President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. With the President’s history of making misleading or false claims, CNN’s Reality Check Team was on-site to fact check Trump’s speech.
President Trump spoke to the United States Congress on Tuesday to outline his legislative agenda. According to Fox 6 Now, a team of CNN reporters, researchers, and editors were listening in to analyze key statements that Trump made, ranking them from true, mostly true, true but misleading, or false.
During his speech to Congress, Trump claimed that the “murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.”
While Trump has struggled with this fact in the past, previously stating that the murder rate was the highest it’s been in 45 years, which is not accurate, the President got it right this time.
The United States did experience the highest one-year increase in murder rate between 2014 and 2015, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
Trump also added that there were more than 4,000 people shot in Chicago last year, which is also true. According to the Chicago Police Department, there were 4,331 shooting victims.
The CNN team dubbed this statement to be true.
President Trump then touched on the issue of pipeline jobs. Trump asserted that his administration’s support of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines were “creating tens of thousands of jobs.”
Last month, Donald Trump signed an executive order which allowed construction to move forward on the controversial pipelines, claiming that Keystone XL alone would create 28,000 “great construction jobs.”
A State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline that was issued under former President Obama claimed that there would be 3,900 direct construction jobs if the pipeline was built over one year and 1,950 jobs if the work was split over two years.
Although the report did estimate that there would be around 42,000 indirect jobs created from the pipeline construction, for companies that sell products and services used to build the pipeline, once the pipeline opens it would only require 35 full-time permanent jobs and 15 full-time temporary jobs to run it.
The Dakota Access pipeline is estimated to add 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs, but only around 40 permanent positions.
Apparently, most of the 1,200-mile pipeline has already been built, meaning Trump’s statement was true but definitely misleading, according to the team of CNN reporters.
The construction jobs created out of this will all be temporary, and the number of permanent jobs created directly by the pipeline is significantly lower.
President Trump also addressed the rally that was set off on Wall Street to the United States Congress.
“The stock market gained almost $3 trillion in value since the election on November 8, a record.”
While the stock market did indeed spike that day, this was mostly due to optimism about Trump’s pro-business promises to cut taxes, roll back regulation, and increase infrastructure spending.
S&P Dow Jones indicated that the American stock market gained around $2.4 trillion since November 8.
CNN reporters voted this statement to be mostly true.
One of the most anticipated topics of his speech to Congress was Trump’s statement regarding terror attacks in the country.
“The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.”
Trump cited Justice Department data. A 2016 report produced by Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, found that 380 out of 580 people convicted of terrorism and related offenses since September 11 were “foreign-born.”
However, another report by the Cato Institute claimed that Sessions’ report was flawed because 42 percent of the offenses were not even terror-related. Most of the offenses were terrorism-related tips that did not ever amount to anything.
The New America Foundation claims that it is pretty much a 50/50 split, proving that it was not “the vast majority” of terrorists from outside the country.
Donald Trump claimed his proposal to increase the defense budget was “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”
The President’s budget called for a 10 percent increase, which amounts to $54 billion, over the next year.
In terms of dollars, Trump was correct in the fact that a $54 billion increase is one of the biggest, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. However, it was noted that “$54 billion today is worth far less than $54 billion a century ago.”
President Trump also bragged during his speech to the United States Congress that he had already imposed a “five-year ban on lobbying by Executive Branch officials.”
While the order does require appointees to sign a pledge that they will refrain from lobbying activities, the order does not ban lobbying across the board.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington discovered that the ban only covered a portion of the activities that lobbyists and former executive branch officials can pursue. For instance, former appointees can still engage in activities that the existing law does not define as lobbying when dealing with members of their former agencies.
Trump’s statement was categorized as “True, but misleading” by the CNN Reality Check team.
With President Donald Trump’s history of making misleading or even false claims, do we need the CNN Reality Check team at every future event? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]