent … And we are now a net exporter of energy.” The US government Energy Information Administration predicts the US will become a net exporter of energy next year, but it hasn’t happened yet.
  • He said he had ended the Obama administration’s “war on American energy” and that “the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.” The US became the number one producer of oil and gas under Obama in 2012. It is crude oil in particular in which it became number one under Trump.
  • He said Asian American unemployment numbers are the best in history. The unemployment rate for Asian Americans did briefly fall to a record low under Trump, but it is now slightly higher than it was in Obama’s last month in office.
  • He said the unemployment numbers for women are the best in “71 years.” This was his usual slight exaggeration. The rate this summer has been the lowest since 1953, 66 years ago.
  • He called unfavorable polls “suppression polls” designed to deflate his supporters. There is simply no basis for this claim.
  • He said the US has the “cleanest air that we’ve ever had in this country.” By several measures, US air was cleaner under Obama than it’s been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. Additionally, there were more “unhealthy air days” for sensitive groups in 2018 than in 2016.
  • Trump said Obama left him “138” judicial vacancies to fill. 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 January 1, 2017, just before Trump took office, plus one vacancy on the Supreme Court. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the confirmation of many of Obama’s judicial nominees late in his term.
  • He said that, before the 2016 election, Cubans in Miami “gave me the Bay of Pigs award. Can you imagine, right? The Bay of Pigs award.” Trump got an endorsement from the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, not an award. The endorsement was unprecedented from the association, so Trump could fairly boast about it. But still, an award and an endorsement are different things. (Trump claimed in August to have received an award from the Log Cabin Republicans, which told CNN it gave him an endorsement but not an award.)
  • He suggested, appearing to be joking at least in part, that the Democrats’ Green New Deal proposal would require people to have no more than “a single car,” and would prohibit people from driving “more than 162 miles.” The Green New Deal resolution does not include any restrictions on the number of cars people can own or how far they can drive.
  • He said he calls the Democratic Party the “Democrat Party” not only because “Democrat” sounds worse than “Democratic” but because “that’s their name, the Democrat Party”; he advised the party to change its name to the Democratic Party, since he would then call them that. The party is already named the Democratic Party. We realize this is a strange-sounding fact check, but Trump has repeatedly insisted that the actual name is the Democrat Party.
  • He said he “saw the other day” that the Democrats “just gave out a tremendous contract” for their 2020 convention site in Milwaukee. “You know what it’s for? They’re building a big wall around the building — they’re building a big wall, a massive wall.” No such contract has been awarded. “It’s not true,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brandon Gassaway. While there will likely be some sort of security fencing around the convention, there are no known plans for a giant wall.



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