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 statements of material fact at the December rally in Michigan, avoiding trivialities and opinions. We didn’t double-count statements when the president repeated himself.
According to our analysis, the truth took a beating once again. From a grand total of 179 factual statements we identified, 67 percent were false, mostly false or unsupported by evidence.
In September 2018, we found that 70 percent of Trump’s factual statements were false, misleading or lacking evidence, compared with 76 percent in July 2018. Both of those rallies took place in advance of the midterm elections, when the president cranked up the volume on (often false) immigration claims, which are a smaller part of his repertory this time around.
The rallies are longer now and the amount of claims worth fact-checking has nearly doubled, but one thing’s clear: Trump’s still got it.
“Did you notice that everybody is saying Merry Christmas again? Did you notice? Saying Merry Christmas.”
False. This claim is a Trump favorite and also popular on Fox News and in right-wing media, but the evidence of a “War on Christmas” is flimsy and unconvincing. The phrase “Merry Christmas” continues to be popular in retail advertisements, popular culture and public spaces despite the use of more secular holiday greetings. There’s no evidence anything has changed under Trump.
“We have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we’ve never had before — nobody’s ever had this kind of support.”
False. A Gallup poll from June 2018 found that 90 percent of Republicans approved of Trump’s performance. But that doesn’t make him the most popular Republican president in history. George W. Bush maintained an approval rating close to 99 percent of Republicans during his first term after the Sept. 11 attacks. President George H.W. Bush reached a high of 97 percent in 1991 after the successful conclusion of the Persian Gulf War. Ronald Reagan hit a high of 94 percent at the end of 1984, Richard Nixon a high of 91 percent in 1973 and Dwight Eisenhower a high of 95 percent in 1956. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in October found that Trump’s approval among Republicans had fallen to 74 percent.
“I understand she’s not fixing those potholes [referring to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer]. That’s what the word is. It was all about roads and they want to raise those gasoline taxes, and you — we don’t want to do that. But she’s not fixing the potholes.”
Mostly false. Michigan’s transportation department spends about $9 million a year repairing potholes. Some experts say much more funding is needed to keep up with the state’s pothole epidemic. Whitmer took office in 2019 and proposed raising the state gas tax to round up new funding for roads, but the state’s Republican legislature so far has blocked her plan.
“What’s happening now — and by the way, your state, because of us, not because of local government, but because of us, because of the job that we’ve done … Michigan’s had the best year it’s ever had. Best year it’s ever had. And that’s because we have auto companies expanding and thriving and they’re coming in from Japan and they’re coming In from a lot of other places.”
False. Michigan unemployment has gone lower than 4 percent, the rate for November.
“I don’t know if you know this, but probably 10 years ago, I was honored. I was the man of the year by, I think, somebody, whoever. I was the man of the year in Michigan. Can you believe it? Long time. That was long before I ever decided to do this.”
False. Trump claims he won Michigan’s “man of the year” award. But there’s no evidence this is true. FactCheck.org investigated and it appears that Trump is referring to a 2013 dinner hosted by a county Republican Party organization, which presented him with token gifts — including a statuette of Abraham Lincoln. But a former Republican congressman who organized the dinner said that Trump was not given an award and that the group has never named a “man of the year.” Nevertheless, as of August, Trump had made this false claim seven times over three years.
“I asked that a long time ago and we’ve stopped it. We’ve stopped it.”
False. Trump has not stopped the outsourcing of jobs in the auto industry.
“We just made the USMCA — we’re getting rid of NAFTA.”
Mostly accurate. The Trump administration negotiated a new free-trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Experts and trade watchers say the USMCA deal revises key portions of NAFTA, which was adopted in 1994.
“[USMCA] makes it very very prohibitive [to outsource auto industry jobs]. They can do it, but they’ve got to pay a hell of a big price to do it. And history has proven that stops some.”
Mostly accurate. The USMCA includes wage requirements stipulating that 40 percent to 45 percent of auto content be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour, as opposed to NAFTA, which had no wage requirement.
“Now, from the standpoint of the farmers, you know, what’s going on, we had tremendous trade barriers in Canada. We had a tax on dairy products, 297 percent tariff. Nobody talked about it with Canada, and we had some really bad things with Mexico.”
Mostly false. Canada does have high dairy tariffs, just as the United States props up sugar prices. But Canada’s overall tariffs are lower than the United States’. In the reworked trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, Trump won some narrow concessions on dairy, allowing for new quotas — but high tariffs are still permitted when those quotas are exceeded. Canada’s concessions were only marginally better than dairy elements in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, which Trump pulled out of early in his presidency.
“You know I had a lot of union labor vote for me, tremendous amount of labor.”
Accurate. According to Politico, Hillary Clinton “carried union households by 9 points over Trump — a narrow margin when compared to the 20- and 18-point leads Barack Obama held in 2008 and 2012” over his Republican opponents.
“In New York, where I come from, we have a lot of unions.”
“So we left a little stuff for the union because we figured to get it signed, we’ll give a little bit and we did it and we have one great deal, and now you have the Democrats tried to take credit for this deal [USMCA] and that’s okay. Whatever it takes.”
Accurate. House Democrats and labor unions said the Trump administration made concessions to them to secure passage of the USMCA.
“We did a [trade] deal with South Korea.”
Accurate. In 2018, Trump signed a revised United States-Korea Trade Agreement that lays a path for increased American exports such as cars.
“We did a [trade] deal with Japan, $40 billion deal with Japan, and we’re not — that was just a little piece of a deal.”
Mostly false. Trump signed a trade deal with Japan in 2019, but at the time he announced it, the president said it meant nearly $7 billion in U.S. farm exports.
“Get her out of here. … But seriously, look, look, look, they won’t say it. They won’t say it because when we have protesters all in favor, they don’t talk about it, but there’s a slob, there’s a real slob, wait, wait a minute. She’ll get hell when she gets back home with mom. But she made — look. She screams a little bit and you know what I like to avoid them. … Okay, so there’s one disgusting person who made — wait, wait — who made it — I wouldn’t say this, but made a horrible gesture with the wrong finger, right? Now, they won’t say that, the fake news. They won’t say. If one of us did that, it would be like the biggest story ever. I think it’s terrible. And I’ll tell you the other thing. I don’t know who the security company is, but the police came up, but they want to be so politically correct, so they don’t grab a likely risk and get her out. They say, ‘Oh, would you please come?’ ‘If you’d please come with me.’ ‘Sir, ma’am, would you — ‘ And then she gives the guy the finger and you — oh, oh. You got to get a little bit stronger than that, folks. Now, I hate to say it. I hate to say it but, of course, the guy’s afraid that, you know, he’ll grab a wrist slightly and he’ll be sued for the rest of his life, that you’ve destroyed her life. No, but I think it’s a terrible thing. And here’s what happened. So these fakers back there, they’re the most dishonest people in the world. They’ll go back: ‘This is one person who made a horrible gesture,’ only because the security band let her have so much time, and usually, I have to say, the police do an incredible job.”
Unsubstantiated. Trump went on a strange tangent in response to a protester at his rally. He falsely claimed that news reports whitewash the fact that some Trump protesters use vulgarities. Then, he claimed that police and security at his rallies avoid physically removing protesters for fear of getting sued. Then, he theorized that this reticence to quickly eject protesters gives them more of the spotlight and wider news coverage.
“The USMCA, which is going to be great for the automobile business, should even be good for the cereal business, Battle Creek.”
Unsubstantiated. Some industry experts say the USMCA gives a minor lift to U.S. dairy exporters, but the new trade agreement is not seen as having a big effect on cereal exports.
“We made a great deal with China. And you know, China’s paying us billions and billions of dollars a year, they never gave us 10 cents.”
False. Tariffs have been collected on Chinese goods since the early days of the Republic. President George Washington signed the Tariff Act of 1789, when trade between China and the United States was already established. Tariffs on China have generated at least $8 billion every year since 2009.
“We’re leaving the 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion [of Chinese goods]. They didn’t mention that. We’re leaving, you know, we’re making another group of tariff, seven and a half percent. This gives us a lot of currency to do the Phase Two deal.”
Accurate. The Trump administration agreed to halve a 15 percent tariff on about $120 billion in Chinese products while negotiations begin on “Phase Two” of a trade deal with China. Some initial trade issues were resolved in “Phase One” of the deal. The details of that agreement have yet to be released, but Trump said he would be keeping a 25 percent tariff imposed on $250 billion worth of Chinese products.
“But we’d take it in, billions of dollars and to help the farmers who were targeted — 16 billion and 12 billion the previous year — helps the farmers. Out of that big check that we get out of, money flows into the treasury, right? Out of the big check, we gave the farmers 16 billion and 12 billion.”
Mostly accurate. This is accurate only in the sense that the Trump administration provided subsidies of $28 billion over two years to U.S. farmers, who were targeted by China in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs. Trump, however, fundamentally misrepresents how international trade works. Economists say the cost of tariffs is mostly passed on to consumers. Revenue from tariffs doesn’t flow into the treasury as a “big check.” It is collected piece by piece in the form of customs duties.
“I was with a group of 36 farmers at the White House. You know what they said to me? I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’re going to take care of you guys.’ And I used a bad word. You know what word I used? We’re going to get you a subsidy, and they said this two years ago. I said, ‘How much were you targeted for?’ This was the first year. ‘Twelve billion, sir.’ The second year was 16 [billion]. They were a target; that’s what they didn’t get from China. So I said, ‘It’s all right. We’re going to give you a subsidy of the same and we’re going to take it out of the tariffs and we’re gonna have billions and billions of dollars left over.’ And they said, ‘Sir, we don’t want money. We just want a level playing field.’”
Unsubstantiated. It’s difficult to imagine that the $12 billion estimate, which became U.S. policy in the form of farm subsidies, surfaced on the fly at this meeting. In any case, the Trump tariffs have garnered about $39 billion on products from China through December, according to Customs and Border Protection, and the administration has announced $28 billion in farm subsidies over two years to offset domestic producers’ losses from the trade war. That means most of the China tariff revenue has been largely eaten up by payments the government has made to farmers who lost business because China stopped buying U.S. soybeans, hogs, cotton and other products. NPR reported: “According to studies by several independent economists, the USDA is paying farmers roughly twice as much as the actual harm that they suffered from the trade war.”
“We made the largest ever investment in our military, $738 billion.”
False. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this is not a record. Trump had requested $750 billion.
“Our military, by the way, in all due respect to the previous two administrations, our military was — was depleted, it was depleted, it was in bad shape.”
False. The military budget had declined as a result of decreases in funding for Overseas Contingency Operations as both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came to a close, not because the military’s resources were depleted. The bipartisan Budget Control Act also helped keep down defense spending. The president and Congress waived the BCA ceiling for two years, but contrary to a campaign pledge, Trump has not repealed it.
“We had fighter jets that were 35 years old. We had planes that were 60, as you heard, where the father flew him, the grandfather flew him, and now the young son comes in.”
“We’ve got the best [military] equipment in the world, now spent $2.5 trillion, made in the USA, two and a half trillion.”
False. Trump appears to be including three fiscal years of military funding, but the money is not all spent, only a portion of it is destined for new equipment, and the equipment is not all built. The current fiscal year began only a few months ago. The Washington Post reported that similar comments from Trump within days of this rally “grossly overstate spending decisions and mask an aging fleet of planes” and that “the actual amount spent on military equipment since he became president is much less, closer to $420 billion, according to Todd Harrison, a defense budget expert and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The rest was spent on things like personnel, operations and maintenance, and research and development.”
“We’re building a lot of ships now.”
“We’re building submarines, the power of which nobody’s ever seen before.”
Accurate. The United States is building a new generation of Virginia-class submarines with more firepower and “the ability to launch strikes with 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles, compared to just 12 on the current ships,” according to CNN.
“These countries that come in, prime ministers, presidents, sometimes dictators — those we can’t deal with too much — ‘Sir, we’d like to buy a nuclear submarine.’ I say, ‘No, thanks.’ I turn them all down. You have no idea how many people.”
“I won’t tell you this story, but very early on, I thought we were going to have a problem someplace and one of the generals came up to me and said, ‘Sir, don’t go, don’t do it.’ ‘Why?’ ‘We don’t have the ammunition.’ And I said two things: I never want to hear a president, right? We never want to have a president hear that again, nor do we want a president to have to go through the crap that we’re going through right now.”
Mostly false. Trump often repeats this claim that the military had run out of ammunition when he took office. We’ve given it Three Pinocchios. After targeting Islamic State operatives with tens of thousands of smart bombs and guided missiles, U.S. military officials began to say publicly that stockpiles were growing thin. But Trump never limits his comments to precision-guided missiles (PGMs) and instead gives the impression that all ammunition was running out. It bears mentioning that U.S. officials already were working on rebuilding PGM stockpiles before Trump took office.
“U.S Armed Forces, the last branch was the Air Force, right? That was many, many decades ago.”
Accurate. The Air Force was established as an independent military branch in 1947.
“We are now building and we have now gotten funding for the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces, the Space Force, the Space Force.”
Accurate. Congress allocated $40 million for the Space Force last year, less than the $72.4 million requested by the Defense Department.
“We just provided record funding for our nation’s historically black colleges and universities.”
Mostly accurate. The Trump administration has increased funding for historically black colleges and universities, though some experts say cuts to other programs indirectly hamper these institutions.
“Another 266,000 jobs last month. … But they said they were guessing, could be 70,000, could be 80,000, maybe 90, maybe 110, somebody said. Then the number comes out: 266,000 with an adjustment.”
Mostly accurate. Trump got the November jobs report right; it showed a solid gain of 266,000. But he exaggerated the degree to which it beat forecasts. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones, for example, were predicting a gain of 187,000 jobs, CNBC reported.
“As of yesterday, we’ve had 133 record days in the stock market now, and that’s in less than three years.”
False. The stock market is doing well, but Trump’s scorekeeping is fishy. For example, on Oct. 10, he said “the stock market today just hit another all-time high,” but the Dow Jones industrial average was higher nine days earlier.
“I’m not allowed to have stock. I can’t have stock. They considered the conflict of interest, and that I can’t understand, I mean, I can’t.”
Unsubstantiated. These claims from Trump — who has declined to release his tax returns or divest from his business — should be taken with a grain of salt.
Trump’s transition team claimed in December 2016 that he had sold all his stocks. A January 2017 white paper from Trump’s attorneys said, “President-Elect Trump has already disposed of his investments in publicly traded or easily liquidated investments.”
A year and a half later, Trump reported at least $250,000 in income from stocks in his 2018 financial disclosure form, specifically listing Apple, Caterpillar, Halliburton, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Philips 66 and a publicly traded New Jersey textile company now named Global Fiber Technologies. Then, in his 2019 financial disclosure form, Trump no longer listed income from stocks in these or any companies.
The president perhaps was advised that he couldn’t hold stocks while in office, but the law itself is unclear, and his disclosure forms indicate that he owned stocks anyway until 2019, well into his presidency.
The president and vice president are not considered federal employees and technically are not subject to federal ethics rules or criminal penalties covering conflicts of interest. Former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton placed their investments, including stocks, in a blind trust.
“The 401(k)s, where people are up 90 percent, they’re up 97 percent, they’re up 82 percent.”
False. Trump often boasts that the value of 401(k) retirement accounts has skyrocketed during his presidency, even though there’s no evidence of such huge gains and even though the Census Bureau reports that only 32 percent of Americans are saving for retirement with such plans. An analysis by Fidelity Investments showed the average 401(k) balance increased less than 1 percent when comparing the first quarters of 2018 and 2019.
“Ford Motor Company just announced that it is investing $1.5 billion in two auto factories in the Detroit area, creating another 3,000 Michigan [jobs].”
“Many other investments we’ve gotten from Japanese companies, car companies and other companies, but they’re all coming in and a lot of them are coming to Michigan.”
False. Some automobile industry investments have been announced in Michigan, but not by Japanese companies.
“We’re doing so well in Michigan with the auto companies. Now you’re back, you’re back. So you’re back, very proud of it. Very proud of it. But while we’re creating jobs, fighting for Michigan workers and achieving numbers that you’ve never seen before, incredible victories for the American people are happening.”
“I have the greatest economy in the history of this country.”
False. The president can certainly brag about the state of the economy, but he runs into trouble when he makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson or Bill Clinton — or Ulysses S. Grant.
“Let me just tell you a little secret, if crooked Hillary would have won, your economy would have crashed.”
Unsubstantiated. Trump often makes this claim, but there’s no evidence backing him up. The U.S. economy under Trump has continued to grow, as it did for most of the Obama administration.
“You were going down. The regulations were taking it down, the taxes were taking it down. Instead of being up 92 percent or whatever — you’re up a lot — you would have been down, you would have been in less than half, it was crashing for all those people that would say, ‘Oh, it’s the Obama.’ Let me tell you something, you were dying. … It was heading south as sure as you’re standing.”
False. The economy was not “going down,” “crashing,” “dying” or “heading south” when Trump took office, it was growing and unemployment was declining.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t get your seats; we didn’t have any room. And by the way, 20,000 people outside had to leave.”
False. Trump often inflates the crowd sizes at his rallies. Local officials at this event in Battle Creek, Mich., said 5,400 people were let into the venue and 2,000 — not 20,000 — were outside.
“This is about a 5,500-seat arena and I said to my people, ‘Why so small?’”
Mostly false. Kellogg Arena seats up to 6,200, according to its website. Local officials said Trump filled the venue with approximately 5,400 attendees. The arena holds nearly 5,200 people and an extra 1,000 when risers are set up on the north end.
“I watch these guys come in like Biden, he has a — he has a big rally and they get 93 people show up. No, it’s true.”
“And did you see the new polls from USA Today? Came out, I’m killing everybody, and they hate me. … USA Today hates me. But there’s a poll, we’re beating everybody.”
Mostly false. A poll from USA Today and Suffolk University released Dec. 17 showed Trump beating every major Democrat by between three and 10 points. But these were not head-to-head matchups. In each case, a generic third-party candidate garnered support in the double digits. Other reputable polls that do not include a third-party option show that several leading Democrats would defeat Trump.
“Biden has this rally like, you know, they got 200 seats, but only a small number of people. So you know what they do? They set up a roundtable. So think of these people. They come in, they think they get to listen to the speech, they end up sitting at a roundtable discussing. They must have been happy, right?”
False. There’s no record of this happening, and the Biden campaign denies it.
“You finally got a choice [referring to the Veterans Choice program]. They’ve been trying to get it for almost 50 years.”
False. Trump often takes credit for reforms enacted years before he took office. In response to a 2014 scandal over wait times and patient care at Veterans Affairs in Phoenix and other locations, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and President Barack Obama created the VA Choice program. Trump signed the MISSION Act, an expansion and update of the Choice program.
“The cameras, you ever notice? I go to these stadiums, 25-, 30 thousand people, they never show the crowd.”
“I’ve had crowds over the last couple of weeks — we went to different Pennsylvania and Florida — but I mean, thousands and thousands of people can’t get into these NBA arenas, right? Big arenas and we set records.”
Mostly false. Trump sometimes draws an overflow crowd of thousands to his rallies, and sometimes fails to fill the seats. The NBA does not play in the Hershey, Pa., and Sunrise, Fla., venues where Trump recently held rallies, and the president did not break attendance records at those arenas.
“We set records at every arena and they never even mention the crowds. They never mentioned the crowds, it’s sort of amazing. You know what? I don’t think we’ve ever had an empty seat from the time I came down the escalator — that’s a long time ago. I don’t think we’ve ever had an empty seat. Now, what the crooked media does, though, if you got like over here — look how packed it is and it’s thousands outside … but here’s the thing, if this man and that beautiful woman happened to get up because they want to go to the bathroom, those cameras will turn to those two seats and they’ll say, ‘Trump wasn’t able to fill up the arena.’ … Nobody ever leaves our speeches because is there a better place to be in the world than a Trump rally? Never. Nobody.”
False. This claim is as ridiculous as it is old. People leave Trump rallies. It happens. The evidence abounds. They’re human and these events are long. They start late. The story about cameras filming the empty seats of attendees who went to the restroom is bunk. Trump often complains that news reports don’t mention his crowd sizes, but they do. Often it’s necessary to do so because Trump is way off the mark and requires a fact check.
“After three years of sinners and witch hunts, hoaxes, scams, tonight the House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans.”
False. The Constitution allows the House to impeach the president for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but that’s not the same as nullifying an election. The Senate holds a trial in impeachment cases, and a two-thirds majority is needed to convict and remove an officeholder. If Trump were removed, Vice President Pence would be first in line to assume the presidency.
“Grand Rapids. We have 32,000 people that night, it was one o’clock in the morning. That means it was Election Day  when I started speaking. Hillary, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton, they did an emergency trip, they did an emergency trip to Michigan at six o’clock. They got here at prime time, they started to speak. She had 500 people.”
False. The Michigan venue where Trump rallied in the early morning hours of Election Day 2016 has a capacity of 4,200, far less than the 32,000 claimed by Trump. Hillary Clinton held a rally the same day at nearby Grand Valley State University; it was described as a “capacity crowd” at a venue that holds 4,100 people. Neither Barack nor Michelle Obama attended this Clinton rally, so this claim from Trump is false in every way.
“The problem is the newspaper polls are more fake than the news they write. They write fake polls. It’s true. They write fake polls. You call them suppression polls, you read them and you get depressed because it looks like you’re doing badly. They do that.”
False. News and polling organizations do not publish “suppression polls,” which in Trump’s parlance are polls that relay false information to demoralize and dissuade people from voting.
“They told him [Bill Clinton], ‘What do you know?’ Remember they shut him out at the end, they didn’t want him talking? He was right. .. He talked about Wisconsin, he talked about Michigan.”
Mostly false. Former president Bill Clinton made appearances for his wife’s campaign through the end of the 2016 election; he wasn’t shut out. Clinton reportedly raised concerns that the campaign was failing to reach undecided voters such as working-class whites. But we couldn’t find reports that Clinton specifically raised alarms about Michigan and Wisconsin, as Trump claimed.
“[Bill Clinton] said, ‘Crooked, I’m telling you, crooked, I don’t like what I see in Michigan. I was in Michigan and I’m telling you that those damn signs, I saw some houses where that four of them on one lawn and two of them on the car.’ And he said, ‘You horrible human being. You better start listening to me because you’re going to get … whipped.’”
False. Trump appears to have made up this crude conversation between Bill and Hillary Clinton.
“[Hillary Clinton] didn’t come to Michigan enough and she didn’t come to Wisconsin, I think, at all, right? Because her polling data look good.”
Mostly accurate. Clinton visited Michigan before the 2016 election, though some of her supporters say it was too little, too late. She did not travel to Wisconsin after losing the state’s Democratic primary to Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“The word is that we’re much higher right now in the polls than we were ever in 2016 in Michigan.”
False. Most polls show Trump losing Michigan in head-to-head match ups with several leading Democratic contenders.
“Congressional Democrats are directly attacking 2.3 million Michigan voters who rose up in 2016, won the state, and now, the Democrats are very upset. They want to get Michigan back. They just don’t know how to do it because they didn’t do a thing for Michigan. … All they did was take away your companies and let them go to Mexico and other places.”
False. This goes beyond the realm of opinion. Experts say automation, international labor-wage disparities and trade policies have shifted manufacturing jobs from the United States to other countries over recent decades. Democrats are not solely responsible for those shifts or policies.
“Mexico has 32 percent of your car business. You know that, right? … Thirty-two percent of our car business moved to Mexico.”
Unsubstantiated. It’s unclear where Trump gets this 32 percent estimate. Millions of manufacturing jobs and thousands of U.S. factories have disappeared since NAFTA took effect in 1994, but it’s difficult to isolate how many were relocated to Mexico or how much was because of NAFTA.
Studies we reviewed indicate NAFTA had a modest effect on the U.S. economy. Auto industry representatives and independent analysts seem to agree the NAFTA dynamics have helped rather than hindered automakers with U.S. operations.
Mexico was a relatively small player in North American vehicle production before NAFTA, producing only 3 percent of the continent’s vehicles in 1987, and it now makes about 20 percent of light vehicles. The U.S. share of North American vehicle production was 70 percent in 2007 and is projected to be about 60 percent in 2020, according to a 2016 report by the Center for Automotive Research.
“Today’s illegal, unconstitutional and partisan impeachment … Democrat lawmakers do not believe you have the right to select your own president.”
False. Impeachment is neither illegal nor unconstitutional. It’s literally in the Constitution. Democrats allege that Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” in attempting to extort Ukraine for help in the 2020 U.S. election.
“This lawless, partisan impeachment is a political suicide march for the Democrat Party. Have you seen my polls in the last four weeks? It’s crazy.”
False. Support for impeaching Trump was about 47 percent and hardly moved in the four weeks before these remarks (or even before that), according to an analysis from 538. Trump’s approval rating in the low 40s also was mostly unchanged.
“They’ve been trying to impeach me from Day One. They’ve been trying to impeach me from before I ran, okay?”
Mostly false. Some Trump critics have been calling for his impeachment for years. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rebuffed calls to impeach the president until she announced an inquiry into the Ukraine scandal in September.
“If you remember, when I ran, I went immediately to No. 1, never came off number — we had center stage from Day One, in the debates.”
Mostly accurate. Trump dominated Republican primary polls since he declared his candidacy in mid-2015, though Ben Carson briefly topped him in November 2015.
“I said, wait a minute. This is no good. I want odd numbers because if you’re center stage, if you have a 10, that means two people are in the middle. So, I said make it 11 or make it nine, okay? Or I’m not showing up. And generally, they did it because we were way ahead from the beginning.”
False. This didn’t happen.
“You know what? These guys are a part of the Democrat Party. They are a part of it. You might as well call them Democrats. No, the media, look, look, I don’t — you know, it’s hard for somebody to know if you’re not the subject because how do you know the New York Times is totally dishonest or The Washington Post or ABC is so bad? CBS, so bad.”
False. When Trump doesn’t like what’s being reported, he calls it fake news or complains about media bias. But in almost every case, the reports are proven to be accurate and the substance of Trump’s complaint is that the facts reflect poorly on him. Reputable news organizations follow ethical rules and correct mistakes promptly, something Trump knows since he often celebrates these corrections on Twitter.
“NBC, I made a lot of money for NBC with ‘The Apprentice,’ right? A lot of money, a lot. Plus, we had the No. 1 show a lot, and they had nothing in the top 10, except for a thing called ‘The Apprentice,’ and they treat me so bad.”
Mostly false. Trump’s reality television show was “the seventh-most-watched TV show of the year, averaging almost 21 million viewers a week” when it debuted in 2004. But that was the show’s only year in the top 10, and ratings tanked in following seasons, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“CNN and MSNBC, their ratings are down the tubes.”
False. They’re up, they’re down, but millions of viewers continue to watch both networks.
“You have the greatest economy in the history of the world. Other countries come to see me, all of their leaders, and they say, sir, first thing. Sir, congratulations on your economy. … And these guys [referring to the news media] don’t like talking about it. And if they do, they say Obama did it.”
False. Trump first made this grandiose claim when the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Many other countries had faster growth rates at the time, including China and India, but the president has persisted with this false assessment. News reports about the U.S. economic expansion are published on a daily basis. Trump succeeded Obama during a sustained period of economic growth, which he rarely acknowledges.
“Remember, Obama said ‘you will never be president.’ ‘He will never be president.’”
Accurate. Obama predicted in 2016 that Trump would not win the presidency.
“[President Obama] said, ‘I will consider it a personal affront if you allow him [Trump] to be president.’”
False. Obama said he would be insulted if his supporters sat out the 2016 election. “After we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” he said at a Congressional Black Caucus dinner in September 2016.
“I go upstairs, downstairs, all around. They take me up three flights, go down one, I said are we almost there? Yes, sir, another four flights. And I say, you think Hillary could do this? I don’t think so. They’d bring her back home, she wants to go to sleep.”
Unsubstantiated. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, a demanding job involving plenty of travel.
“They shouldn’t even be allowed to have an impeachment because it was based on dishonesty. It was based on illegality. She [Hillary Clinton] went out and they paid for a fake dossier.”
Mostly false. The House impeached Trump based on evidence that he attempted to extort Ukraine in exchange for help in the 2020 election. The “Steele dossier” had nothing to do with it. The dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS for a law firm affiliated with the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Fusion has said the former British spy who wrote it received $168,000.
“They gave money to foreigners to write a fake dossier, totally disproved, totally fake. The FBI then took that fake dossier and they used it in the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court to get approval to spy on my campaign. … So, they use this fake dossier and they brought it before this big deal court. It’s a big deal, the FISA court and they said this stuff — and they lied about it.”
Mostly false. The Justice Department inspector general issued a report in late 2019 affirming that the investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russia did not stem from the Steele dossier, but rather from a tip from a friendly foreign government.
“This information provided the FBI with an articulable factual basis that, if true, reasonably indicated activity constituting either a federal crime or a threat to national security, or both, may have occurred or may be occurring,” the report said.
A secret surveillance warrant was obtained on Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who had left the campaign by the time the FISA application was approved. It was renewed three times. The inspector general found numerous errors in the application and also found that the Steele dossier was a key source for one section: Carter Page’s alleged coordination with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities.
However, the inspector general found that the FBI did not act with political bias when it applied for the surveillance warrant on Page.
“Because Comey, who’s another beauty. Did I do a great job when I fired his ass? What a great job. Oh, no, they had bad plans. No, I did a great thing. That was like throwing a rock at a hornet’s nest. Did that place explode? And then, we learned about Lisa Page and her wonderful lover, Peter Strzok. I love you, Lisa. I love you more than anybody in the world. I love you more than anybody in the world. Causes problems with the wife, but we won’t talk about that. … I’ve never loved anyone like you. He’s going to lose one hundred million to one, Peter, right? That’s right. He’s going to lose one hundred million to one, but there’s no bias. How about the insurance policy?”
Mostly false. The Justice Department inspector general found that bias did not taint FBI leaders’ decisions in the investigation of Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Trump mentioned an “insurance policy” at the FBI targeting him in case he won. But former FBI agent Peter Strzok has insisted that the reference to an insurance policy in his text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page did not mean he or fellow agents were targeting Trump. Instead, he said, it reflected a debate about how aggressive the probe into possible Russian contacts should be.
“That text represented a debate on information that we had received from an extraordinarily sensitive source and method, and that typically when something is that sensitive, if you take action on it you put it at risk,” Strzok publicly testified on July 12, 2018.
The issue was whether an important source could be burned. “Given that Clinton was the ‘prohibitive favorite’ to win, Strzok said that they discussed whether it made sense to compromise sensitive sources and methods to ‘bring things to some sort of precipitative conclusion and understanding,’” the inspector general said in a report.
“The [Justice Department] inspector general … don’t forget, he was appointed by Obama.”
“They said, there’s nobody in the world that could have handled that stuff that happened and still created one of the greatest economies and done more than any other president ever before in the first three years.”
Mostly false. Trump has signed few major pieces of legislation compared with other presidents finishing their third year in office. Certainly, the whirlwind of accomplishments under presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Reagan and Obama exceeded Trump’s efforts.
“They have nothing [referring to the impeachment evidence gathered by Democrats].”
False. This goes beyond the realm of opinion. Senior Trump administration officials, including the president’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, raised concerns about the administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
The House intelligence committee gathered evidence that Trump withheld $391 million in security assistance funds for Ukraine while he pressed that country to publicly announce investigations into Joe Biden and into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukrainians and not Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Both investigations stood to benefit Trump politically.
The testimony of senior officials was corroborated by text messages, emails, documents, Trump’s own public remarks and a rough transcript of his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Whether the evidence is enough to remove Trump from office is a question for the Senate.
“You got this guy Schiff. He makes up a statement and he goes in front of Congress where he has immunity, and he makes up a statement from me that’s totally fictitious, totally out of thin air, the worst statement I’ve ever heard, many people saw it.”
Mostly false. Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who led the Trump impeachment inquiry in the House, inserted some extraneous comments as he read the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky.
There is no exact transcript of the conversation, as the summary was cobbled together from notes, so Schiff told the audience “this is the essence of what the president communicates.” Much of what Schiff said tracks the basic contents of the call, but he stretched in claiming Trump asked Zelensky to “make up” or “manufacture” dirt. Trump asked for an investigation of a potential 2020 rival and an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory that benefits him politically.
“I then sent him the transcript. … I call it perfect. He called it perfect. Everyone calls it if you read it.”
False. Many outside experts say that Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president was highly unusual. Trump appeared to have no agenda except to ask for the Ukrainian government to work with his private attorney to investigate a potential 2020 presidential rival and also investigate debunked conspiracy theories about possible interference by Ukraine in the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump made about eight requests for help with some sort of investigation involving either former vice president Joe Biden or the Democrats. Just before the call took place, Trump with no explanation halted the expected delivery of military aid to Ukraine. Some U.S. diplomats and national security officials believed the halt was connected to Trump’s demands for a probe of Biden. National security officials were so alarmed that they lodged objections with a White House lawyer before and right after the call.
“I never even think about looks anymore. I don’t talk about looks of a male or female.”
False. This is an objectively untrue statement. Trump routinely praises or mocks the physical appearance of others. For example, at this rally, he said that Schiff was unattractive and that some F-35 pilots he met were “better looking than Tom Cruise.”
“The face is equal, maybe slightly better, the body is bigger and stronger,” Trump said. “These guys are so good-looking, I said, ‘You could be a movie star, go to Hollywood.’”
“Where’s the proof? It’s coming, it’s coming. Then, we get the Mueller report — nothing.”
False. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III revealed significant criminal activity by some of Trump’s campaign advisers and by Russian individuals and entities.
Mueller concluded Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from people associated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and then publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks, to sow discord in the United States, hurt Clinton and help Trump.
“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” the special counsel’s report says.
Mueller declined to reach a decision on whether to bring charges against Trump for obstructing justice. The special counsel also did not make an explicit recommendation to Congress on impeachment. But Mueller spent nearly half of the report laying out a sustained effort by Trump to derail the investigation, including an effort by the president to have Mueller removed.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report says. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
“Did Mueller do a good job? Did he do? How was his performance in front of Congress? Not the best, but think of this, $45 million they spent, and you know, I heard somebody say, well, we got back some of that money. Let me tell you, you cause this country billions and billions and billions of dollars in all of the things that didn’t get done, in all of the embarrassment to our country. You caused billions and billions of dollars and it was a hoax.”
False. The special counsel’s office reported $32 million in direct and indirect expenses. According to CNN, Mueller also recouped approximately $17 million for the U.S. government through legal proceedings for Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to prison for fraud as part of the Russia probe.
“I said, I haven’t spoken to Russia in years. What the hell do I have to do with Russia?”
False. Trump signed a letter of intent for Trump Tower Moscow in October 2015, and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has testified that he was pursuing the project on Trump’s behalf in 2015 and 2016. The Mueller report says Trump declined to answer questions from the special counsel about the Moscow project.
“Oh, I think we have a vote [on impeachment] coming in. So, we got every single Republican voted for us. Whoa wow, wow, almost 200. … We didn’t lose one Republican vote and, and three Democrats voted for us.”
Mostly accurate. Two Democrats voted against Trump’s impeachment. A third Democrat, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, voted “present.” No House Republicans voted to impeach Trump. However, Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) until recently was a Republican, and he voted to impeach the president.
“The Democrats … they’ve got horrible policies: open borders, crime is fine, drugs pouring through.”
False. Many Democrats support tougher border controls but have not come to an agreement with Republicans on comprehensive immigration reform. Almost all research shows that immigrants commit crime at lower rates than the native-born population. Government data shows that most drugs are smuggled through legal checkpoints.
“The individual mandate, just a little while ago, came over the wires, it was just upheld. The individual mandate is now gone.”
Mostly accurate. On the same day as this Trump rally, a federal appeals court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all adults have health insurance was unconstitutional. (Republicans had already neutralized the individual mandate by reducing its penalty to zero after Trump took office.)
“It’s perversion and when you watch some of these people get up and speak today, they don’t even — look, you have violated the Constitution. Well, what has he done wrong? Well, we don’t know that. They don’t even have any crime. This is the first impeachment where there is no crime.”
False. A statutory crime is not required to impeach. But the House Judiciary Committee’s report on Trump and Ukraine says that the first article of impeachment includes a charge of attempted bribery. “President Trump’s abuse of power encompassed impeachable ‘bribery’ and violations of federal criminal law,” the report says.
The House intelligence committee’s report says Trump “personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.” (Requesting foreign assistance in U.S. elections is a crime.)
“I see a woman, Carolyn Maloney. I was with her. Her first race, I helped her. She was always so nice. Oh, thank you. Thank you. I made lots of contributions over the years. You know in New York, it’s like, purely Democrat, especially Manhattan. So, what happens? I make lots of contributions for years and years and years. … ‘I raise my hand to impeach.’ Well, give me back the damn money that I’ve been paying you for so many years. Let her pay me back all the money.”
Mostly accurate. Trump contributed $4,000 to Maloney’s congressional campaigns from 1993 to 2009. According to Federal Election Commission records, the donations started when she was already a freshman member of Congress, not when she was running her first race.
“Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty. So, she calls me up like eight months ago. Her husband was there a long time, but I didn’t give him the B treatment. I didn’t give him the C or the D. I could have. Nobody would ask. You know, I gave the A-plus treatment. Take down the flags. Why are you taking them down for ex-Congressman Dingell? Oh, okay. Do this, do that, do that rotunda, everything. I gave them everything. That’s okay. I don’t want anything for it. I don’t need anything for anything. She calls me up: ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down, he’d be so — thank you so much, sir.’ I said: ‘That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.’ Maybe he’s looking up. I don’t know. … No, but I look at her and she’s so sincere and what happens? ‘I vote to impeach Trump.’”
False. Let’s leave aside Trump’s suggestion that Rep. John Dingell is in hell. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who succeeded her late husband in Congress, said she didn’t call Trump.
“He called me to tell me he was lowering the flags,” she said. “And that meant a lot. But John Dingell earned his burial at Arlington Cemetery because he’s a World War II veteran.”
Trump also implied that he arranged for Dingell to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, but Dingell did not lie in state there (and such decisions are left to congressional leaders, not the president).
“I went through the whole Mueller hoax. They did this big report. I was totally exonerated.”
False. Far from total exoneration, the Mueller report documents several instances of potential obstruction of justice committed by the president. Explaining his decision not to seek charges, the special counsel cited a blanket policy from the Justice Department that bars the indictment of a sitting president. The Mueller report also describes a series of contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians and says the campaign welcomed their help, though there was not enough evidence for conspiracy charges.
“I say basically, very simple, ‘Do us a favor’ — our country, do us, do us, not me, our country. And then, what do I say? I say the United States attorney general. Attorney general of the United States could speak to you would be great, okay? Because it’s known for major corruption. … I used the word us, us as the United States, our country. … How many times have you heard it where they say it in a speech, ‘And then the president said, do me a favor.’ Well, that’s not what I said. I said, ‘Do us a favor’ — our country — and then, I said the attorney general of the United States. I didn’t say my campaign manager.”
False. Trump is attempting to whitewash his requests of Zelensky. Weeks after the rough transcript of the July 25 call with the Ukrainian president was released, Trump began claiming that when he said “do us a favor” in the call, the word “us” referred to the United States, not himself or his administration.
This ex post facto explanation is a real stretch. Trump repeatedly requested that Ukrainian officials meet with his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, whom he didn’t mention in these remarks at his Michigan rally.
Senior U.S. officials with responsibility over Ukraine matters have said the Biden and CrowdStrike claims Trump wanted investigated were baseless and not in keeping with official U.S. policy.
“In fact, the new leader of Ukraine got in on a platform where he looks for all of the problems of dishonesty and everything that was going on in Ukraine, right? He looked for it. That’s how he got into office. He got into office that way.”
Accurate. Zelensky campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, and many experts say Trump is complicating his agenda by placing unexplained holds on security assistance funds and dragging Ukraine into the 2020 U.S. election.
“The president of Ukraine, who is a quality person, said there was no pressure exerted whatsoever. That was a killer for the Democrats, right? Then, his foreign minister said the same thing. He said there was no pressure exerted whatsoever.”
Mostly false. U.S. officials have testified to Congress that Zelensky’s government knew the Trump administration was delaying security assistance funds and that the Ukrainian leader was preparing to give CNN an interview in which he would announce the investigations Trump wanted. The interview was later canceled, but Trump is stretching Zelensky’s comments.
After Trump released the rough transcript of the July 25 phone call with Zelensky, the Ukrainian president said “no one can pressure me.” Zelensky also criticized Trump for holding up U.S. security funds appropriated by Congress. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us,” Zelensky told Time magazine. “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
“Did you see what the Democrats did a couple of days ago? They tried to say that he’s not a strong person, that he was weak [referring to the Ukrainian president]. They used the word weak, that he was weak and under the power of Trump, he said. Well, do you know how insulting that is?”
Mostly false. Democrats and independent experts have pointed out the large power disparity between Trump and Zelensky. Ukraine has been at war with Russia since 2014 and relies on U.S. military and diplomatic support to defend itself and negotiate peace terms from a position of strength. It’s not an insult to point out that under such precarious circumstances, the Ukrainian president would be hard-pressed to refuse any request from his American counterpart or contradict him in public.
“You know in 2018, in 2018, I didn’t run. I didn’t run, right? They all said, oh — well, actually we picked up two seats in the Senate that these guys never talk about.”
Mostly false. Republicans already held the Senate majority, and they picked up one seat, not two, in 2018. The result was expected and widely reported at the time.
“We just approved 171 Supreme Court justices — federal court justices, 171 federal justices, including Courts of Appeal, 171, will be up, probably by the end of the year, to 182.”
Mostly accurate. Trump has appointed more than 170 federal judges.
“I thank President Obama. He gave me 142 openings [in the federal courts].”
Mostly false. When Trump took office, approximately 100 judicial seats were vacant. He should be thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as well as Obama. Before Trump took office, Senate Republicans stonewalled many of Obama’s judicial nominees instead of giving them hearings
“I have to tell you, I have to be always very truthful because if I’m a little bit off, they call me a liar. They’ll say he gets a Pinocchio, the stupid Washington Post. They’re Pinocchio.”
False. Trump has earned all of his Pinocchios fair and square. We tend not to bother with claims that are “a little bit off” when there are so many fantastically false claims emanating from the president.
“Our drug price is down for the first time in 51 years, drug prices came down.”
Mostly false. Prices for generic drugs seem to be declining while branded drugs are becoming costlier.
The CPI for prescription drugs in 2018 fell for the first time in 46 years. But that’s only when measuring calendar years from January to December, which is somewhat arbitrary. The president’s record shrinks to 5 1/2 years when measuring non-calendar years. (The CPI had last declined in the 12-month period ended July 2013.)
Experts say the CPI for prescription drugs fails to account for rebates, which can be substantial, and may be giving a skewed picture because of recent market shifts toward generics and electronic payments by third parties. A range of studies we found shows that drug prices have not declined, especially when it comes to branded drugs.
On the other hand, the 2 percent decline for the year ended June 30 is the largest on record for any 12-month period in the CPI data, which goes back to 1970.
“We’re approving very soon for the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, where he could buy — he has the right to go. We’re giving him the right to go and buy from a foreign country where the prices for the identical drug, identical drug, are 50 percent less, and he’s going to do that for the people of Florida and we’re going to do that for your governors if they want to do that.”
Mostly accurate. The Trump administration has announced plans to allow states to buy cheaper drugs from Canada. “But officials could not say when the plan might go into effect, and many questions about its possible scope remain unanswered,” The Washington Post reported on the same day as this Trump rally.
“[The New York Times] came out with a story that was — where it was a great headline for me — and the people that read it, the super-radical left, they called and complained so much that they changed the headline and took it from positive to negative on a good story. Can you believe it?”
Mostly accurate. Trump has made a slew of divisive and, at times, racist statements directed at minorities. After mass shootings in Ohio and Texas left more than 30 people dead during one weekend in August, the Times was criticized for its headline on a front-page story: “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.” The headline was later changed to “Assailing Hate but Not Guns.” Times editors said the first headline was not up to par and was produced on a tight deadline.
“They made more money 24 years ago than they were making when I got elected president and they worked one job versus two or three jobs.”
Mostly false. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the percentage of people working two jobs has declined since the Great Recession — and been relatively steady, at about 5 percent, since 2010. Going back 20 years, it was about 6 percent.
Adjusted for inflation, the purchasing power of paychecks has barely budged over the last 40 years, though the Congressional Budget Office found that wages grew for all income groups during this period. The rate of increase, however, was most dramatic for the top 1 percent, while everyone else saw relatively modest increases.
“The salaries — and you know, the number one group of people that are going up is the blue-collar worker. It’s percentage, the best, the blue-collar worker.”
Mostly accurate. We don’t know how Trump defines “blue-collar worker,” but some research backs him up on this claim, showing that pay is growing fastest for low-wage workers.
“African American unemployment, the lowest in the history of our African American number. … African American unemployment is the lowest it’s ever been in the history of our country.”
Mostly accurate. The black unemployment rate has reached record lows since Trump took office, though it had ticked up slightly in November. The Labor Department has used its current methodology for calculating the African American jobless rate since 1972, so it’s a stretch to call it the lowest rate “in the history of our country.”
“[Black] poverty levels are the best they’ve ever been in the history of our country.”
Accurate. Poverty has been declining for decades and black poverty rates have reached new lows since Trump took office, though we’re still talking about nearly 25 percent of the African American population living under the poverty line, which is about double the rate for all Americans.
“With Hispanic Americans, the best unemployment numbers and employment numbers.”
Accurate. Hispanic unemployment has reached record lows since Trump took office, hitting 4.2 percent in November.
“With Asians, the best unemployment.”
Accurate. The jobless rate for Asian Americans reached a record-low 2 percent in May 2018, but the data goes back to 2000, so there’s not a lot of room for historical comparisons.
“The best unemployment, and women, I’m sorry, 71 years, best in 71 years.”
Mostly accurate. Under Trump, the unemployment rate for women has attained its lowest levels since 1953. That’s about 67 years.
“They’re accusing me really of doing what Joe Biden admitted. … He’s on tape saying that he’s holding back $1 billion from Ukraine unless you change the prosecutor.”
False. Trump accuses Biden of something he did not do. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office had opened an investigation into a Ukrainian oligarch, Mykola Zlochevsky, who owned Burisma Holdings, a natural gas company. Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, joined Burisma’s board in April 2014 and left in 2019. The prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, let the investigation go dormant, as well as other investigations, and the United States and its allies decided he was not effective in his job and in fact let corruption flourish.
Biden traveled to Ukraine in December 2015 and said the United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless Shokin was removed; it was not a demand to stop the Burisma prosecution and there’s no evidence Shokin was after Hunter Biden or that he was ever under investigation.
The vice president’s trip was part of a longer push by the United States, Western allies and nongovernmental organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The goal was to promote reform in Ukraine and remove a prosecutor who allegedly was turning a blind eye to corruption. The U.S. plan to push for Shokin’s dismissal didn’t emanate from Biden, but rather from officials at the State Department.
Shokin was eventually removed by parliament. The prosecutor general of Ukraine in early 2019, Yuri Lutsenko, was quoted as saying “he had no evidence of wrongdoing by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or his son.”
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have much bigger crowds than anybody’s ever had in history.”
“I want to be here because this area supported me so overwhelmingly … I didn’t get 100 percent, but we got a damn good percentage, right?”
Mostly false. Trump won Calhoun County, Mich., by 12 percentage points in 2016.
“Your congressmen, all of your congresspeople — been wonderful people — they’re in a place called Congress right now. They’re doing an unbelievable job of supporting your president and supporting you. So they had a choice. Sir, should we leave and be there? I said don’t leave, stay right where you are. That’s why we got that vote.”
Accurate. Republican House members from Michigan were in Washington voting against impeachment on the night of this Trump rally.
“We’ve eliminated more job-killing regulations than any administration in the history of our country, whether it’s four years or eight years or, in one case, much more than eight years. In a period of two and a half years, we have eliminated more regulations than any other president by far.”
Unsubstantiated. Trump may have grounds to brag, but his claim cannot be easily verified. There is no reliable metric on which to judge his claim — or to compare him with previous presidents. Many experts credit Jimmy Carter with historic deregulation of the airline and trucking industries; he also lifted the ban on brewing beer at home, resulting in an explosion of new breweries.
“You’re saving almost $3,000 a year because of regulation cuts.”
Mostly false. This statistic comes from a report issued in June 2019 by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which calculated such savings five to 10 years in the future, though Trump frequently suggests the savings are already being realized.
The report makes a number of generous assumptions about the impact of deregulation in order come up with this $3,000 figure, but experts we consulted found the assumptions and conclusions to be dubious. One expert cited in the report said the analysis was “just crazy” and “anti-academic.” The report also does not account for administration actions that have lowered household incomes, such as Trump’s trade war.
“Total income gains for median households will reach $10,000 a family. I’ll give you a couple of quick numbers. So under President Bush, for eight years, you saved $450, meaning you took in four $450. Okay, fine. Under President Obama, you took in $975. Under President Trump, including the energy savings and the regulation savings and the tax cuts savings, it’s more than $10,000 in less than three years.”
False. Trump is mixing up all kinds of apples and oranges for maximum spin. One component, the claim that households are saving $3,000 a year from regulatory cuts, is worth Three Pinocchios just by itself. The president never mentions actions taken by the administration that have reduced household income. For instance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York officials peg Trump’s tariffs as already costing the typical U.S. household $831 a year.
“We’ve ended the war on American energy and the United States is now the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas on planet Earth.”
Mostly false. The notion that a revolution in energy began under the Trump administration is wrong. The United States has led the world in natural gas production since 2009. Crude oil production has been increasing rapidly since 2010, reaching record levels in August 2018, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. In September 2018, the United States passed both Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the largest global crude oil producer. It is expected to hold that position, according to predictions from the International Energy Agency.
“They [Democrats] want to close up your steel mills. They don’t want your steel mills.”
False. No Democrat is pledging to close steel mills or supports policies specifically targeting the industry.
“Look at what I’ve done for steel. I mean the steel is back. We taxed all of the dumped steel coming in from China and other places, and U.S steel mills are doing great. They’re expanding all over the country and they were all going to be out of business within two years. The way they were going, they were gone.”
False. Steel mills were not going to be out of business in two years when Trump took office, and they are not expanding all over the country. In fact, primary metal manufacturing jobs are below the levels seen during the Obama administration.
“United States Steel is spending now billions of dollars on expansions.”
Mostly accurate. The steelmaker announced a big expansion in Pennsylvania, but also announced in 2019 that it was idling two blast furnaces due to slumping demand.
“Every major Democrat running for president has pledged to eliminate gas-powered automobiles and destroy the U.S. auto industry forever.”
False. Some leading Democrats, but not all, have pledged to transition away from fossil fuels over a 10-year period.
“We’re even bringing back the old light bulb. You heard about that, right? The old light bulb, which is better. … The new light, they’re terrible. You look terrible. They cost you many, many times more, like four or five times more. And you know, they’re considered hazardous waste.”
Mostly false. The Trump administration is blocking a rule meant to phase out older lightbulbs, saying consumers should have the choice to keep using them. Some newer lightbulbs, compact fluorescent, or CFL, bulbs, contain mercury and tend to have harsher color quality. But Trump’s complaint is out of date. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association says that in 2019 CFLs accounted for less than 5 percent of all sales of the classic pear-shaped bulbs. Light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs are the dominant environmentally friendly technology. They don’t have safety risks and often provide comparable light at a cheaper lifetime cost than incandescents. LEDs currently made up more than 70 percent of sales.
“When a light bulb is out, you’ve got to bring it to a dump. So let’s say over here at Battle Creek, where’s your nearest dump? Okay, that’s what, a couple of hundred miles away. So every time you lose, drive a couple of hundred miles. I said how many people do that? Nobody.”
False. The residents of Battle Creek, Mich., don’t have to travel far to dispose of their energy-efficient lightbulbs. Local officials organize collection events, and the local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores also take them, according to CNN.
“You turn on the shower, you’re not allowed to have any water anymore.”
“Dishwashers, we did the dishwasher, right? You press it — remember the dishwasher, you press it, boom, they’d be like an explosion. Five minutes later, you open it up, the steam pours out the dishes. Now, you press it 12 times. Women tell me, again, you know, they give you four drops of water.”
“We just came out with a reg [regulation] on dishwashers.”
Accurate. The Trump administration is proposing to allow faster dishwashers and to exempt them from energy-efficiency standards.
“I mentioned all three: I said sinks, showers and toilets. The headline was Trump with the toilets, toilets. That’s all they were.”
Accurate. Trump rather bizarrely and without evidence claimed Dec. 7 that “people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.” He did also complain about low water pressure in sinks and showers.
“In the last two decades before my election, we lost one in five auto manufacturing jobs in this country.”
Mostly accurate. Manufacturing jobs in the auto industry declined nearly 23 percent from 1996 to 2016, according to federal data.
“Among the very first acts that I did was to stop the deal that would have dealt a death blow to the U.S. auto industry. I withdrew from the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership that would have ended your auto industry.”
Mostly false. Trump withdrew from the TPP, but the rest of his claim falls flat. The United States would have had up to 30 years to phase out tariffs on cars and light trucks imported from Japan under the terms of the TPP as negotiated by the Obama administration. But overall, the impact on the auto industry was believed to be limited.
The pact essentially preserved the status quo on trucks in the United States, the most profitable part of the market. Tariffs on trucks brought into the U.S. has forced foreign car makers to build truck and SUV plants in the United States. Meanwhile, the TPP would have bolstered auto exports as other countries would have been forced to eliminate tariffs, such as Malaysia’s 30 percent foreign tax on autos, and Vietnam’s foreign tax of 70 percent on autos.
“Like the one [trade deal] in Korea, that was a Hillary Clinton special. She said this will produce 250,000 new jobs, and I said, well, what happened? He said, well, she was right except it was for South Korea, not for us. So it produced 250,000 jobs for South Korea.”
False. Trump is referring to a free-trade agreement with South Korea that was negotiated by President George W. Bush’s administration and then tweaked by President Barack Obama’s. Hillary Clinton did not negotiate it. One of his top trade aides claimed 100,000 U.S. jobs — not 250,000 — would be lost in the deal, but even that’s a dubious number disputed by mainstream economists.
“The new USMCA has powerful protections to keep auto manufacturing jobs right here in Michigan.”
Accurate. Among other measures, the USMCA requires that 75 percent of vehicles be made of North American content, up from 62.5 percent under NAFTA.
“Since the election, we’ve created 41,000 brand-new motor vehicle and parts jobs, manufacturing jobs.”
Mostly accurate. As luck would have it, this is mostly correct when measuring from Trump’s election in November 2016 or from February 2017, his first full month in office.
“Remember the statement by President Obama, you’d have to wave a magic wand. Remember the magic wand because of manufacturing. And I said, you know, that sounds strange. What do you do if you don’t have manufacturing? How do you make things, right?”
Mostly false. Trump often misquotes Obama’s “magic wand” comment. At a town hall in 2016, Obama said more manufacturing jobs had been created during his term than at any time since the 1990s, adding that some manufacturing jobs could be recovered and some have disappeared because of automation and other economic trends.
“We’ve got 600,000 manufacturing jobs.”
Mostly false. Manufacturers have added about 480,000 jobs since Trump took office. Since his election in 2016, the job gain is about 525,000.
“They’re opening these massive — Foxconn in Wisconsin — they’re opening these massive plants.”
Mostly accurate. Foxconn has announced a big investment in Wisconsin, but there have been bumps in the road. “Whatever Foxconn is building in Wisconsin, it’s not the $10 billion, 22 million-square-foot Generation 10.5 LCD factory that President Trump once promised would be the ‘eighth wonder of the world,’” the Verge reported. “At various points over the last two years, the Taiwanese tech manufacturer has said it would build a smaller LCD factory; that it wouldn’t build a factory at all; that it would build an LCD factory; that the company could make any number of things, from screens for cars to server racks to robot coffee kiosks; and so on.”
“Fiat Chrysler recently announced a $4.5 billion investment in Michigan, including the first new auto plant in Detroit in more than a generation.”
“General Motors recently announced a $300 million investment at its Orion assembly plant right here in Michigan.”
“With Japan, we had a $68 billion deficit.”
Mostly false. As usual, Trump is counting only the trade deficit in goods. When measuring goods alongside services, the U.S. trade deficit with Japan was $56.7 billion in 2018.
“Those are globalists. They think it’s wonderful to have deficits, I don’t. They think it’s great. It’s a great thing to have deficits. No, those are globalists.”
False. Trump may not like deficits, but he has contributed to their growth, especially by signing a large tax cut in 2017.
“Every Democrat running for president wants to open the floodgates to unlimited refugees from all around the world, overwhelming your communities and putting our national security at grave risk.”
False. Refugees do not overwhelm communities because U.S. officials usually find placement for them in different parts of the country. There’s no evidence refugees, in many cases women and children, endanger national security. Trump often makes false claims associating immigrants with crime despite a lack of evidence. No leading Democrat running for president has voiced support for unlimited refugee admissions, though top contenders such as Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would raise the annual cap from 18,000 to more than 100,000.
“Democrat immigration policies are resulting in brutal assaults and wicked murders against innocent Americans.”
False. Trump is referring in part to catch and release, the policy of releasing some undocumented immigrants into the country while they wait for their court hearings. This policy is bipartisan, cobbled together through Democratic and Republican administrations.
“We’ve moved out thousands and thousands of MS-13 thugs out of our country.”
Mostly accurate. The Trump administration had deported MS-13 gang members more than 2,000 times as of the end of 2018.
“We have agreements now with Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, you know they didn’t use to take them back. If we had a murderer and we said get them the hell out, you know, we don’t really want them in our prisons.”
False. The United States had deported hundreds of thousands of immigrants from all three countries years before Trump took office. From 2013 to 2018, such deportations totaled 550,186.
“In June, two illegal aliens in Sandusky, Michigan, were convicted of sadistically beating and stabbing a woman to death with a kitchen knife. Then they hid her body in a water drain.”
“A criminal alien with two previous deportations was just arrested in Michigan and convicted of brutally beating and strangling to death a single mother of five young children.”
Mostly false. This individual was not “just arrested.” The arrest happened in 2016.
“Far-left politicians support deadly sanctuary cities, which deliberately release dangerous violent criminal aliens out of the jails and directly onto your streets.”
Mostly false. “Sanctuary cities” generally comply with ICE detainer requests when the crimes are serious. State and local officials also prosecute violent crimes in their jurisdictions, jailing any offenders to preserve public safety. There’s no official definition of sanctuary, but it generally refers to rules restricting state and local governments from alerting federal authorities about people who may be in the country illegally. A handful of studies have looked at whether there is a causation between sanctuary cities and crime. They either found no statistically significant impact of sanctuary policies on crime, or a reduction in crime due to immigrant-friendly policing strategies. Although research is limited, it shows little difference in crime rates between cities that comply with ICE detainer requests and those that don’t.
“Earlier this year, authorities in the sanctuary jurisdiction of Kent County, Michigan — anybody know Kent County? — released an illegal alien charged with assault with intent to murder after he repeatedly and viciously stabbed a man in the head with a broken bottle. They let him go to roam free in Michigan communities.”
“We had a great election in North Carolina recently. Two great congressmen got elected, you don’t hear about. When they win, you don’t ever hear about it. Just a few months ago, two great people and they got elected. And they got elected because I wanted at the end — you don’t talk about the fact that you have sanctuary cities and they had some horrible crimes happening from those sanctuary cities. As soon as I mentioned that, boom, they went up like rocket ships and they won their elections.”
False. Trump is revising history. Both congressional seats in North Carolina were already held by Republicans, only one race was considered close, and the GOP candidate was ahead in every poll. The races did not turn on Trump’s sanctuary city comments.
“You do have sanctuary cities in Michigan.”
“We’re getting these prosecutors and, you know, you murder somebody, they give you two months. They fight, then you don’t even have to go to jail.”
False. This is a gross exaggeration. Some prosecutors have decided to use their discretion to be more lenient with low-level drug offenses or nonviolent cases. There is no evidence of prosecutors going easy on murderers with the kinds of sentences Trump mentions.
“Illegal crossings are down 75 percent since May.”
Accurate. Southwest border apprehensions declined 75 percent from May to November, when 33,510 people were caught trying to cross into the United States without authorization.
“We’ve ended catch and release. We’ve ended it.”
False. The Trump administration has come up with several ideas to avoid releasing asylum seekers into the United States while they await immigration court hearings (what’s known as “catch and release.”) But some of these pilot programs have been tied up in litigation, and authorities continue to release people into the country despite the president’s claim.
“You catch him and then you release him into a country. That’s what you had to do by law and if you don’t do that, they arrest the Border Patrol people. Do you believe this? The Border Patrol people were in more danger than the criminal aliens coming in.”
False. There’s no record of Border Patrol agents being arrested for failing to release immigrants into the country. Federal court rulings require that undocumented immigrant children be released from custody after a certain number of days, but many adults who cross the border without authorization are quickly returned to their home countries without an immigration hearing. Those with criminal records are not eligible for catch and release.
“Remember the caravans coming up, we call them caravans, and they’re interviewing the people? I’ll never forget it. One nice citizen reporter, female reporter: ‘And what did you do?’ ‘Well, I want to come to America.’ ‘Okay, good. What did you do?’ ‘Murder.’”
Accurate. The interview was broadcast on Fox News.
“I used to be a big contributor [to Charles E. Schumer].”
Mostly accurate. Trump contributed $8,000 to Schumer’s campaigns from 1996 to 2009, according to FEC records.
“Democrats are pushing a socialist takeover of healthcare that will take away your coverage and take away your doctor. … They want to take away 180 million people, great, private, highly-negotiated health care where you have your own doctor.”
Mostly false. Several leading Democrats are proposing to expand Medicare to cover all Americans. By extension, this would render the private insurance industry obsolete. But the 180 million people on private plans wouldn’t be left uncovered, as Trump suggests, because they would be absorbed into the expanded Medicare system.
“Remember Obama? Twenty-eight times, 28 times: ‘You can have your doctor, you can have your plan.’ Didn’t work out that way, did it?”
Mostly accurate. This was one of Obama’s famous whoppers — claiming that patients could keep their doctors despite changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act. Trump says Obama repeated this false claim 28 times, but PolitiFact found 37 instances in which Obama or administration officials repeated it.
“How about giving Iran $1.8 billion in cash, how about that?”
Mostly false. This was related to the settlement of a decades-old claim between the two countries. An initial payment of $400 million was handed over on Jan. 17, 2016, the day after Iran released four American detainees, including The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian. The timing — which U.S. officials insisted was a coincidence — suggested the cash could be viewed as a ransom payment. But the initial cash payment was Iran’s money. In the 1970s, the then-pro-Western Iranian government under the shah paid $400 million for U.S. military equipment. But the equipment was never delivered because the two countries broke off relations after the seizure of American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. Two other payments totaling $1.3 billion — a negotiated agreement on the interest owed on the $400 million — came some weeks later.
“I ended the Iran nuclear deal.”
Mostly false. Trump in 2018 withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) based on specious reasons, but the other signatory nations remained in the deal. Experts say the JCPOA may now be on its last legs. Iran announced it would no longer abide by key restrictions after the country’s top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, was killed last week in a U.S. drone strike.
“Republicans will strongly protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”
False. In an ongoing court case, the Trump administration is supporting a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act — including its guarantee that patients can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Republicans in Congress tried for years to repeal the whole law.
“Virtually every top Democrat also now supports late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the moment of birth.”
False. Most leading 2020 Democrats have not explicitly weighed in on late-term abortion. Trump often mischaracterizes remarks by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who told a radio show that late-term abortion procedures are “done in cases where there may be severe deformities” or “a fetus that’s not viable.”
“I’ve asked Congress to prohibit extreme late-term abortion.”
“To protect the health and safety of our citizens, we awarded $100 million to improve water infrastructure in Flint.”
Mostly accurate. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency awarded this grant in March 2017, but the funding was approved by Congress and Obama in 2016.
Accurate. Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late 2017, which reduced rates mostly for wealthy earners and corporations.
“I recognized Israel’s true capital and opened the American embassy in Jerusalem, and we also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a big deal.”
“We’ve done so much, even Right to Try. You know Right to Try? People were traveling — they’re terminally ill — they’re traveling all over the world. We have the best medical in the world, the best doctors, the best labs, the best hospitals — they’re traveling all over the world, right, to try and get — because it takes years to get something approved [in the United States]. And I said, wait a minute, folks. Why are we doing this, and they’ve been trying to do it for 49 years? They couldn’t get it done, not that easy.”
False. Trump signed the Right to Try Act, but it wasn’t a long legislative battle. The concept emerged in 2013, not 49 years ago. The FDA already approved 99 percent of requests for access to unapproved drugs, but supporters thought these policies were too restrictive. Yahoo News reported in February: “It appears only two patients have been treated under the act, and it is much too soon to tell whether it has saved any lives.”
“What we’ve done in the last three years with the FDA and even the speed of what we’re doing, it would take 12, 13, 14 years to get things approved. It’s down to a much smaller number.”
Unsubstantiated. Trump’s Food and Drug Administration is approving generic drugs at a record clip, but we couldn’t find support for his claim that the process once took up to 14 years and is now much shorter.
“You know some of these [MS-13] guys, they knife people, they don’t even need a gun because it’s more painful.”
“These are animals [MS-13 gang members], and then, Nancy Pelosi said they shouldn’t use the term animal.”
False. Here’s what happened: Trump on May 16, 2018, appeared to suggest that illegal immigrants were “animals” but he later clarified on Twitter on May 18 that he was referring to MS-13.
But, the day after Trump’s “animals” comment, on May 17, Pelosi said “calling people animals is not a good thing” and defended “undocumented immigrants.” She was speaking more generally about undocumented immigrants, not MS-13, before Trump issued his clarification.
“San Francisco … the police officers are getting sick just from walking the beat. They’re getting sick.”
False. The San Francisco Police Department has denied Trump’s claim. A police union said three Los Angeles police officers contracted a Staph infection after attending a homeless individual at a police station. “But Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at LAC+USC Medical Center, said it’s unfair – and inaccurate – to pin blame on any one source,” a local CBS affiliate reported. They quoted Spellberg as saying: “You wouldn’t be able to say that it came from one person or another. It’s everywhere around us.”
“Diseases are coming back that this world hasn’t seen for 30, 40, 50 years.”
Mostly accurate. Some medical experts say that measles, for example, had been nearly eradicated but is reemerging in communities that shun vaccines.
“This is the state where Henry Ford invented the assembly line.”
Mostly false. Henry Ford did not invent so much as sponsor the invention of the assembly line, according to contemporaneous Ford accounts. A Ford worker in Michigan came up with the rough concept after visiting Chicago and seeing a slaughterhouse where carcasses were taken apart step-by-step on a conveyor belt. Between 1908 and 1913, Ford workers finessed that idea into an auto assembly line. But Trump is correct that the Ford factory was in Michigan.
“I went to NATO, where we were being ripped off because the other countries, you have 29 countries, and the other countries weren’t paying their bills. They were delinquent.”
False. NATO members were never “delinquent” in their payments. That’s not how NATO works. Before Trump announced his candidacy for president, NATO member nations agreed to ramp up their own defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024.
“I raised, not from us, nothing from us, $130 billion, but that’s nothing. And over a short period of time, they will be paying $530 billion more, all of those [NATO] countries.”
False. We recently gave Four Pinocchios to Trump for this claim. He takes credit for increased defense spending by NATO members even though those increases began years before he became president, after Russia invaded Crimea. The $530 billion figure is just bonkers and wrong. NATO members (not including the United States) are expected to spend an additional $400 billion by 2024, not $530 billion as Trump claims.
“We were spending 100 percent of NATO.”
“We’re protecting Europe. They rip us off on trade, right? They rip us off like crazy. We lose hundreds of billions of dollars on trade. It’s been going on a long time. They don’t take your product. They don’t take your cars. They don’t take your farm product. They don’t take your medical machines.”
False. The E.U. is the largest export market for the United States, and those exports supported an estimated 2.6 million U.S. jobs in 2015, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The United States runs a trade deficit with the E.U. when looking only at goods, and runs a trade surplus of about $60 billion when looking only at services. Combined, the U.S. goods and services trade deficit with the E.U. was $109 billion in 2018. International trade works in such a way that some countries dominate some markets and don’t compete as much in others. The French have trade restrictions on U.S. wine, just as the United States has trade restrictions on French clothing.
“In France, President Obama’s more popular than President Trump.”
Accurate. Polls show Trump is very unpopular in France.
“I just taxed [French] wine and champagne coming into our country because they’re ripping us off on the Internet, okay?”
Mostly accurate. The Trump administration is preparing these tariffs but has not yet implemented them. Who needs a drink, by the way?
“My father came from Germany.”
False. Fred Trump was born in the Bronx to German immigrants.