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Fact-checking Donald Trump's Nashville rally

Lauren Carroll
By Lauren Carroll March 16, 2017
Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde March 16, 2017

President Donald Trump went to Nashville to commemorate the 250th birthday of the populist 19th century President Andrew Jackson on March 15.

He delivered a campaign-style rally speech, repeating misleading talking points about the Affordable Care Act and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but he was on point about decreases in illegal immigration.

Here’s a recap of what Trump said, fact-checked and with context.

Obamacare premiums

Trump said in some cases Affordable Care Act premiums are increasing by double-, sometimes triple-digits. That is the case for many people purchasing health care through Obamacare insurance marketplaces. But Trump’s talking point doesn’t accurately reflect the situation overall.

Not every state saw such dramatic increases, and experts say that health care costs broadly are increasing at a lower rate than before the Affordable Care Act took effect. Most people get their health care through the employer, which hasn’t seen the same premium spikes. And for people on the health care exchanges, federal subsidies are offsetting premium increases for many.

Defense spending

"Our budget calls for one of the single largest increases in defense spending history of this country," Trump said. While it’s challenging to make apples-to-apples comparison, we’ve found that past budgets have included bigger increases for military spending.

Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney said the White House wants to spend $603 billion on defense. Mulvaney compared it to the $549 billion allowed under spending caps based on a 2011 budget control law. On that basis, Trump seeks nearly a 10 percent increase.

But in the past three decades, there have been 10 years when the base defense budget has gone up more than what Trump has requested. In some years, the increase was more than double Trump’s.

Border security

Trump touted decreases in illegal immigration since his inauguration.

He’s right about that. The Department of Homeland Security recently said there had been a 40 percent drop from January to February 2017 in apprehensions at the southwest border.

Experts say Trump’s tough-on-immigration rhetoric played an important part in the reduction of illegal border crossings. But they also caution that one month’s worth of data is not enough to make a complete assessment and that other factors should also be considered.

Blocked travel ban

Trump criticized the latest court ruling against him regarding his temporary ban on refugees and nationals from six countries in the Middle East and Africa.

On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii granted a temporary restraining order on Trump’s revised directive.

"This is a watered-down version … The need for my executive order is clear," Trump said of his blocked executive order.

American jobs

Trump said "there will be consequences" if a company wants to leave America, layoff workers and then ship new products back to the United States.

Trump has singled out auto manufacturers for shifting production to Mexico and warned U.S. companies of a hefty border tax if cars are sold but not made in the United States.

Less than a month after the election, Trump and then vice president-elect Mike Pence, made a deal with Carrier Corp. to keep a plant in Indianapolis and save 800 jobs instead of outsourcing them to Mexico. However, Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, said it would still advance on plans to close a factory in Huntington, Ind. and move 700 jobs to Mexico.

Job numbers: not so ‘phony’ anymore?

"In the first two job reports since I took the oath of office, we've already added half a million new jobs," Trump said.

Trump has long challenged the legitimacy of the monthly unemployment numbers issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

During the campaign, Trump labeled a low unemployment rate as "phony" and inaccurately said it could be as high as 42 percent. Donald Trump Jr. -- before his dad became president -- called the numbers "artificial" and "massaged" to make the economy and former President Barack Obama look good.

Quick hits

• Promises: Trump said, "We’re keeping our promises." See how he’s done on our Trump-O-Meter promise tracker so far.

• 9th Circuit: "Take a look at how often they’ve been overturned," Trump said. The Supreme Court doesn’t necessarily turn over 9th Circuit decisions more than other appeals courts.

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Fact-checking Donald Trump's Nashville rally