President Donald Trump is a staunch critic of what he perceives to be “fake news.” In fact, amongst Trump’s core constituency, the term is now widely used to dismiss news that does not suit their narrative.
But how often does President Trump himself make false assertions, thus spreading “fake news”? According to the Associated Press fact-checking team, the president is guilty of false statements more often than not. Let’s take a look at the veracity of Trump’s recent claims.
TRUMP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS YEAR’S JOB GROWTH
Claim: “Already we’ve created more than almost 600,000 jobs” is what President Trump told a group of CEOs earlier this year.
Nope. The job growth we have seen so far this year have been as a result of Barack Obama’s policies. It is too soon for the effects of Trump policies to be materializing in the form of job growth. At this stage during a new presidency, the predecessor’s achievements are still influencing changes but starting to wane. Whereas Trump’s actions will only be noticeable well into his first term.
Moreover, Trump rounded up the job growth figures – actually coming in at 533,000 – to make an exaggerated claim on multiple occasions. The correct figure of 533,000 jobs works out to a monthly average of 178,000 jobs, which is slower than Obama’s 187,000 jobs per month at the same time last year.
MANUFACTURING AND COAL INDUSTRIES ARE REBOUNDING
Claim: President Donald Trump made many promises during his 2016 campaign. One such promise was that he would be ensuring that America starts making products again, raising great buildings and mining coal. While commenting on recent job growth, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the White House press pool that “primarily the places where we saw the most growth in this jobs report were in manufacturing, coal miners, [and] other places.”
The truth is that the industries mentioned above combined accounted for less than six percent of recent job growth. Roughly 211,000 jobs were added to the national growth curve. However, a total of 173,000 jobs were gained in services. Only a mere 6,000 jobs were gained in manufacturing while construction gained 5,000 jobs. More startling, coal mining only gained a total of 200 jobs.
Moreover, these job gains that were reported in April matches the pace of growth for this time last year.
NO EVIDENCE OF TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION
Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is "no evidence" of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
According to the AP fact checkers, Trump assertion is decidedly “premature” as the Trump-Russia investigation are ongoing and that so far “there’s no exoneration to be found.” Thus far, with respect to the current investigation, James Clapper has not given any indication that no evidence of collusion with Russia has been found.
What Trump is referring to is a report that Clapper published towards the end of Barack Obama’s term that was only based on the evidence available to Clapper at the time. Regarding all evidence that has surfaced since that report, no determination as yet been made either way. In fact, Clapper explicitly confirmed it during an interview with ABC’s This Week, when he said that “there was no evidence of any collusion included in that report. That’s not to say there wasn’t evidence.”
As for the broader claim Trump made that “everybody, including the fake media, already knows there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump,” this is simply not true. Multiple investigations into the matter are currently underway in both the House and the Senate, as well as the FBI. According to Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI Chief, “the [Trump-Russia] probe remains a high priority for the agency.”
SEAN SPICER: NO INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP HIMSELF
Claim: During a White House press briefing, Sean Spicer said that “with respect to the president himself, both Sen. Schumer, Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Manchin, everyone else who has been briefed on this has been very clear that there was no collusion with respect to the president himself and no investigation there.”
Once again this was a premature conclusion for the press secretary to make. While both Joe Manchin and Dianne Feinstein have indeed indicated that they haven’t seen any evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, the fact remains that the investigations are still open and have not published any findings as of yet.
Moreover, Spicer incorrectly attributed the above assertion to Senator Chuck Schumer, as there is no evidence to be found that he made such a claim about the Trump-Russia probe.
THE FIRING OF JAMES COMEY
Claim: Kellyanne Conway told CNN that James Comey’s dismissal “has nothing to do with Russia.” Meanwhile, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, said, “We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity… and we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”
The reason the White House gave for firing Comey was “that Comey had bungled the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices.” This claim seems to be directly at odds with Trump’s public delight and praise for Comey’s actions against Hillary. Meanwhile, what Ms. Sanders said appeared to concur with the White House sentiment that “by firing Comey, the White House hoped to hasten the conclusion of an aggressive FBI investigation.”
TRUMP IS NOT UNDER FBI INVESTIGATION
Claim: During an NBC interview, Trump said that he hadn’t been asked to provide any documents to the FBI and as such: “I knew I wasn’t under and I heard it was stated at the committee, at some committee level, that I wasn’t.”
It is not an indication of whether you are being investigated by the FBI if you have not been asked to hand over documents. This type of information is collected without the knowledge of the subject of the probe. In fact, the subject of the investigation will only know they’re being investigated at a much later stage of the process.
Claim: In a letter Trump wrote to James Comey informing him that he had been fired, Trump said that “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
It would be a serious breach of protocol if the FBI chief was to make any such assurances to the subject of a probe while the investigation is ongoing. Moreover, on March 20, during a congressional hearing, Comey said, “I’m not gonna answer that” when asked to confirm whether Trump was, in fact, a target or not.
WE STILL HAVE MONEY TO BUILD THE WALL
Claim: After the Trump administration had reached a budget compromise with Congress in order to prevent a government shutdown, President Donald Trump reiterated his promise to construct a “big, beautiful wall” at the Mexican border. Trump also claimed that work on the wall had already begun when he said, “We’re putting up a tremendous amount of money to fix the existing structures that we have, some of which we can keep into the future.” Trump went further to assert that “with this payment” the government is “beginning to build the wall…”
This claim is diametrically opposed to the actual agreement that was reached during the most recent budget negotiations. The current budget does not include any money, whatsoever, to construct any new fencing or walls along the border with Mexico.
TRUMP’S ELECTORAL COLLEGE HYPERBOLE
Claim: Also in an interview with NBC, Trump asserted that “the Electoral College is almost impossible for a Republican to win. Very hard.”
Unfortunately, historical facts don’t support Trump’s claim. During the last 100 years, both the Democrats and Republicans have each won 13 times. In fact, the total number of electoral votes received by each party amounts to 7,159 for Republicans and 6,607 for Democrats. It shows that the opposite of Trump’s statement is where the truth lies. Republicans have received more votes in the last 100 years than the Democrats.
TRUMP ON TAX
Claim: According to Trump, America is “the highest-taxed nation in the world,” as spoken in an interview with The Economist magazine.
The opposite is true. The United States has an overall tax burden that comes in as one of the lowest amongst the 32 most developed market economies in the world, as reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Trump later stated that he was referring to the higher “top marginal corporate tax rate, specifically,” which is also not quite true. The U.S.’s high top marginal corporate tax rate is somewhat alleviated by certain tax breaks that aren’t offered by the other 32 named countries.
Verdict: MOSTLY FALSE
TRADE WITH CANADA
Claim: Trump told The Economist magazine that “right now the United States has… about a $15 billion trade deficit with Canada.”
Once again, the opposite is true. According to the most recent statistics from the Census Bureau, the U.S. actually managed to gain an $8.1 billion trade surplus with Canada during the previous financial year. Moreover, as AP fact checkers reported, “$24.6 billion U.S. surplus with Canada in the trade of services, including tourism and software, outweighed a $16.5 billion deficit in the trade of goods, including autos and oil.”
Trump consistently conflates the trade in goods with the trade in services. In 2016 the U.S. suffered a $750 billion deficit in goods but managed to gain a $249 billion surplus in services.
TRUMP COINED THE PRIME PUMP
Claim: Donald Trump seems to be convinced that he created the “prime pump” term.
“I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do. We have to prime the pump.”
Nope. Trump is not the originator of that term. In fact, the term first became popular over 80 years ago during the Great Depression. The Merriam-Webster dictionary was quick to correct Trump’s appropriation of the term by confirming “that the phrase ‘priming the pump’ has been around since the early 1800s. Literally, it’s about pouring water into a pump to allow it to create suction. The phrase was commonly used by mining publications during the 1920s, but it took on new significance after the economy cratered during the Depression.”
To read about many more of Trump’s claims that have been proven wrong – including claims on healthcare, tax cuts, the judicial system and more – click here.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]