President Donald J. Trump was the recipient of PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2015. Back then, we couldn’t choose one particular claim over another, so we combined them all together and awarded his campaign statements the Lie of the Year. 76 percent of the statements we rated from him at that time were either Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, out of 77 statements.
Fast forward to November 8, 2016, when Trump was elected President of the United States. As we do for all politicians, regardless of party affiliation, we prepared to fact-check statements from him and his administration. On only the second day of the Trump administration, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway introduced the American public to what she called "alternative facts," during an interview in which she seemed to reject the factual claim that the size of President Trump’s inauguration crowd on Jan. 20 was smaller than President Barack Obama’s.
99 days later, President Trump has been in office for almost 100 days. We culled through our file of his statements to highlighting seven seriously misleading claims he’s made since the inauguration.
1) "Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have "gotten to a point where it's not even being reported," Feb. 6
We found no support for the idea that the media is hushing up terrorist attacks on U.S. or European soil. The media may sometimes be cautious about assigning religious motivation to a terrorist attack when the facts are unclear or still being investigated. But that’s not the same as covering them up through lack of coverage. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.
2) "I didn't know Steve (Bannon)," April 11
Trump said that before the presidential campaign, "I didn’t know Steve," referring to Steve Bannon. That’s contradicted by Trump’s own words and independent reporting. For example, The Washington Post counted nine times that Trump appeared on Bannon’s radio show, and The New Yorker reported that Bannon and Trump met in 2011 to discuss a possible campaign. We rated this claim Pants on Fire.
3) "109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers" were affected by the immigration executive order, Feb. 5
109 refers to the number of people who were in transit when the ban was announced. It doesn’t account for people who tried to board flights to the United States (over 1,200) and were denied, for visas that were revoked (about 60,000 according to the State Department) or for refugees admitted (64,000 in the last two fiscal years). We rated this claim False.
4) Says "the New York Times wrote about" Barack Obama wiretapping Donald Trump during the election, March 15
The New York Times article Trump references says the FBI has used intercepted communications in its investigation of several Trump associates and their ties to Russia. It does not say Obama ordered this surveillance, nor does it say Trump’s own phones were tapped or that he was under surveillance in any way.
Trump took an article about legitimate intelligence investigations and completely distorted it. We rated his claim False.
5) "The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process." March 20
Neither NSA Director Mike Rogers nor FBI Director James Comey said this — not in the video clip Trump shared, nor at any point in the five-hour hearing.
Rather, they said they believe Russia interfered in the presidential election, in an attempt to help Trump and undermine the democratic process. They said they don’t know one way or the other if that interference actually did affect public opinion or the outcome of the election. We rated Trump’s claim False.
6) "The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!", April 18
MS-13 gangs in the United States were established decades before Obama took office and had been spreading across the U.S. long before his tenure. Experts told us there is no evidence Obama policies spurred their growth. Finally, Obama prioritized the deportation of criminal immigrants.
Immigration officials told us data on how many MS-13 gang members have been arrested and removed under Trump’s administration is not available. We rated Trump’s claim False.
7) "The National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion," Feb. 25
Trump would be wise to not read too much into this figure, which sounds more noteworthy than it actually is. The national debt fluctuates up and down depending on the day. While the debt is "down" after one month, experts say that trend will reverse and the debt will continue to rise.
This factoid is a gross misrepresentation of the state of the debt and the role the new president had in shaping the figure.
We rated that claim Mostly False.
Check out our Trump-O-Meter for additional coverage as President Trump marks his hundredth day in office, and Trump’s file for our comprehensive collection of his statements we’ve put on the Truth-O-Meter
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