Fact-checking Jeb Bush vs. Donald Trump after CNN debate
Jeb Bush joined his fellow Republicans in attacking Donald Trump during the second presidential debate, held Sept. 16, 2015.
After initially being reluctant to trash-talk Trump earlier this summer, Bush ramped up his attacks in the past couple of months.
Bush attacks on Trump
The two candidates argued about casino gambling in Florida during the CNN debate..
Here is part of their testy exchange:
Bush: "He wanted casino gambling in Florida -- "
Trump: "I didn’t -- "
Bush: "Yes, you did."
Trump: "Totally false."
Bush: "You wanted it, and you didn’t get it, because I was opposed to -- "
Trump: "I would have gotten it."
Bush: " -- casino gambling before -- "
Trump: "I promise, I would have gotten it."
Bush: " -- during and after. I’m not going to be bought by anybody."
Trump: "I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it."
Later, Bush added, "When he asked Florida to have casino gambling, we said no."
Trump responded, "Wrong."
Actually, Bush is largely right.
While we couldn’t confirm that Trump directly petitioned the state for gambling, there’s a pile of evidence that Trump was pursuing a deal to operate casinos on tribal land in Florida. And as this was happening, Trump gave money to Bush and the state party during Bush’s 1998 race for governor.
When Bush called out Trump for saying it was "totally false" that he sought casino gambling and failed, we rated his claim Mostly True.
On another issue, Bush said during an Aug. 19 New Hampshire town hall that Trump "was a Democrat longer in the last decade than he was a Republican." The Bush campaign said he was referring to 2000 to 2010, when Trump was a Democrat for about nine years. But when we reviewed Trump’s voter registration in the 10 years leading up to the present, from 2005 to 2015, we found that he has been a Republican for more than five years. He was a registered Democrat for not quite four years during that time frame. We rated Bush’s claim Half True.
As for taxes, Bush said in an Aug. 21 fundraising email that "Trump proposed enacting the largest tax increase in American history." We found that in 1999, Trump proposed a historically large, one-time tax increase. Trump said the tax would have raised $5.7 trillion and wiped out the national debt. It would have applied only to the wealthiest Americans. We rated Bush’s claim True.
Bush’s campaign also launched a web page whichcandidateareyou? which was a stab at Trump’s positions without directly naming him. For example, Bush said "would you rather support a candidate who said they were ‘very pro-choice’ or was a strongly pro-life governor and defunded Planned Parenthood?" In 1999, Trump said he was "very pro-choice" although by 2011 he said he was pro-life.
Bush said during the Aug. 6 debate "As governor of Florida I defunded Planned Parenthood." In 2001, Bush used his veto power to end funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates although it was for services other than abortion. We rated his claim True.
Trump attacks on Bush
Some claims by Trump aren’t checkable on our Truth-O-Meter, such as his description of Bush as a "low-energy candidate." Others we have been able to check.
At a July 11 political rally in Phoenix, Trump said Florida had five sanctuary cities during Bush’s tenure as governor.
There’s no legal definition of a sanctuary city, and therefore no official classification, but it generally refers to places where local law enforcement officers aren’t required to alert federal authorities about residents who are believed to be in the country illegally. A federal report on the topic from 2006, when Bush was governor, didn’t name any Florida cities. We found one list on the Internet that claimed five Florida locations as current sanctuary cities, but the supporting evidence was virtually nonexistent. City officials told us they weren’t sure why their cities were on the list. We rated Trump’s statement False.
Meanwhile, Trump said in a Sept. 8 tweet that "Jeb's policies in Florida helped lead to its almost total collapse." Economists told us the Great Recession was precipitated by a housing bubble that grew out of multiple factors, including policies on all levels of government. While Bush’s actions as governor may not have prevented the financial crisis — some experts said he might have found some success if he had tried to throttle down the overbuilding — all agreed he did not cause the recession.
We rated Trump’s claim Mostly False