The vile, corrupt, angry, coarse Donald Trump appeared in full, disgusting display Thursday night at a rally in front of his dwindling “core” of supporters in Minneapolis.
In just three minutes, he churned out five major lies as his pitiful defense of his impeachable actions against the Constitution, the nation and its people.
He told his remaining rabid — and clueless — “fans” that Joe Biden “as only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.” That, of course, brought raucous cheers from the racists who dominate his base.
His displays of outright bigotry included attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the first Somali-American in Congress.
Trump also mocked Omar, the first Somali-American in Congress.
“How hell did that ever happen?” he said of her election, adding: “Congresswoman Omar is an America-hating socialist.”
Rep Omar is a frequent target of a bigot like Trump. Earlier this year, he included her in an attack on four minority Democratic female members of Congress, saying they all should “to back and fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
When Elaine Duke was acting director of homeland security, Trump screamed at for not doing more to “ban refugees from fucking Somalia.”
He ignored that all four of the women are American citizens and three of them were born in the United States.
Trump’s tone at the rally in Minneapolis brought outcries from social media.
“This is the kind hate rally ween in authoritarian and fascist countries,” posted Elad Nehori. “We Jews have seen this before, as have countless other minorities.”
And speaking of “totally broken and crime-infested places,” that description could easily describe Washington, DC, which is ever more so since Trump became this nation’s accidental president and Manhattan, which he is from.
Trump tirades came as more and more facts emerge on his corruption and the criminal actions of his administration. We’ve learned how he tried to get former Secretary of State Tex Tillerson to “intervene” in Ukrainian prosecution of an ally of his lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“The modern day Hitler,” said Mara McEwin on Twitter. The red shirts, rec caps are the new brown shirts. Truly terrifying.”
“The special hate that Trump and the alt-right have for Somalis, above and beyond all other immigrant groups, has always fascinated and disgusted me,” posted Noah Smith.
Erin Maye Quade, a former Minnesota state rep, notes that Trump supporters bombed a mosque in Bloomington, MN, made death threats against a member of the Minnesota Congressional delegation and mailed bombs to Democrats.
“Many elected officials (with Somali constituents) were in attendance tonight,” she adds. “They should be asked about this.”
A lot of people should also be asked why they elected such a vile, despicable degenerate for president.
Rallying in Michigan, President Donald Trump bragged about a surging auto industry that isn’t surging, a Republican rescue for health care that has yet to take shape, a “total” exoneration in the Russia investigation that was not offered.
And Trump, as he routinely does, took credit for a veterans health care initiative that his predecessor achieved and ignored the reality when veterans seek treatment — waiting times that still last for weeks.
Here’s a look at rhetoric from his Grand Rapids rally on Thursday night, as well as his remarks leading up to it:
TRUMP, on electoral votes: “We won 306 to 223.” — rally.
THE FACTS: No. He won 304 to Hillary Clinton’s 227, according to an Associated Press tally of the electoral votes in every state. He routinely misstates the result.
TRUMP: “We did really well with women.” — rally.
THE FACTS: Not that well. He actually lost the women’s vote.
About 54 percent nationally voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls, compared with Trump’s 41 percent. He won 52 percent of white women, according to those polls.
TRUMP: “The Republican Party will become the party of great health care. … Republicans want you to have an affordable plan that’s just right for you.” — rally.
TRUMP: “If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out, we will have a plan that’s far better than Obamacare.” — remarks Wednesday to reporters.
THE FACTS: Republicans may aspire to great health care but they don’t have a comprehensive plan for it. And there’s no indication that the White House, executive branch agencies like Health and Human Services, and Republicans in Congress are working on one.
Trump’s recent budget called for repealing “Obamacare” and setting hard limits on federal spending for Medicaid, which covers low-income people. Some Republicans argue that would be better, because the federal government would create a new program of health care grants to states. But when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed similar proposals a couple of years ago, it estimated such changes would result in deep coverage losses, not to mention weaker insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Trump’s budget also called for hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts to hospitals and other service providers, a nonstarter with lawmakers in Congress worried about re-election next year.
The Supreme Court has upheld the health care law twice in previous challenges. The five justices who first upheld it in 2012 are still on the court.
Congressional Republicans are generally trying to steer away from Obamacare spats. Some are trying to focus on areas where they might find common ground with Democrats and the president, such as reducing prescription drug costs.
TRUMP: “We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, always.” — rally.
THE FACTS: He’s not protecting health coverage for patients with pre-existing medical conditions. In fact, the Trump administration is pressing in court for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act — including provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions from health insurance discrimination.
Trump and other Republicans say they’ll have a plan to preserve those safeguards, but the White House has provided no details. And it’s a stretch to think they could get a Republicans-only plan passed through Congress with the House under Democratic control.
Meanwhile House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has unveiled her own plan to shore up and expand the ACA, which would make many more middle-class people eligible for subsidies to help pay their premiums, and also make the subsidy amounts more generous.
Former President Barack Obama’s health care law requires insurers to take all applicants, regardless of medical history, and patients with health problems pay the same standard premiums as healthy ones. Bills supported in 2017 by Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the law could have pushed up costs for people with pre-existing conditions.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media after leaving the Oval Office of the White House, March 28, 2019, in Washington, en route to Michigan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
TRUMP: “We’re bringing a lot of those car companies back. They’re pouring back in.” —rally.
TRUMP: “We’re opening up car plants in Michigan again for the first time in decades. They’re coming in, really pouring in. … And this has been happening pretty much since I’ve been president. It’s really amazing what’s going on … We’ve brought back so much industry, so many car companies to Michigan, so we’re very happy.” — remarks while departing for Michigan.
THE FACTS: There is very little truth in those remarks.
The only automaker announcing plans to reopen a plant in Michigan is Fiat Chrysler, which is restarting an old engine plant to build three-row SUVs. It’s been planning to do so since before Trump was elected. GM is even closing two Detroit-area factories: one that builds cars and another that builds transmissions.
Automakers have made announcements about new models being built in the state, but no other factories have been reopened. Ford stopped building the Focus compact car in the Detroit suburb of Wayne last year, but it’s being replaced by the manufacture of a small pickup and a new SUV. That announcement was made in December 2016, before Trump took office.
GM, meantime, is closing factories in Ohio and Maryland.
Trump can plausibly claim that his policies have encouraged some activity in the domestic auto industry. Corporate tax cuts freed more money for investment and potential tariff increases on imported vehicles are an incentive to build in the U.S.
But automakers have not been “pouring in” at all, as he persistently claims, and when expansion does happen, it’s not all because of him.
Fiat Chrysler has been planning the SUVs for several years and has been looking at expansion in the Detroit area, where it has unused building space and an abundant, trainable automotive labor force.
Normally it takes at least three years for an automaker to plan a new vehicle, which is the case with the three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee and the larger Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs that will fill the restarting Detroit-area plant and an existing one. Several years ago then-CEO Sergio Marchionne said the Wagoneer would be built in the Detroit area.
Detroit automakers usually build larger vehicles in the U.S. because the profit margins are high enough to cover the higher wages paid there versus Mexico or another lower-cost country.
TRUMP: “After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead. The collusion delusion is over. The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction. …Total exoneration, complete vindication.” — rally.
THE FACTS: Mueller did not vindicate Trump in “total” in the Russia probe.
Mueller’s exact words in the report, as quoted by Attorney General William Barr, say: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The four-page summary by Barr released Sunday notes Mueller did not “draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,” but rather set out evidence for both sides, leaving the question unanswered of whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr wrote in the summary that ultimately he decided as attorney general that the evidence developed by Mueller was “not sufficient” to establish, for the purposes of prosecution, that Trump committed obstruction.
Barr’s summary also notes that Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. To establish a crime, Mueller must generally meet a standard of proving an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The summary did not clear the president of improper behavior regarding Russia but did not establish that “he was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” Mueller said in a passage from the report quoted by Barr.
The summary signed by Barr gave the bottom line only as he and his deputy saw it. Democrats are pushing for release of Mueller’s full report, which is more than 300 pages. Barr is expected to release a public version of the document in the coming weeks.
TRUMP, speaking about allegations in a so-called dossier about contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election: “It came out after the election and everybody had a big fat yawn. …All of a sudden I heard, ’Were you involved with Russia? I said, ‘Russia? What the hell does Russia have to do with my campaign?’” — rally.
THE FACTS: There actually was plenty that Russia had to do with Trump’s campaign.
According to U.S. intelligence agencies and lengthy indictments brought by Mueller’s team, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multipart influence campaign aimed at hurting Democrat Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, undermining American democracy and helping Trump get elected.
That effort included the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, Clinton’s campaign and other Democratic groups. Russian intelligence officers then coordinated the release of stolen emails and internal documents.
There were also plenty of people around Trump receptive to Russia’s help, though Mueller’s report ultimately did not find that those contacts amounted to a criminal conspiracy, according to Barr’s summary.
In the middle of the campaign, Donald Trump Jr. met at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer thinking he would be getting “dirt” on Clinton. Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, which included Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, despite it being described to him as part of a Russian government effort to help his father.
TRUMP, on diversity visas: “They’re giving us their worst people.” — rally.
THE FACTS: That’s false.
The diversity visa lottery program is run by the U.S. government, not foreign governments. Other countries do not get to sort through their populations looking for bad apples to put in for export to the U.S. Citizens of qualifying countries are the ones who decide to bid for visas under the program. Trump repeatedly blames foreign states.
The program requires applicants to have completed a high school education or have at least two years of experience in the last five years in a selection of fields. Out of that pool of people from certain countries who meet those conditions, the State Department randomly selects a much smaller pool of winners. Not all winners will have visas ultimately approved, because they still must compete for a smaller number of slots by getting their applications in quickly. Those who are ultimately offered visas still need to go through background checks, like other immigrants.
The lottery is extended to citizens of most countries, except about 20. The primary goal is to diversify the immigrant population by creating slots for underrepresented parts of the world.
TRUMP: “They’ve been trying to get VA Choice for over 40 years. Couldn’t do it. I got it. We signed it six months ago.” — rally.
THE FACTS: Not true. He’s not the first president in 40 years to get Congress to pass a private-sector health program for veterans; he expanded it. Congress first approved the program in 2014 during the Obama administration. The program currently allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) to a VA facility.
Now they are to have that option for a private doctor if their VA wait is only 20 days (28 for specialty care) or their drive is only 30 minutes.
TRUMP: “Instead of waiting online for 1 day, 1 week, 2 months, …they now go outside, they see a private doctor, we pay the bill, they get better quickly.” — rally
THE FACTS: Also not right. Veterans still must wait for weeks before they can get private care outside the VA system.
The program currently allows veterans to see doctors outside VA if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) to a VA facility. Under new rules to take effect in June, veterans are to have that option for a private doctor if their VA wait is only 20 days (28 for specialty care) or their drive is only 30 minutes.
But the expanded Choice eligibility may do little to provide immediate help. That’s because veterans often must wait even longer for an appointment in the private sector. Last year, then-Secretary David Shulkin said VA care is “often 40 percent better in terms of wait times” compared with the private sector. In 2018, 34 percent of all VA appointments were with outside physicians, down from 36 percent in 2017.
At a hearing Tuesday, the top health official at VA, Dr. Richard Stone, described the start of the expanded Choice program to “almost be a non-event,” in part because wait times in the private sector are typically longer than at VA.
The VA also must resolve long-term financing because of congressional budget caps after the White House opposed new money to pay for the program. As a result, lawmakers could be forced later this year to limit the program or slash core VA or other domestic programs.
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington and Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.
With the deceptive use of a video, President Donald Trump on Thursday heartily thanked his White House predecessor for supporting his policy at the Mexican border. Barack Obama has offered no such support; only criticism.
Trump also denied that he ever expected Mexico to make a direct payment for his border wall, despite a call in a campaign policy paper for a “one-time payment” from Mexico of $5 billion to $10 billion, with options for Mexico to contribute in alternative ways. Mexico is refusing to contribute at all.
A look at Trump’s statements Thursday as he traveled to Texas to make his case for what he calls a security and humanitarian crisis, a possible precursor to declaring a national emergency at the border:
TRUMP: “President Obama, thank you for your great support — I have been saying this all along!” — tweet, accompanied by video of Obama speaking as president in 2014.
TRUMP: “Obama used to call it a crisis at the border, too.” — remarks before departing the White House for Texas.
THE FACTS: Obama’s remarks in the short video clip do not support Trump’s proposal for a border wall or endorse the path Trump is considering now: declaring a national emergency that might enable him to circumvent Congress and unilaterally spend money on the wall. Instead, Obama was asking Congress to approve an emergency appropriation to deal with a surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and youth, mostly from Central American, trying to cross the border from Mexico.
“We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border,” Obama said at the time, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden. He was referring specifically to the surge of minors that year.
That crisis eventually eased as the U.S. stepped up border enforcement, surveillance and resources for the waves of unaccompanied children. Now, a sharp increase in the number of families at the border, coupled with the Trump administration’s hard-line stance, is overwhelming border resources, worsening a backlog in the asylum system and leaving migrants to live in abysmal conditions on the Mexican side.
Trump, however, has been unable to convince Congress that the border poses a national security risk. He has made a series of statements falsely claiming that terrorists are pouring in from Mexico, that a wall would choke off shipments of illicit drugs, which actually come mainly through legal ports of entry, and that people who get in the country illegally commit a disproportionate share of violent crime.
Late in his presidency, Obama was repeatedly critical of Trump’s immigration stance and the wall specifically. In May 2016, for example, he said: “Suggesting that we can build an endless wall along our borders, and blame our challenges on immigrants — that doesn’t just run counter to our history as the world’s melting pot; it contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to attract strivers from every corner of the globe.”
MEXICO AND THE WALL
TRUMP, on Mexico paying for the wall: “I never meant they’re going to write out a check.” — remarks before departure to Texas.
TRUMP: “Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly. And when I said Mexico will pay for the wall, in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not going to write a check.” — remarks before departure.
TRUMP: “They’re paying for the wall in a great trade deal.” — remarks in Texas.
THE FACTS: Actually, a Trump campaign policy paper envisaged an explicit payment from Mexico: “It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion,” the paper said.
The plan also outlined various ways for Trump to compel Mexico to pay for the wall, such as by Washington cutting off billions of dollars in remittances sent back to Mexico by immigrants living in the U.S., or by recouping the money through trade tariffs or higher visa fees. None of that has happened.
Instead, Trump is arguing that the updated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico will pay for the wall because of economic benefits he predicts will come from the deal. Nothing in the trade agreement would cover or refund the construction cost or require a payment from Mexico. Instead, he is assuming a wide variety of economic benefits will come from the agreement that can’t be quantified or counted on. For example, he has said the deal will dissuade some U.S. companies from moving operations to Mexico and he credits that possibility as a payment by Mexico.
The agreement preserves the existing liberalized environment of low or no tariffs among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with certain improvements for each country. The deal has yet to be ratified in any member country and there is no assurance it will win legislative approval.
Although his campaign left open the possibility that Mexico might somehow contribute to the cost indirectly, Trump roused his crowds with the straight-ahead promise: “I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
Again and again at his rallies, Trump asked his crowds dramatically who would pay for the wall.
“Mexico,” they responded.
“Who?” he’s asked again.
“Mexico,” they roared.
Now he is saying his words were not meant to be taken literally.
Associated Press writers Cal Woodward, Colleen Long and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
Trump campaign policy on Mexico paying for wall: https://web.archive.org/web/20160721080848/https:/www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/pay-for-the-wall
Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd
President Donald Trump is spreading a false claim from supporters that people who are in the United States illegally receive more in federal assistance than the average American gets in Social Security benefits.
Everything about the tweet he passed on to his 56 million listed Twitter followers Tuesday is wrong.
In a tweet of his own, Trump sketched an overly simplistic portrait of the auto industry in suggesting that General Motors plants slated for closure would be chugging along if foreign cars were heavily taxed in the U.S. market.
TRUMP’s retweet: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT (retweet) if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”
THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. Besides that, immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for most federal benefits, even when they’re paying taxes, and those with legal status make up a small portion of those who use public benefits.
The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees. It was largely a one-time resettlement payment under Canada’s refugee program, not monthly assistance in perpetuity, the fact-checking site Snopes found a year ago in debunking a Facebook post that misrepresented Canada’s policy. A document cited in the Facebook post, showing aid for food, transportation and other basics needs, applied to a family of five.
Apart from confusing Canada with the United States, the tweet distributed by the president misstated how much Americans get from Social Security on average — $1,419 a month for retired workers, not $1,200.
Overall, low-income immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens use Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income aid at a lower rate than comparable U.S.-born adults, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data. Noncitizen immigrants make up only 6.5 percent of all those participating in Medicaid, for example.
Despite that, the administration wants to redefine the rules for immigrants to further restrict who can receive benefits and for how long.
A retweet is not necessarily an endorsement of the opinion it contains, but Trump does not populate his Twitter feed with views that are contrary to his own.
TRUMP: “The reason that the small truck business in the U.S. is such a go to favorite is that, for many years, Tariffs of 25% have been put on small trucks coming into our country. It is called the ‘chicken tax.’ If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here … and G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland. Get smart Congress. Also, the countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the U.S. for decades. The President has great power on this issue – Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!”
THE FACTS: It’s a stretch to conclude that the plants General Motors plans to close would be spared if foreign-made cars were subject to hefty duties. Tariffs could indeed be an incentive to build cars in the U.S., but the overarching problem for GM is that people aren’t buying cars like they used to. More want SUVs or trucks now.
The 25 percent tariff on pickup trucks imported into the U.S. was put in place years ago to protect the Detroit Three’s major profit centers from imported pickups. It does not apply to trucks imported from Canada or Mexico at present. So GM, for instance, builds pickups in Mexico and exports them to the U.S. without such a tariff. Fiat Chrysler also builds heavy-duty Ram pickups in Mexico, although it plans to move that production to the U.S. next year.
Japanese automakers, mainly Toyota and Nissan, use U.S. plants to build nearly all of the pickups that they sell in the country. Honda switched production from Canada to Alabama. Toyota does sell a small number of Mexican-built Tacoma pickups in the U.S., but most are built in Texas.
So there are grounds to believe car duties could make a difference, but it’s not that straightforward.
Six years ago cars were 49 percent of new-vehicle sales in the U.S., while trucks and SUVs were 51 percent. Through October of this year, it’s 68 percent trucks and 32 percent cars. All the factories GM wants to close make cars that aren’t selling well. The Commerce Department has been studying whether it can use national security reasons to justify putting tariffs on imported cars but has yet to make a decision.
Most automakers, including those based in Detroit, import vehicles from abroad that would be affected by any tariffs. And U.S. car exports would probably be subject to new or higher tariffs overseas.
Associated Press writers Colleen Long in Washington and Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.
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His tsunami of misinformation picked up as he hustled around the country for rallies trying to drum up support for he and GOP candidates. Each rally, Fact Check says, being 35-to 40 suspect claims, which are repeated in interviews with media and talks with press before and after each trip.
Trump often lies about his “accomplishments,” claiming numbers that never check out and actions that never occurred but the one thing he could claim is the fact that he is, without a doubt, the president who has issued more lies in less time than any other person who ever served in the nation’s highest ranking elected official.
When you add up the lies from recent rallies (including press interviews), he issued 84 lies on Oct. 1 from a rally and adjoining appearances in Johnson City, TN, 83 in Houston and 78 in Mesa, AZ.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump emphatically denied he had imposed many tariffs. “I mean, other than some tariffs on steel — which is actually small, what do we have? . . . Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere,” he insisted. The newspaper responded by printing a list of $305 billion tariffs on many types of U.S. imports.
Nearly 25 times, he has claimed that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was No. 1 in his class at Yale University or at Yale Law School. The law school does not rank, and Kavanaugh graduated cum laude from the college — the third level, below summa cum laude and magna cum laude. At the time, Yale granted honors rather liberally, so nearly 50 percent of the class graduated with honors, with half of those cum laude.
This is one of those facts that can be easily checked with a Google search, yet the president persists with his falsehood.
Donald Trump is a con man, has been most of his life. He lies to make money and he lies to sexually harass women. He lies without remorse and his lies are cheered by a “base” of angry malcontents who, like him, ignore facts and wrap themselves in bigotry, racism and ignorance.
President Donald Trump is claiming exoneration in the Russia matter from a Justice Department report that actually offers him none. He’s also branding fired FBI chief James Comey a criminal, though the report in question makes no such accusation.
Fallout from the internal report by the department’s inspector general capped a week of diplomacy with North Korea, trade spats on several fronts and growing attention to an immigration policy that is splitting children from parents after their arrests at the border. Trump dropped misrepresentations into the mix at every turn.
TRUMP: “I think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. And if you read the report, you’ll see that. … I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.” — remarks to reporters Friday.
THE FACTS: The report neither exonerated nor implicated Trump. It did not make any findings about collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice. It did not discredit, or give credence to, special counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation into Russian interference in the election and ties between the Trump campaign and Russians. The report was about the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices.
TRUMP on Comey: “Certainly he, they just seem like criminal acts to me. What he did was criminal. … Should he be locked up? Let somebody make a determination.” — to Fox News on Friday.
THE FACTS: The report does not substantiate Trump’s lock-him-up rhetoric. Comey was roundly faulted by the inspector general for violating FBI practices and for insubordination in making public statements about the Clinton investigation at the height of the presidential campaign. The report also revealed communications among some FBI employees who plainly wanted Trump to lose. But it does not support Trump’s complaint that political bias influenced the conduct of the email investigation into his Democratic rival.
Nor does it allege any criminal behavior by Comey, who has been accused by Clinton supporters of taking actions that hurt her election chances.
Trump, on family separations at the border: “The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children.” And: “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.” — remarks to reporters Friday.
THE FACTS: It’s not their law. There is no law mandating the separation of children and parents at the border.
The separations are a consequence of a Trump administration policy to maximize criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally. That means more adults are jailed, pending trial, so their children are removed from them. Before the policy, many people who were accused of illegal entry and did not have a criminal record were merely referred for civil deportation proceedings, which generally did not break up families.
The policy was announced April 6 and went into effect in May. From April 19 to May 31, 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults, according to Homeland Security statistics obtained by The Associated Press. The figures are for people who tried to enter the U.S. between official border crossings.
Trump’s repeated, but nonspecific references to a Democratic law appear to involve one enacted in 2008. It passed unanimously in Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush. It was focused on freeing and otherwise helping children who come to the border without a parent or guardian. It does not call for family separation.
TRUMP: “The economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all-time high.” — tweet Wednesday.
THE FACTS: Thanks largely to population growth, the number of people with jobs is, in fact, at a record high of 155.5 million. But a more relevant measure — the proportion of Americans with jobs — isn’t even close to a record.
Last month, 60.4 percent of Americans 16 and older had jobs. That is up from the recession and its aftermath, when many Americans stopped looking for work. It bottomed out at 58.2 percent in July 2011. Both figures are far below the record high of 64.7 percent, which was briefly reached in 2000. At the beginning of the 2008-2009 recession, 62.7 percent of Americans had jobs.
Economists estimate that at least half of the decline reflects ongoing retirements by the huge baby boom generation. For Americans in their prime working years — age 25 through 54 — roughly 79 percent have jobs. That’s up substantially from the post-recession low of 74.8 percent in November 2010. But it’s below the record of 81.9 percent in April 2000.
TRUMP: “Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!” — tweet Wednesday.
THE FACTS: He oversimplifies the reasons for increased prices.
OPEC is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Members of the cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, and other big producers including Russia have contributed to reversing the plunge in crude oil prices that started in 2014. They have shown discipline in limiting production since the start of last year, helping push up the benchmark price of international crude.
Prices, however, were already rising on growing demand and expectations that a sharp pullback in new investment by oil companies would reduce the oil supply.
Some estimates put the post-crash reduction in investment by major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP at more than $1 trillion — almost akin to eliminating the fourth-largest oil producer in the world.
Meanwhile, output from Venezuela, a major oil exporter to the U.S., has plunged as the South American country goes through a political and economic crisis.
Then there is Iran, OPEC’s third-biggest producer. Iran boosted production after the U.S. lifted sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program in 2016. But analysts expect output to fall when Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal takes full effect later this year.
TRUMP: “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%.” — tweet June 10. Two days earlier: “Canada charges the U.S. a 270% tariff on Dairy Products! They didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!”
THE FACTS: He’s not telling the whole story. While Canadian dairy tariffs average nearly 249 percent, the troubles that U.S. dairy farmers face can’t all be blamed on Canada.
Canadian trade policies have had only a “tiny impact” on America’s struggling dairy farmers, says Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis.
Despite Canadian barriers, the United States last year ran a $474 million trade surplus in dairy with Canada, and exported $636 million in dairy products to Canada while importing $162 million, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.
Dairy is barely a blip — 0.1 percent — in U.S.-Canada trade, which amounted to $680 billion last year. As a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, “99 percent of the trade between Canada and the U.S. is tariff-free,” said Bruce Heyman, former U.S. ambassador to Canada. Overall, the U.S. ran a nearly $3 billion surplus in trade with Canada last year.
TRUMP: “Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea…” —tweet Wednesday.
THE FACTS: His claim that there is no nuclear threat is an exaggeration. The five-hour nuclear summit gave the two leaders an opportunity to express optimism. But it didn’t nail down how and when North Korea might denuclearize.
North Korea is still believed to have a significant nuclear arsenal that could potentially threaten the U.S. Independent experts say the North could have enough fissile material for anywhere between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs. Last year, it tested long-range missiles that could range the U.S. mainland although it remains unclear if it has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead that could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target.
TRUMP: Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President (Barack) Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!” — tweet Wednesday.
THE FACTS: Trump is wrong to say there was an assumption before he took office that the United States would go to war. Obama had used sanctions to no avail to try to halt North Korea’s nuclear program. But it wasn’t until after Trump took office that North Korea’s testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile and rhetoric between the two leaders heightened talk of war.
TRUMP: “Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirms his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We also agreed to vigorous negotiations to implement the agreement as soon as possible, and he wants to do that. This isn’t the past. This isn’t another administration that never got it started and, therefore, never got it done.” — remarks Tuesday at news conference with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
THE FACTS: He’s wrong in suggesting his administration is the first to start on denuclearization with North Korea. The Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations both did so.
Clinton reached an aid-for-disarmament deal in 1994 that halted North Korea’s plutonium production for eight years, freezing what was then a very small nuclear arsenal. Bush took a tougher stance toward North Korea, and the 1994 nuclear deal collapsed because of suspicions that the North was running a secret uranium enrichment program. Bush, too, ultimately pursued negotiations. That led to a temporary disabling of some nuclear facilities, but talks fell apart because of differences over verification.
TRUMP: “He actually mentioned the fact that they proceeded down a path in the past and ultimately as you know nothing got done. In one case, they took billions of dollars during the Clinton regime. … Took billions of dollars and nothing happened.” He said of Clinton: “He spent $3 billion and got nothing.” — remarks Tuesday.
THE FACTS: His numbers are incorrect. The Clinton administration, which he calls a “regime,” and the Bush administration combined provided some $1.3 billion in assistance from 1995 to 2008, says the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress. Slightly more than half was for food aid and 40 percent for energy assistance.
He’s also wrong in saying “nothing happened” in return. North Korea stopped producing plutonium for eight years under the 1994 agreement. Just how much was achieved, though, is in question, because of the suspicions that emerged later that North Korea had been secretly seeking to enrich uranium.
TRUMP, on Kim’s agreement to work to repatriate the remains of prisoners of the Korean War and those missing in action from the conflict: “He gave us the remains of our great heroes.” — remarks to reporters Friday.
THE FACTS: That’s false. No remains have been returned since the summit, as of Friday. The last time North Korea turned over remains was in 2007, when Bill Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and New Mexico governor, secured the return of six sets.
TRUMP: “He’s giving us back the remains of probably 7,500 soldiers.” — to Fox News on Friday.
TRUMP: “I asked for it today. And we got it. … So, for the thousands and thousands, I guess way over 6,000 that we know of in terms of the remains, they’ll be brought back.” — remarks Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Also wrong. About 5,300 U.S. troops are still unaccounted for from North Korea.
Trump is also glossing over the surely impossible odds of locating the remains of all Americans missing from the war, more than six decades later. Several thousand are still missing in South Korea despite its close alliance and history of cooperation with the U.S.
North Korea and the United States remain technically at war because the 1950-53 fighting ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. But between 1996 and 2005, joint U.S.-North Korea military search teams conducted 33 joint recovery operations and recovered 229 sets of American remains.
TRUMP: “I remember a nuclear event took place, 8.8 on the Richter scale, and they announced — I heard it on the radio, they announced that a massive, you know, an earthquake took place somewhere in Asia. And then they said it was in North Korea, and then they found out it was a nuclear test, I said, I never heard of a Richter scale in the high eights.” — remarks Tuesday.
THE FACTS: North Korea had no earthquake last year approaching that level of severity. This isn’t the first time he has misrepresented the episode.
North Korea tested what it called a hydrogen bomb in September, causing an underground blast so big it registered as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Other nuclear tests last year were associated with smaller seismic events.
An 8.8 quake would be 316 times bigger — and release 5,623 times more energy — than a 6.3.
In the past 15 years there have been three earthquakes that were an 8.8 or higher: the 9.1 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 that killed nearly 16,000 people, a 9.1 earthquake and tsunami off northern Sumatra in 2004 that killed about 250,000 people and an 8.8 earthquake off Chile in 2010 that killed 524.
Associated Press writers Christopher Rugaber, Colleen Long, Matthew Pennington, Seth Borenstein and Paul Wiseman in Washington, David Koenig in Dallas and Elliot Spagat in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd
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President Donald Trump fabricated history when it came to assessing the 2016 election, his achievements on the opioid epidemic and a congressman’s voting record on taxes. Critics of his immigration policy got it wrong when they accused the Trump administration of taking 1,500 immigrant children from their parents and losing them.
The week in review:
TRUMP: “African-Americans vote for Democrats for the most part. You know, vast majority. They’ve been doing it for over 100 years.” — Nashville rally Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Not 100 years or anything close. Most African-Americans for much of U.S. history were disenfranchised, then prevented from voting until the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed racial discrimination in voting. Before then, those who could vote mostly backed Republicans until the 1932 election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose New Deal programs of economic relief helped spur a longer-term shift of black support from Republican to Democrat.
TRUMP: “Some of these states, I won by 44 points.” — Nashville rally.
THE FACTS: Not some. One. He won Wyoming with 70 percent of the vote in 2016, exceeding Hillary Clinton’s 22 percent by nearly 48 points, according to Associated Press election data. His next biggest win came in West Virginia, where he won by 42 points.
Nationwide, Trump lost the popular vote. He garnered 46 percent to Clinton’s 48 percent, but ultimately won the election based on an Electoral College system in which the votes of smaller rural states that generally backed Trump are weighted more heavily than big, Democratic-leaning states such as New York and California.
Under the U.S. system of electing presidents, Electoral College votes are set equal to the number of U.S. representatives in each state plus its two senators.
TRUMP: “A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast. No Collusion, except by the Democrats!” — tweet Friday.
THE FACTS: The AP did not report the cost is going up fast. It cited a Justice Department finding that the investigation over 10 months has cost $16.7 million, which Trump rounded up to $17 million. Of the costs assigned to the investigation, $9 million would have been spent even absent the investigation, the department said.
TRUMP: “Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!” — tweet Thursday.
THE FACTS: Trump himself fed that “narrative.” The president has said at least twice that Comey’s firing in May 2017 was related to the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russia in an effort to sway the 2016 election. And his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told Fox News in May that Trump fired Comey because the FBI director wouldn’t publicly state that Trump “wasn’t a target” of the Russia investigation. Trump’s public rationale for firing Comey has shifted on multiple occasions.
TRUMP, referring to Robert Iger, CEO of ABC’s parent Walt Disney Co.: “Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response. How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!” — tweet Thursday.
THE FACTS: “No apology” is wrong. Trump should know that because he expressed satisfaction in December with ABC’s statement that said, “We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error” by Ross, an investigative reporter.
Ross had reported that Trump, as a candidate, directed aide Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the campaign, a potentially explosive development. Ross changed his report hours later, saying his source stated that Trump’s outreach actually came after Trump won the election, when presidents-elect might be expected to get to know foreign officials. ABC issued the apology, suspended Ross for four weeks without pay and said he would no longer report on Trump.
At the time, that pleased Trump, who tweeted: “Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!”
Trump’s revived wrath at ABC and Iger comes after the network canceled Roseanne Barr’s show because of her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, who was an aide to President Barack Obama. Iger tweeted that the cancellation was “the right thing” to do.
TRUMP: “There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again. Dan has my full endorsement!” — tweet Wednesday.
HE FACTS: He’s incorrect about the tax cuts he signed into law in December. Donovan voted against them, one of the few Republicans to do so. He told AP on Thursday that Trump knew that. “The president was well aware,” he said. “We’ve had discussions about my tax vote, the president and I.” Donovan opposed the tax bill because he said it would mean a tax increase for his constituents. “With the state and local tax deduction nearly eliminated, this tax bill doesn’t equal relief for far too many New Yorkers,” he said at the time.
TRUMP, sharing this tweet from broadcaster Rush Limbaugh: “If the FBI was so concerned, and if they weren’t targeting Trump, they should have told Trump. If they were really concerned about the Russians infiltrating a campaign (hoax), then why not try to stop it? Why not tell Trump? Because they were pushing this scam.” — Thursday.
THE FACTS: The FBI did tell the Trump campaign about threats posed by foreign intelligence services. What level of detail it disclosed has not been established. It is now well known that Trump aides had multiple contacts with Russian interests during the campaign and the FBI was investigating those contacts for any evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia. It is therefore unlikely that the FBI would share specifics that might compromise its criminal investigation.
In August 2016, an FBI counterintelligence agent gave candidate Trump what is known within the bureau as a defensive briefing about the threats from foreign intelligence services. Such briefings are fairly standard and are intended to help campaigns guard against infiltration or hacking by foreign governments, such as Russia and China. Similar briefings were given to Clinton and the two vice presidential picks prior to the election, according to an October 2017 letter from Greg Brower, then the FBI’s head of congressional affairs.
TRUMP: “We got $6 billion for opioid and getting rid of that scourge that’s taking over our country. And the numbers are way down. We’re getting the word out — bad. Bad stuff. You go to the hospital, you have a broken arm, you come out, you’re a drug addict with this crap. It’s way down. We’re doing a good job with it. But we got $6 billion to help us with opioid.” — Nashville rally.
THE FACTS: That’s misleading. One leading indicator of the opioid epidemic is down — painkiller prescriptions. Other indicators are up, such as the number of overdoses and deaths. And none of that has to do with the $6 billion enacted by Congress. The numbers are from 2017; the money is for this year and next.
Prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell almost 9 percent last year, the largest drop in 25 years. The total dosage of opioid prescriptions filled in 2017 declined by 12 percent because more prescriptions were for a shorter duration, fewer new patients started on them and high-dose prescriptions dropped. The numbers are from health data firm IQVIA’s Institute for Human Data Science.
But overdose deaths involving opioids rose to about 46,000 for the 12-month period ended October 2017, up about 15 percent from October 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are preliminary because of continuing cause-of-death investigations later in the reporting period. They could go higher.
As well, the CDC says emergency department visits for overdoses of opioids rose 30 percent in the U.S. from July 2016 to September 2017. Overdoses shot up 70 percent in the Midwest in that time while increasing by 54 percent in large cities in 16 states.
TRUMP: “Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages. They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires.” — tweet Tuesday.
THE FACTS: He is correct about widespread misrepresentation of the photos on Twitter.
The photos, taken by AP, were from 2014, during the Obama administration, but were presented by liberal activists as if they showed the effects of Trump’s immigration policy now. The photos were taken at a center run by the Customs and Border Protection Agency in Nogales, Arizona. One photo shows two unidentified female detainees sleeping in a holding cell. It’s not clear that many prominent Democrats spread the photos, from a 2016 Arizona Republic story, though some did.
Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor now running for governor, tweeted that he was: “Speechless. This is not who we are as a nation.” Jon Favreau, ex-speechwriter for Obama, tweeted: “This is happening right now.” They and others deleted their tweets when they realized the mistake.
JIM CARREY, actor: “1500 innocent children ripped from their mothers’ arms at our border. Lost in Trump’s ‘system’. — tweet May 27.
THE FACTS: This didn’t happen. Many Trump critics, Carrey among them, misrepresented the fate of nearly 1,500 minors who came to the border — without their parents — and were transferred by U.S. authorities to sponsors in the country.
The Health and Human Services Department followed up with such children by calling their households to check on them late last year, getting information on the whereabouts of most, officials said. But they could not account for 1,475 of them, in part because many sponsors didn’t respond to the calls.
On that basis, Trump critics are calling the children “lost.” But in that round of calls, the Trump administration actually had a slightly better rate of confirming such children’s circumstances than the Obama administration did in 2016, according to an inspector general’s report — 86 percent versus 85 percent.
The episode with the unaccompanied children and the 2014 photos distracted from what is actually happening. Under a Trump policy to enforce criminal charges against people crossing the border illegally with few or no previous offenses, separation of parents from children is bound to become more common, and that trend may have started.
A Customs and Border Protection official told lawmakers that 658 children had been separated from their parents at the border from May 6 to May 19, after border agents began referring every illegal entry to criminal prosecutors. This is in addition to hundreds more who were estimated to have been removed from their parents at the border since October.
Associated Press writers Anne Flaherty and Chad Day in Washington, Mike Stobbe in New York, Carla K. Johnson in Seattle and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.
Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd
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Illegal border crossings, as President Donald Trump measures them, have gone up since he took office, even as he speaks to audiences about a drop of more than 40 percent.
That disconnect was among several that stood out over the past week as he opened up on the Russia investigation via Twitter, forsaking accuracy in the process, and made the false claim that he’s delivering the first big military pay increase in a decade.
A look at some of his statements:
TRUMP: “We’ve done a lot of work on the wall. We’re doing a lot of work on security, generally speaking, security and border — border security. The border’s down over 40 percent, and don’t forget, we have a great economy, probably the best economy the country’s ever had. So people come across, but we’re going to get the rest.” — interview broadcast Thursday with “Fox & Friends.”
TRUMP: “We’re down on immigration crossing the border — more than 40 percent.” — forum Wednesday in Bethpage, New York.
THE FACTS: Illegal crossings actually are up 20 percent since he became president, according to the yardstick he uses to measure them — the number of Border Patrol arrests.
There is no precise measure of illegal crossings because some people don’t get caught. The Trump administration uses arrests as the best gauge of whether crossings are going up or down. The Obama administration did likewise.
Border Patrol arrests did fall last year to the lowest level since 1971. But since April of last year, arrests have climbed steadily. One factor in that increase may be that people are now taking their chances to cross into the U.S. illegally after an initial wait-and-see attitude about Trump’s tough-talking approach to people sneaking into the country.
Last month, there were more than 50,000 overall border arrests, which are made up of people who are stopped at land crossings and other official points of entry, according to federal data. That was more than triple the number from April 2017, which was the lowest tally on record since the Homeland Security Department was created in 2003.
Overall, border arrests have increased 20 percent since January 2017, from 42,463 in January 2017 to 50,924 in April.
TRUMP, to U.S. Naval Academy graduates: “Going to have new equipment and well-deserved pay raises. We just got you a big pay raise. First time in 10 years. We got you a big pay increase. First time in over 10 years. I fought for you. That was the hardest one to get, but you never had a chance of losing.” — speech Friday.
THE FACTS: That’s not right. U.S. military members have gotten a pay raise every year for the past 10 years and several have been larger than this year’s 2.6 percent increase. Pay increases in 2008, 2009 and 2010, for example, were all 3.4 percent or more.
TRUMP: “We have now the lowest number of ships that we’ve had since World War I, and very soon you’re going to get to 355 beautiful ships. 355. That’s almost a couple of hundred more ships.” — speech to academy graduates Friday.
THE FACTS: No it isn’t. The Navy now has 283 ships.
TRUMP on former CIA Director John Brennan: “Brennan started this entire debacle about President Trump. We now know that Brennan had detailed knowledge of the (phony) Dossier…he knows about the Dossier, he denies knowledge of the Dossier, he briefs the Gang of 8 on the Hill about the Dossier, which…….they then used to start an investigation about Trump…” — tweets Monday.
THE FACTS: Trump quotes conservative commentator Dan Bongino to falsely claim the Russia probe is based on a “phony dossier.” In fact, the FBI’s investigation began months before it received a dossier of anti-Trump research financed by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The FBI probe’s origins were based on other evidence — not the existence of the dossier.
The Republican-controlled House intelligence committee found the Russia probe was initiated after the FBI received information related to Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, not the dossier. The committee’s final report released in March was praised by Trump, who pointed to it as evidence that the investigation was nothing but a “witch hunt.”
TRUMP, on President Barack Obama’s national intelligence director, James Clapper: “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE – a terrible thing!” — tweet Thursday
THE FACTS: That’s a distortion of Clapper’s statements on ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday when he was asked about recent reports that an FBI informant spoke with several members of the Trump campaign.
“They were spying on — a term I don’t particularly like but — what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said. “Trying to understand, were the Russians infiltrating? Trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence? Which is what they do.”
He did not say a spy was implanted “in” the campaign and he denied the FBI was spying “on” the campaign. The effort was focused on Russians, he said, was meant to “protect the campaign” and the U.S. political system.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is looking into Russian interference in the election, any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, possible obstruction of justice and whatever associated criminal activity might be uncovered. The probe has produced several criminal convictions of Trump campaign officials. Those charges do not implicate the president directly.
In his Alabama-ish rally, President Donald Trump falsely stated that black homeownership has hit a record high under his stewardship and made the dubious claim that he set Canada’s prime minister straight on the state of trade between the two countries.
Trump spoke Friday night in Pensacola, Florida, across the line from Alabama. The positioning was meant to help Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore win Tuesday’s election without actually having Trump set foot in a race defined by accusations of sexual misconduct against the Republican. Trump looked back on his months in office and overstated his achievements during more than an hour of boasting.
A look at some of his statements:
TRUMP, surveying the crowd: “Look at these guys, ‘blacks for Trump.’ I love you. I love you. By the way, now that you bring it up, black homeownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country. Congratulations.”
THE FACTS: Not true or even close.
The U.S. Census finds that the black homeownership rate peaked during 2004, when 49.7 percent of black households owned homes (the rate for all races that year reached 69.2 percent, also a modern record). The black homeownership rate stayed in similar territory until the recession, when it dropped to the mid-40s.
This year: 42.7 percent in the first quarter, 42.3 percent in the second and 42 percent in the third. That’s an uptick from last year but far from a record. Quarterly rates this year for the total U.S. population: 63.6 percent, 63.7 percent and 63.9 percent.
TRUMP: “Working with Republicans in Congress we’ve already signed 88 pieces of legislation. We get no credit. They always say, well, President Trump really needs this tax bill because he hasn’t passed any legislation. Well, so far in 10 months we’ve passed more during this period of time than any other president in the history of our country and the second – let’s call runner up – is Harry Truman, was second.”
THE FACTS: Trump’s first-year legislative record pales next to that of a variety of presidents (Franklin Roosevelt, with his New Deal, signed 14 historic laws in his first 100 days). The tax package Trump may soon sign would mark his first major legislative achievement after months of false starts and frustrations on health care and more. His promised infrastructure initiative got sidelined but appears in the offing.
Trump signed a law strengthening accountability at the Veterans Affairs Department, used executive orders to roll back Obama-era regulations and policies and, perhaps most significantly, won confirmation of a conservative Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch. But legislatively, his record is thin, despite having Republican majorities in Congress.
All presidents sign plenty of bills that have little consequence; most don’t make so much of it. Among Trump’s routine signings: naming a Veterans Affairs health clinic in Butler County, Pennsylvania, after Bataan Death March survivor Abie Abraham, appointing a regent at the Smithsonian Institution, naming a federal building and courthouse in Nashville, Tennessee, after late Sen. Fred Thompson.
TRUMP on a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about trade: “He said, ‘I’m telling you that Canada has a deficit with the United States.’ I told my people, in front of a lot of people, I said, go out and check – and he was right. Except he forgot two categories – lumber, timber and energy. Other than that, he was right. When you add them altogether we actually have a $17 billion deficit with Canada, right? So, he forgot a couple of categories that he didn’t want to mention.”
THE FACTS: Trump’s accounting is puzzling and at odds with U.S. trade statistics.
Trudeau is right that the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada, according to those numbers.
“Exports were $320.1 billion; imports were $307.6 billion,” says the U.S. trade representative’s office. “The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016.”
The U.S. ran a $12.1 billion deficit with Canada in trade on goods. That was offset by a $24.6 billion surplus in trade of services.
Trump may have been ignoring services — half of the equation on trade — but if so his numbers still don’t match his government’s.
TRUMP on his critics in Washington: “They will lie and leak and smear because they don’t want to accept the results of an election where we won by a landslide.”
THE FACTS: His win was far from a landslide.
His winning margin in the Electoral College is far closer to the narrowest win in history than to the widest.
The final Electoral College margin was Trump 306, Hillary Clinton 232, for a winning percentage of just under 57 percent. That ranks the 2016 election as the 13th closest of the 58 presidential elections in U.S. history, according to a tally by Claremont McKenna College political scientist John Pitney. Barack Obama won both of his presidential elections with bigger Electoral College margins: 61 percent in 2008 and 62 percent in 2012. Trump’s margin was narrower than all but two of the last 10 presidential elections — those of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.
As well, he lost the popular vote to Clinton.
TRUMP: “Since the election, we have created more than $5 trillion in new economic wealth just in the stock market alone. We’re not including real estate and other values, $5 trillion.”
THE FACTS: According to the Federal Reserve, household wealth has risen by about $5 trillion since the end of last year, but that figure does include home values. Either way, stock ownership is highly concentrated in the United States, so a rising market is mostly benefiting a limited population. Ten percent of Americans owned 84 percent of the value of U.S. stocks in 2016, according to Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University. Median household wealth is still 34 percent below its 2007, prerecession level, Wolff calculates.
TRUMP: “You know, we have factories pouring back into our country. Did you ever think you would hear that? I used to tell you, that’s going to happen.”
THE FACTS: Factories are not pouring into the country, according to available data. Spending on the construction of factories has dropped 14 percent over the past 12 months. There has been a steady decline in spending on factory construction since the middle of 2015 — a trend Trump has yet to reverse despite his claims otherwise.
The existing manufacturing sector, though, has been doing a steady dose of hiring. This appears to reflect the synchronized global growth that has aided a rebound in manufacturing after setbacks in 2016 from a stronger dollar and low energy prices. In November, manufacturing added 31,000 jobs for a gain of 189,000 from a year earlier.
TRUMP: “By the way, wages – starting to go up. First time in 20 years – starting to go up. That’s all going to happen.”
THE FACTS: It’s not true that wages haven’t gone up for 20 years.
The latest jobs report shows average hourly earnings up 2.5 percent over the past 12 months, roughly the same pace of growth as the year before, when Barack Obama was president. Wages were rising faster in December 2016, up by 2.9 percent. Average hourly wage figures are volatile but they don’t show an upward trend under Trump.
The last time unemployment was this low — in 2000 — that figure was rising at 4 percent.
Inflation-adjusted median household incomes, meantime, have barely budged for several decades.
Associated Press writer Cal Woodward contributed to this report.
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Sen. John McCain doesn’t believe President Donald Trump’s claim that, while running for President in 2016, he was wiretapped by the federal government, under orders from then-President Barack Obama.
“I’ll let the American people be the judge, but this is serious stuff,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” over the weekend.
“I think the president has one of two choices: either retract or to provide the information” that led to Trump’s Twitter Tantrum saying Obama wiretapped him while calling such action, which was not collaborated by anyone, “McCarthyism.”
McCain, in a reasonable polite political way, told Trum to “put up or shut up.”
Trump, of course, won’t provide any additional information. That’s not his style. He lies. He never admits any of his lies. Then he waits and hopes this lie, like others, will be forgotten.
It’s also not possible because the intelligence community and the FBI, which would do such wiretapping, says it never happened and not one person has come forward to provide a single shred of evidence.
Republican sources that I developed over 23 years of working in Washington as a newsman and, for a while, a political operative for the GOP, tell me that the mood within the party now is “chaos, confusion and concern” about the increasingly maniacal actions of the 45th President of the United States.
An increasing number of Republicans worry that Trump will drag them into a deeper hole than the antics of President Richard Nixon, who retired in disgrace after her faced certain impeachment after the Watergate debacle.
Those who thought Trump would “grow into the job” now feel his descent into madness is irreversible. As one who has covered politics for most of my 50+ years of working as a newsman, I have to agree.
Donald Trump is a stain that will take a long time to remove from America’s place in history after he leaves office — either voluntarily, by political action or by the voters in less than four years.
California Congressman Steve Schiff, told ABC’s “This Week” that Congress needs a truthful answer, if that is possible, from Trump.
“The only questions is why the president would make up such a thing,” Schiff told George Stephanopoulos on the show.
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says he has not seen any evidence to back up the claim.
“The president is a neophyte to politics,” Nunes told reporters this week. “He been doing this a little over a year.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, have asked FBI Director James Comey and Actng Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente to provide the paper trail that is crated whenever the Justice Department secures any warrants for wiretaps.
Aides for both say they want to “get to the bottom” of the matter but the Senators tell colleagues privately that they feel that the only trail they will find will lead to Trump’s paranoid meanderings.
The bottom is simple. Trump is the bottom. Once again, he lied.