Fact-checking Donald Trump's rally for Mike Braun in Evansville, Indiana
At his rally in Evansville, Ind., President Donald Trump presented a familiar array of claims, some more accurate than others.
Trump’s speech on behalf of Mike Braun, a Republican state senator and businessman running for U.S. Senate, included steel plant expansions that aren’t happening, historic polling that doesn’t exist and unemployment declines that are almost true. He attacked incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly as an ineffective legislator who voted against Trump’s agenda on health care and taxes.
Here is a rundown of some of Trump’s statements from the rally.
False. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the recent tax bill is the fourth-largest since 1940. And as a percentage of GDP, it ranks seventh.
Half True. That’s the case in the first year only; after that, the benefit starts to shrink and eventually turns into a tax hike.
Mostly True. Unemployment rates for all three groups did hit lows under Trump. They’re not necessarily at their lowest ever now, however.
As this fact-check shows, there was no sudden turnaround after Trump took office. The decline began years before.
When Trump took office in January 2017, there were 42.7 million Americans on food stamps. By May 2018, there were 39.3 million Americans collecting food stamps. That’s a decrease of 3.4 million.
Since November 2016, when Trump was elected, the economy has added about 3.9 million jobs. That period includes some of the time Obama was still in office.
False. Between restarts, new mills and expansions, the steel industry has seen significant investment this year. But U.S. Steel isn’t opening any new plants; it’s restarting two shuttered mills.
Mostly True. Canada’s dairy tariffs are high by any standard. But the United States has recently run a sizable trade surplus with Canada in dairy products, driven by a strong business in a milk product that was unaffected by the high tariffs. Trump also glossed over the fact that the United States imposes its own trade barriers on certain American-made products.
Needs context. Donnelly has never sponsored a bill that became a law during his first term in the Senate. That doesn’t mean none of his legislative proposals in the Senate have become law. Donnelly co-sponsored bills, wrote amendments and crafted language that made its way into 43 laws during his single Senate term.
Mostly False. The "wall" Trump has gotten isn’t the solid, 30-foot-high concrete wall he promised during his run for president. Instead, the projects underway include arrays of steel posts, between 18 and 30 feet high, that allow border patrol agents to see through. The planning for at least some of these projects, which will replace shorter scrap metal fencing, started long before Trump ran for office.
Half True. They did vote for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized building a fence along about 700 miles of the border between the United States and Mexico. Still, the fence they voted for is not as substantial as the wall Trump is proposing. Trump himself called the 2006 fence a "nothing wall."
No, they didn’t. No pre-1936 president served in an era with scientific polling, so Trump’s comparison of himself to Lincoln is spurious; we have rated it False.
Among Republicans at this point in their presidency, Trump is smack in the middle of post-war presidents in approval rating. Both President Bushes and Dwight Eisenhower had approval ratings among Republicans that were higher than Trump’s current level of 85 percent, while Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Ford had ratings that were lower.
"There is an interesting convergence between left and right political wings to begin to redefine these platforms as public utilities or public forums that cannot exclude speakers at their own whim," said Yochai Benkler, co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. "That is not, however, the present state of federal law."