Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ahead of Donald Trump's Wisconsin visit, his record as president on the meter

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017.

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher April 17, 2017

In his first visit to Wisconsin since becoming president, Donald Trump will highlight "the essential nature of American manufacturing to our nation’s future,"

That’s the word from Snap-on Inc., a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, where Trump is scheduled to appear on April 18, 2017.

Kenosha is the hometown of Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, and an area represented by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who are fellow Republicans with the president.

Trump’s first few months in the Oval Office have small-business executives in southeastern Wisconsin feeling sunnier about the prospects for their companies. But his performance on PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter is about the same as when he was a candidate.

Since Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017, 65 percent of his statements checked by PolitiFact have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.

That’s about the same as his overall record on the meter, which shows that 69 percent of his statements have received one of those ratings.

The tallies:

Breakdown of the 40 fact checks of statements Donald Trump has made since he became president (as of April 17, 2017)


Number of fact checks

Percentage of total




Mostly True



Half True



Mostly False






Pants on Fire




Here’s a look at the five most recent checks of Trump statements, all done by PolitiFact National, followed by our look at three recent statements made about him by Wisconsin Democrats.

Latest Trump statements

Before the presidential campaign, "I didn't know Steve (Bannon)."

Rating: Pants on Fire.

That was contradicted by Trump’s own words and independent reporting. Trump and his White House aide and strategist first met in 2011 and, among other meetings, Trump appeared nine times on a radio show Bannon hosted.

"Last month, we saw a 64 percent reduction in illegal immigration on our southern border."

Rating: Half True.

It depends on how you define last month. The White House said Trump was speaking about year-over-year changes, from March 2016 to March 2017. Border patrol apprehensions declined 63.4 percent during that time. But if you looked at the decrease from February 2017 to March 2017, as Trump did just a month earlier, the decrease was about 35 percent.

"I've won awards on environmental protection."

Rating: Half True.

The White House pointed to two that include his name. One thanked him personally for donating over 400 acres of undeveloped land to the New York State Park System. The other recognized the environmental stewardship of a Trump golf course in New Jersey operated by a well known manager, and cited Trump’s leadership in general terms. So Trump could firmly claim one personal award and one where his role and the accorded honor are more diffuse. By definition, two is plural, but the personal recognition of Trump is thin for the second one.

"There was a very large infrastructure bill that was approved during the Obama administration, a trillion dollars. Nobody ever saw anything being built."

Rating: Mostly False.

In practice, the stimulus under President Barack Obama had a mixed record. Beyond that, though, Trump’s characterization was flawed. The single biggest portion of the law actually consisted of tax cuts. As for the infrastructure portion of the law, it did indeed produce results, even if they were somewhat more underwhelming than its backers had initially hoped.

"When you look for a job, you can't find it and you give up. You are now considered statistically employed."

Rating: False.

Trump was wrong -- someone who stops looking for work would be shifted to the "out of the labor force" category, not the "employed category."

Recent PolitiFact Wisconsin ratings

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.: "There is no legal basis" for Donald Trump's "missile strike against Syrian military assets."

Rating: False.

The statement went too far. There are disputes about the extent of a president’s authority. But legal precedents exist, including what the U.S. Constitution gives the commander in chief, for limited military actions ordered by a president without approval from Congress.

Pocan: Under "Trumpcare," the Republican replacement for Obamacare, "$600 billion worth of tax breaks will go to the wealthiest in this country."  

Rating: Half True.

Not all of the $600 billion in tax breaks (over 10 years) in the bill, which Republicans failed to pass, would have gone to the wealthiest Americans. But nearly half -- $275 billion -- would have almost exclusively benefited only people on the highest end of the income scale. And the wealthiest, along with middle- and lower-income Americans, would have benefited from the remainder of the tax breaks.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.: "‘Trumpcare’ would allow insurance execs to personally make millions off your health care."

Rating: Mostly False.

One provision was a tax break worth an estimated $400 million over 10 years. It’s possible that money could have funded raises for health care company executives. But the tax break was for the companies, not individuals; the companies could have used the savings for other purposes; and even if the savings were used for raises, there was no evidence that executives would have received millions.

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Sources

PolitiFact items as noted

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

Ahead of Donald Trump's Wisconsin visit, his record as president on the meter