We’re not finished fact checking the transcripts, but here are the 27 false claims we’ve identified already:
Trump told Fox News’ Peter Doocy
of impeachment: “It’s a ridiculous, horrible partisan, situation. We won 196 to nothing in the House.” At the event in Michigan, he said, “We won 196 to nothing on a little vote a couple of weeks ago.”
Trump was referring to House impeachment votes he lost
— but where 196 or more Republicans voted in his favor, with none against. He lost an October vote to set the rules of the impeachment inquiry 232-196
, then the December votes on the two articles of impeachment, 230-197 and 229-198
Man of the Year in Michigan
Trump said in Michigan
: “In fact, I was honored, believe it or not. About 10 years ago, I came to Michigan. I was honored by a wonderful group. I was the ‘Man of the Year.'”
There is no evidence Trump ever got a Man of the Year award in Michigan. You can read a full fact check here
Trump claimed in Michigan and at the Iowa rally to have eliminated the estate tax, saying at the rally of his 2017 tax law: “Because of that, there is no death tax or inheritance tax.”
The law doubled
the amount of estate value that is exempt from the estate tax, but the law did not eliminate the tax entirely. And there is no basis for his suggestion at both events that small farmers and small businesspeople would especially benefit from his changes; few paid the tax even before. You can read a full fact check here
Trump claimed in Michigan that real median household income had increased by “$10,000” during his presidency.
Trump was taking a private firm’s estimate of about $5,000 in pre-tax household income gains and doubling it for reasons that do not make sense. You can read a full fact check here
at the Iowa rally: “I took care of the vets. We got Choice.” He added that people had unsuccessfully tried to get this veterans health care program approved “for 52 years,” claiming: “What I am good at is getting things approved, and I got it approved.”
Trump did not get the Veterans Choice program passed, nor had there been an unsuccessful 52-year effort to get it passed. The program was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014
. In 2018, Trump signed the VA MISSION Act, which expanded and changed the Choice program.
Burden-sharing with South Korea
Trump said at the Iowa rally that, under a deal with South Korea about sharing the cost of the US troops in the country, “They gave us $500 million a year more.”
As the New York Times reported
in February when debunking an earlier version of Trump’s “$500 million” claim: “Under the one-year deal, this year South Korea will pay 1.04 trillion won, or $925 million, an increase of $70 million from last year’s $855 million.”
Trump said at the Iowa rally: “USMCA: the biggest trade deal ever signed in the history of the world. OK, it is.”
Except that it’s not. The Trans-Pacific Partnership included all three of the countries in the USMCA — the US, Mexico and Canada — plus nine others. Also, it’s worth noting that the USMCA mostly makes incremental tweaks
to the previous North American Free Trade Agreement. You can read a full fact check here
Trump said at the Iowa rally: “We’ve ended the war on American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere on Earth, by far.”
The US has not just “now” become the world’s top energy producer: it took the top spot in 2012, according to the US government’s Energy Information Administration — under the very Obama administration Trump is accusing of perpetrating a “war” on the industry.
You can read a full fact check here
Trump said of Mexico at the Iowa rally: “They put up 27,000 soldiers on our southern border.”
Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Trump exaggerated how many are being stationed near the US border in particular. CNN reported on November 2 that the Mexican government had reported the following: “Nearly 15,000 troops are deployed to Mexico’s northern border, where they’ve set up 20 checkpoints. … At the southern border, 12,000 troops are deployed and have set up 21 checkpoints.” You can read a full fact check here
Trump said at the Iowa rally: “We got rid of the individual mandate, the most unpopular thing, which essentially killed Obamacare.”
The individual mandate, which required Americans to obtain health insurance, was indeed a key part of Obamacare — but Trump hasn’t killed Obamacare, essentially or otherwise. He has not eliminated Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state marketplaces that allow people to shop for coverage, or the consumer subsidies that help many of them make the purchases.
Trump said at the Iowa rally: “We are protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and we always will the Republican Party.”
The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit
that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void. Federal judges
Trump said at the Iowa rally: “To uphold the rule of law, we have confirmed 191 federal judges, a record…And two great Supreme Court justices, by the way.”
Trump had not set a record for total judges appointed as of this point in a first presidential term; Jimmy Carter had appointed 197 judges by late January of his fourth year in office, according to data from Russell Wheeler
, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments. Wheeler said Trump has appointed 187 judges by traditional counting methods — two Supreme Court justices, 50 appeals court judges and 135 district court judges — but that it’s possible to get to a total of 191 judges by adding Trump’s three appointments to the Court of Federal Claims and his designation of a sitting judge on that court as chief judge.
Drug overdose deaths
Trump said at the Iowa rally: “Drug overdose deaths have declined for the first time in nearly 31 years.”
This was one of Trump’s trademark little exaggerations
of accomplishments that need no exaggeration. The decline in overdose deaths in 2018 was the first since 1990
, 28 years prior.
The 2016 election
The Electoral College margin over Clinton
Trump said at the Iowa rally of the Electoral College margin in the 2016 election: “We got 306 to 223.”
Hillary Clinton earned 232, not 223, electoral votes to Trump’s 306. This was not a one-time slip; Trump habitually says “223.”
The relative size of that Electoral College margin
in Michigan: “But we had a tremendous, landslide Electoral College victory, like people haven’t seen in a long time.”
Aside from Trump’s dubious characterization of the result as an Electoral College “landslide” — the winning candidate has earned a larger share of electoral votes
in 45 of 58 presidential elections, the New York Times has noted — it’s not true that people haven’t seen such a margin of victory “in a long time.” Obama had a bigger margin
in both of the two previous elections.
A Clinton crowd
Trump said in Michigan that Hillary Clinton had “a small gathering of about 400 people” at her final Michigan rally of the 2016 election.
Clinton had a capacity crowd of more than 4,000 people for this rally at Grand Valley State University, according to local media reports at the time
. You can read a full fact check here
Trade with South Korea
Trump said at the Iowa rally that Clinton had promised that a trade agreement with South Korea was “going to produce 250,000 jobs.”
There is no record of Clinton projecting an increase of 250,000 jobs because of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Obama said the deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.”
Obama said in 2009 that increasing the US share of trade with Asia from 9% to 10% “could mean 250,000, 300,000 jobs,” but he was not specifically attributing that estimate to the potential effects of a trade deal with South Korea.
A Biden crowd
Trump said at the Iowa rally that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden drew a speech crowd so small that the campaign turned it into a roundtable discussion, roping in unwitting attendees to answer questions like, “What do you think of socialism?”
There is simply no evidence
this happened. Biden’s campaign says it didn’t, and Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request to identify the event he was talking about.
Trump said at the Iowa rally that Democrats support “open borders.”
Even prominent Democrats who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump regularly suggests.
Asked by Doocy about allegations he wants to take away Social Security — he vaguely told CNBC
last week that entitlement programs will be on his plate “at some point” — Trump said “I’m the one that saved it. The Democrats wanted to do it last time.”
Trump wasn’t clear what he meant by “do it,” but prominent Democrats did not want to cut Social Security, much less take it away, when Trump was running in 2016. Clinton proposed to increase
Social Security benefits.
Green New Deal
Trump said at the Iowa rally that Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono had endorsed the Green New Deal environmental proposal, then “they started screaming at her in Hawaii” because the proposal would mean “no more airplanes,” which she had not known. Trump suggested, mockingly, that she responded that “we’re going to build a railroad” with “the world’s largest track.”
That is not what happened; Trump was twisting an exchange Hirono had with a reporter. You can read a full fact check here
China and tariffs
Trump said at the Iowa rally that the most China ever spent on US agricultural products in a year is “$16 billion,” claiming that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told him this.
China spent $25.9 billion on American agricultural products in 2012, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture. In 2017, the year before the trade war began, China spent $19.5 billion. In 2016, it was $21.4 billion. Chinese purchases plummeted to $9.1 billion in 2018.
Tariffs on China
Trump said at the Iowa rally of his tariffs on China: “We never got 10 cents from China. China took from us. We didn’t take from China right.”
have shown that Americans, not China, are paying most of the cost of Trump’s tariffs. In addition, it’s not true the US has never received “10 cents” from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries; FactCheck.org reported
that the US generated an “average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb.”
Trump criticized CNN at the Iowa rally, then pointed at the back of the room and said, “Oops, their camera just went off. Look, their camera. It just went off, CNN.”
CNN’s photojournalists do not turn off cameras when Trump insults CNN, and Trump would not be able to notice even if they did: they do not use any light that goes on and off when they start and stop recording.
Trump has repeatedly made this false claim at his rallies. You can read a full fact check here
Democrats and the Rolls-Royce
At the Iowa rally, Trump said the media humorlessly accused him of lying when he had told a joke that California Gov. Gavin Newsom wanted to give undocumented immigrants a free Rolls-Royce.
That is not what happened. While Trump did make a joke at a 2018 campaign rally about Democrats proposing to give undocumented immigrants a free Rolls-Royce, he turned the joke into an assertion of fact at another rally the next day. And the comments in question were not about Newsom at all. You can read a full fact check here