(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump held a press conference at the White House Thursday to announce his new pick for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, but once he began taking questions from
reporters, the focus shifted away from Acosta to a slew of other topics: Allegations of his campaign’s contact with Russians, General Flynn’s resignation, anti-Semitism in the U.S., and a popular
go-to topic for the president, his disdain for the mainstream media.
Below are more than a dozen false, questionable or misleading claims Trump made over the course of the 75-minute press conference — as well as a few that are backed up by the facts.
TRUMP: “I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.”
FACT: Trump guessed wrong: His electoral college margin was smaller than President Obama’s in 2012. When a reporter questioned Trump’s claim, he later said, “I don’t know. I was just given that
information — it was a big margin.”
TRUMP: “I think we’re setting a record, or close to a record, in the time of approval of a cabinet.“
FACT: Not true. Trump has more unconfirmed Cabinet nominees at the four-week mark than any another other President in history. But, here’s a point of reference: President Obama’s cabinet was not
complete until April 28, 2009, when his pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was confirmed.
TRUMP: “I can’t get my cabinet approved, and they’re outstanding people. Like Senator Dan Coats, who is there, one of the most respected men in the senate. He can’t get approved … I’ve also
worked to install a cabinet over the delays and obstruction of Senate Democrats.”
FACT: Not quite. A Senate intelligence aide says the committee does not have all of his paperwork yet, but that the committee is “eager to get his hearing scheduled.” Committee Chair Sen. Richard
Burr told The Hill that “some of that’s out of our control. It’s FBI security, background checks,” telling the paper Coats himself filed everything he needs to. In fact, the committee received some
of the necessary disclosures just hours after the press conference.
Pres. Trump: “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my cabinet approved.” pic.twitter.com/Rtj3jSN09o
— ABC News (@ABC) February 16, 2017
TRUMP: “Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars.”
FACT: Well, most chocolate bars retail for about one dollar. And according to crowdsourced street drug pricing sites like streetRx, it is possible — albeit rare — to find a single pill of some prescription drugs for that price. But illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and meth, which Trump was referring to, cost significantly more than one dollar.
TRUMP: “Jobs are pouring out of the country.”
FACT: Here are the stats: The number of jobs in the U.S. has increased every month since October 2010, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, the U.S. has lost nearly 5
million manufacturing jobs over the last two decades, according to BLS data.
TRUMP: “Hillary Clinton gave [Russia] 20 percent of our uranium.”
FACT: Trump was referring to Russia’s nuclear power agency buying a Toronto-based company that operates on land worth roughly 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity — not actual uranium,
according to Politifact. Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time, couldn’t approve or block the deal. Politifact rated it “Mostly False.”
TRUMP: “We had to go quicker than we thought because of the bad decision we received from a circuit that has been overturned at a record number. I’ve heard 80 percent. I find that hard to believe. That’s just a number I heard, that they’re overturned 80 percent of the time.”
FACT: According to a 2010 study published in Landslide, the 9th Circuit had an 80 percent reversal rate from 1999 to 2008. It was the top spot for a regional circuit court. A recent analysis of
cases from 2010 to 2015 by SCOTUSBlog concluded that the 9th Circuit also has an 80 percent reversal rate, but that was third place — behind the 6th Circuit with 87 percent and 11th Circuit with
TRUMP: “People came out and voted like they’ve never seen before.”
FACT: Again, this isn’t correct. Around 60 percent of eligible Americans turned out to vote in 2016, according to estimates from the University of Florida’s U.S. Elections Project. According to
researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the highest voter turnout in American history was the election of 1876 with a voter turnout rate of nearly 82 percent.
TRUMP: “There has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world.”
FACT: Perhaps a bit of an overstatement. Data from the Conference Board shows the consumer confidence index climbing from 107.1 in the end of October to 113.3 by the end of December. It fell
slightly to 111.8 in January.
Pres. Trump: Stock market has hit record numbers, there’s been a surge of optimism in the business world, factories coming back to the U.S. pic.twitter.com/gSCBgXWSn3
— ABC News (@ABC) February 16, 2017
TRUMP: “People [addressing reporters], you have a lower approval rate than congress, I think that’s right … I heard lower than Congress.”
FACT: Not true. A Gallup poll last September found that only 32 percent of Americans say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media — a new low. But according to Gallup poll
conducted in January, Congress has a 19 percent approval rating.
TRUMP: “I got 306 electoral college votes.”
FACT: Not the case. Trump received 304 votes in the Electoral College. Two electors who were projected to go to him went rogue and voted for other candidates.
TRUMP: “The press — the public doesn’t believe you people anymore.”
FACT: Again, the aforementioned Gallup found that only 32 percent of Americans say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media — a new low. That includes 51 percent of Democrats,
30 percent of independents and only 14 percent of Republicans.
TRUMP: “We have made incredible progress. I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected, who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done … Again, I say it, there has never been a
presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time.”
FACT: Another overstatement. At this point in his presidency, Trump has signed 12 executive orders vs. 15 executive orders for Obama. Granted, Obama had signed three bills into law, while Trump has
signed four. However, one of Trump’s was a necessary rule change for his pick for Secretary of Defense. But one of Obama’s major achievements came on Feb. 17 when he signed his broad economic
Pres. Trump: “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who, in this short period of time, has done what we’ve done.” pic.twitter.com/fOegvgcPrB
— ABC News (@ABC) February 16, 2017
TRUMP: “He [Alexander Acosta] is a member and has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board and has been through Senate confirmation three times.”
FACT: Acosta is not currently a member of the National Labor Relations Board. He served as a member from 2002 to 2003.
TRUMP: “Since my election, Ford announced it will abandon its plans to build a new factory in Mexico and will instead invest $700 million in Michigan creating many, many jobs. Fiat Chrysler announced it will invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan, creating 2,000 new American jobs.”
FACT: In early January, Ford and Fiat did announce plans to expand and invest in U.S. manufacturing. Fiat Chrysler made a point of saying the decision was not the result of conversations with the
incoming White House. Instead many economics and analysts cite that fact that both car companies had long planned to invest in electric cars, which are easier to build in the U.S. and had received
tax incentives in previous years to invest in fuel-economy technology.
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