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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. (AP) Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson July 10, 2024
Maria Ramirez Uribe
By Maria Ramirez Uribe July 10, 2024

In his first high-profile public remarks since a June 27 CNN debate, former President Donald Trump held a rally in Doral, Florida, challenging President Joe Biden, whose performance was widely panned by politicos and pundits, to an unmoderated debate and even a golf match as a "chance to redeem himself in front of the entire world."

"Our victory was so absolute that Joe’s own party now wants him to throw in the towel and surrender the presidency after a single 90-minute performance," Trump said.

Trump launched his usual attacks on the administration’s handling of the economy, immigration and crime. But in a shift from his usual speeches, Trump name-checked Vice President Kamala Harris, whose profile has risen as a potential successor to Biden as the nominee. As he has sometimes in the past, Trump, during the rally, often blamed the "Biden-Harris administration" instead of just Biden. 

Trump made multiple false statements during his rally, particularly on immigration and the economy. Here are the facts behind some of Trump’s inaccurate statements: 

Trump on immigration

Of Harris, "She was put in charge of the U.S. border security at the border and she never showed up. She's never gone. She never went there once."

False. In March 2021, Biden tasked Harris with working alongside Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — to address the root causes that make people migrate to the United States.

"One of the ways we learned is that if you deal with the problems in a country, it benefits everyone. It benefits us, it benefits the people, and it grows the economies there," Biden said at a March 2021 meeting with Harris.

Republicans began calling her the "border czar." In April 2021, when a reporter asked her whether she would visit the border, she clarified that her role is addressing the factors that make people leave their home countries, not managing the border.

"The president has asked (Homeland Security) Secretary (Alejandro) Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border. And he has been working very hard at that, and it’s showing some progress because of his hard work," Harris said at a roundtable. "I have been asked to lead the issue of dealing with root causes in the Northern Triangle, similar to what the then-vice president did many years ago."

In June 2021, Harris visited the border with Mayorkas. In a press gaggle, they differentiated their responsibilities — Harris said she was addressing "the root causes of migration, predominantly out of Central America," and Mayorkas said, "It is my responsibility as the Secretary of Homeland Security to address the security and management of our border."

Vice President Kamala Harris holds a press conference, June 25, 2021, at the airport after her tour of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. (AP)

Of Venezuela, "Their crime is down 72% because they've sent all of their drug dealers, their criminals and most of their prisoners into our country."

False. Venezuela’s government doesn’t publish reliable crime data. However, some data from independent organizations show violent deaths have recently decreased, but not by 72%. From 2022 to 2023, violent deaths dropped by 25%, the independent Venezuelan Observatory of Violence reported. 

Criminologists attribute this decline to Venezuela’s poor economy and the government’s extrajudicial killings. So many people have left Venezuela that criminals also have fewer people to assault, experts told PolitiFact. Criminologists said there is no evidence that Venezuela’s government is emptying its prisons and sending criminals to the United States. 

"Zero terrorists came in 2019." 

False. In fiscal year 2019 U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered people on the terrorist watchlist 541 times.

CBP tracks the number of times immigration officers encounter people on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist — a database of  people who are known or suspected terrorists. Just because people are encountered does not mean they’re let into the country.

People on the list can be encountered at four different points along the U.S. border. Here is the data for fiscal year 2019: 

  • On the northern border at official ports of entry immigration officials encountered people on the terrorist watchlist 258 times.

  • On the northern border between official ports of entry immigration officials encountered people on the terrorist watchlist three times.

  • On the southern border at official ports of entry immigration officials encountered people on the terrorist watchlist 280 times.

  • On the southern border between official ports of entry immigration officials encountered people on the terrorist watchlist zero times.

Trump was likely referring to the zero encounters with people on the terrorist watchlist between ports of entry at the southern border. However, that does not represent all encounters with people on the terrorist watchlist in 2019.

Biden is "allowing these people to come in to go on Social Security and Medicare."

False. Most immigrants in the U.S. illegally are ineligible for Social Security. Some people who entered the U.S. illegally and were granted humanitarian parole — a temporary permission to stay in the country — for more than one year, may be eligible for Social Security for up to seven years, the Congressional Research Service said. 

Immigrants in the U.S. illegally also are generally ineligible to enroll in federally funded health care coverage such as Medicare and Medicaid. (Some states provide Medicaid coverage under state-funded programs regardless of immigration status. Immigrants are eligible for emergency Medicaid regardless of status.)

It’s also wrong to say that immigration will destroy Social Security. The program’s fiscal challenges stem from a shortage of workers compared with beneficiaries. Immigrants who are legally qualified can receive Social Security retirement benefits only after they’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes for 10 years. So, for at least 10 years, these immigrants will be paying into the system before they draw any benefits.

Immigration is far from a fiscal fix-all for Social Security’s challenges. But having more immigrants in the United States would increase the worker-to-beneficiary ratio, potentially for decades, thus extending the program’s solvency, economic experts say.

Trump on the economy

"They want to increase your taxes four times."

False. Biden proposed a tax increase of about 7% over the next decade, which is far lower than the 300% increase that Trump claimed. (Doubling would be a 100% increase; tripling would be a 200% increase.)

About 83% of the proposed Biden tax increase would be borne by the top 1% of taxpayers, a level that starts at just under $1 million a year in income. 

Taxpayers earning up to $60,400 would see their yearly taxes decline on average, and taxpayers earning $60,400 to $107,300 would see an annual increase of $20 on average.

The price of bacon has "gone up four times"

False. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that bacon’s price rose from $5.83 in January 2021, the month Biden took office, to $6.82 in May 2024. That’s a 17% increase over three and a half years. If bacon prices had risen by four times, as Trump said, that would have been a 300% increase.

Even at their October 2022 peak, bacon cost $7.61, which would be a 31% increase. Today’s bacon price of $6.82 a pound is 7% higher than it was at its peak during Trump’s presidency, in September 2017.

In 2021 and 2022, "we saw significant inflationary pressures in the economy and increased consumer spending on food," David L. Ortega, an associate professor in Michigan State University's Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, told PolitiFact in 2023. "High grain prices during that time made it more costly to raise hogs. All of this contributed to increased prices for pork products, and other foods."

Joseph Balagtas, an agricultural economist at Purdue University, agreed with Ortega in an interview last year.

"The story of 2021 was a big bounceback in food service activity, from more people eating in restaurants," he said. "This caught packers of pork, beef and chicken off guard after the COVID-19-related restaurant closures of 2020."

Regardless, Ortega said, "fluctuations in bacon or pork prices in general have nothing to do with who is president."

"We had the greatest economy in the history of the planet."

False. The strongest evidence to back this assertion in the U.S. context is the unemployment rate. On Trump’s watch, the unemployment rate fell to levels untouched since the early 1950s. But even on this statistic, the unemployment rate matched or fell even lower than its Trump-era marks under his successor, Biden.

Meanwhile, the annual increases in gross domestic product — the sum of a country’s economic activity — were broadly similar under Trump to what they were during the final six years under his predecessor, Barack Obama. And GDP growth under Trump was well below that of previous presidents.

Wage growth also didn’t set records under Trump. Adjusted for inflation, wages began rising during the Obama years and kept increasing under Trump. But these were modest compared with the 2% a year seen in the 1960s. And despite high inflation, real wages under Biden today are higher than they were just before the coronavirus pandemic, an event that upended economic statistics. 

Another metric — the growth rate in personal consumption per person, adjusted for inflation — wasn’t higher under Trump than previous presidents. For many families, this statistic serves an economic activity bottom line, determining how much they can spend on food, clothing, housing, health care and travel. 

In Trump’s three years in office through January 2020, real consumption per person grew by 2% a year. Of the 30 nonoverlapping three-year periods from 1929 to the end of his presidency, Trump’s ranked 12th from the bottom.

Under Joe Biden, "109% of all net job creation over the last year has gone to migrants."

False. Since Biden took office in early 2021, the number of foreign-born Americans who are employed has risen by about 5.5 million. But over the same period, the number of native-born Americans employed has increased by almost 7.8 million. (There are many more native-born Americans than foreign-born Americans, so, on a percentage basis, the increase for foreign-born Americans is about 22%, compared with 6% for native-born Americans.)

It’s also wrong to say that all the foreign-born employment gains (much less all the employment gains) stem from migrants here illegally. The data for foreign-born Americans includes anyone born outside the U.S., including immigrants who have been in the United States legally for decades, many of whom are naturalized citizens.

Trump on elections

"Democrats rigged the election in 2020."

False. There is some fraud in every election, but there was not enough in 2020 to change the presidential election’s outcome. And some fraudulently cast ballots involved defendants who were registered Republicans or self-described Trump supporters.

Federal and state officials, including Republicans in Georgia, said the 2020 election was legitimate. Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, said he had not seen fraud on a scale that would invalidate Joe Biden’s victory. 

As Trump faced reelection in 2020, he said Biden could win only if the election were rigged. Numerous investigations, court cases and reviews yielded no evidence of widespread rigging in the 2020 presidential election.

Elections are administered in thousands of local areas nationwide, each with safeguards, making any attempt to "rig" a national election highly improbable.

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Fact-checking Donald Trump on immigration, economy in first postdebate rally in Doral, Florida