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Trump makes provocative entry into 2016 presidential race
Nancy Badertscher
By Nancy Badertscher July 13, 2015

Donald Trump on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 in an interview on ESPN’s "Mike and Mike"

"Much more than 50 percent of parents out there are spankers."  

The furor over Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and his admission that he struck his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch put parenting and corporal punishment in the spotlight.

During a Sept. 17 broadcast on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, billionaire Donald Trump waded into the debate.

While saying that he was never a "spanker," Trump said there’s no simple response because many parents use physical discipline and their kids turn out "good."

"It's a pretty tough thing because I saw something last night that much more than 50 percent of people out there and parents out there are spankers," Trump said.

We thought it would be worthwhile to check if spanking is as common as Trump said.

In large measure, the data says it is.

A 2013 study by Columbia University researchers found that 57 percent of mothers and 40 percent of fathers engaged in spanking when children were age three, and 52 percent of mothers and 33 percent of fathers engaged in spanking at age five.

Disadvantaged families represented a large share of the survey group. but the results were consistent with other studies.

We rated Trump’s claim Mostly True.

Donald Trump on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in a tweet

"You can be an NFL player with murder charges and not be suspended."

Donald Trump is on Team Tom.

The billionaire who loves to dabble in politics recently tweeted his reaction to the NFL’s decision to suspend New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady four games over his alleged role in "Deflategate."

The league punished Brady, who is appealing his suspension, after an independent report found it was "more probable than not" that Brady knew about the Patriots staffers who released air from game balls after the referees’ inspection.

Trump tweeted, "You can be an @nfl player with murder charges and not be suspended. Yet with NO EVIDENCE, @nfl targeted Tom Brady. B.S.!"

We decided to check Trump’s claim that you could be an NFL player facing murder charges and not suspended.

The closest historical example we could find came from 2000 involving the case of Ray Lewis. But there is the wrinkle that his murder charges came and went during the 2000 offseason. He eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

Trump’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details and takes things out of context.

We rated it Half True.

Donald Trump on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 in an interview on Fox Business Network

Hundreds of thousands of (illegal immigrants are) going to state and federal penitentiaries."

Despite the backlash, Trump has remained steadfast in his position that illegal immigrants from Mexico bring rampant crime to the United States.

"You have illegal immigrants pouring through the country," the ultra-wealthy businessman and Republican presidential candidate said on Fox Business Network July 1. "They're incarcerated. Many of them are in jails. You have hundreds of thousands of people going to state and federal penitentiaries. That just came out in a Homeland Security Report."

We wondered if Trump was right that there are "hundreds of thousands" of illegal immigrants in the nation’s state and federal prisons.

In 2013, there were fewer than 100,000 noncitizens -- legal and undocumented -- in federal and state prisons.

If you add in local jails, it’s quite possible the total number of incarcerated illegal immigrants is above 100,000. We just don’t have solid data.

Without any good information to back it up, Trump’s claim falls flat.

We rated it Mostly False.

Donald Trump on Monday, October 13, 2014 in a broadcast of "Fox and Friends" on Fox News

Says President Barack Obama’s recent New York fundraising trip "cost between $25 million and $50 million."

With President Barack Obama’s low approval ratings already weighing down Democrats in the mid-term elections, his Republican critics like nothing better than giving voters more reasons to think less of him.

Accordingly, billionaire and occasional presidential aspirant Donald Trump called out Obama for the cost of his recent New York fundraising trip.

"He raises a million dollars and it costs between $25 million and $50 million, and they close up the entire city of New York," Trump said Oct. 13 on Fox News’ Fox and Friends.

Trump provided no evidence, likely because all the available information points to a total that would be way, way lower than $25 million, let alone $50 million.

We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

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Our Sources

ESPN, Mike and Mike, Sept. 17, 2014

Pediatrics, Spanking and Child Development Across the First Decade of Life, Oct. 21, 2013

Clinical Child and Family Psychology  Review, Corporal punishment by American parents: national data on prevalence, chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family characteristics, 1999

ABC News, Poll: Most Approve of Spanking Kids, Nov. 8, 2002

Gallup, Children, February 1997

Providence Journal, Vikings admit 'mistake,' reverse course on Adrian Peterson, Sept. 17, 2014

News articles about various player cases accessed through

NFL player conduct policy, accessed May 15, 2015

New York Times, "Lewis Indicted in Deaths In Brawl at Nightclub," Feb. 11, 2000

Twitter, Donald Trump tweet, May 13, 2015

Interview with Carl Francis, NFL Players Association spokesman, May 15, 2015

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Prisoners in 2013," Sept. 30, 2014

GAO, "Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests, and Costs," March 2011

ICE, "ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report," Dec. 19, 2014

Office of Immigration Statistics, "2013 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics," August 2014

Congressional Research Service, Secure Communities report, July 2012

Criminology and Public Policy, "Immigration Enforcement, Policing and Crime," May 2014

Center for Immigration Studies, "Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Conflicted Issue," Nov. 2009

Email interview, Portland State University professor Laura Hickman, July 2, 2015

Email interview, Arizona State University professor Charles Katz, July 2, 2015

Email interview, Harvard professor Mary Waters, July 2, 2015

Email interview, Northeastern professor Ramiro Martinez, July 2, 2015

Email interview, ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen, July 2, 2015

Email interview, Stephen Fischer, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services spokesman, July 6, 2015

Fox News, Fox and Friends, Oct. 13, 2014

White House, President’s schedule, Oct. 7, 2014

Congressional Research Service, Presidential Travel: Policy and Costs , 2012

Government Accountability Office, Presidential travel, 1999, The Traveling President, July 8, 2011

Email interview, Eric Schultz, White House press office, Oct. 13, 2013


ROAD TO 2016

Donald Trump

Age: June 14, 1946 (age 69), Queens, New York City, N.Y.

Political party: Republican

Political experience: Backed candidates and floated the idea of  running for president in 1988, 2004 and 2012 and for governor of New York in 2006 and 2014. He did not enter those races. He ran for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000, winning the party’s California primary. Declared as a 2016 GOP candidate last month,

Business: Chairman and president of The Trump Organization and founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, real estate developer with wide range of other investments, including golf courses, the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. 2015 estimates of his net worth, $4 billion, or higher. Author of books, including  "The Art of the Deal." Stars in and co-produces "The Apprentice," which began its 14th season in January, as well as  "Celebrity Apprentice."

Education: Attended Fordham University in the Bronx for two years, transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Received a Bachelor of Science in economics from Wharton in 1968.

Family: Married to Melania Trump since 2005. Five children, Ivanka, Eric, Donald Jr., Tiffany and Barron. Seven grandchildren. Previous spouses, Marla Maples and Ivana Trump.

Interesting factoid: He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is one of the highest-paid public speakers in the world.

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Trump makes provocative entry into 2016 presidential race