PolitiFact Wisconsin's 'High Five' for July 2019

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 17, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 17, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Getty Images)
The budget battle with Republicans has left some of Gov. Tony Evers' campaign promises in limbo. (Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The budget battle with Republicans has left some of Gov. Tony Evers' campaign promises in limbo. (Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Hot-button issues for voters in the 2020 presidential election include immigration and the military. 

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democratic presidential hopeful and major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, touched on both topics when she visited Milwaukee.

Her claim became our most-clicked item for the month.Here is a look at our "High Five" for July:

1. At the same time President Donald Trump talks about supporting veterans, "he is deporting service members who have volunteered to serve this country."  

Gabbard made the claim in a July 11, 2019 speech at the League of United Latin American Citizens convention in Milwaukee. 

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, between fiscal years 2013 and 2018, more than 44,000 noncitizens enlisted in the military. 

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, people born in other countries can gain U.S. citizenship through military service. Sometimes they can do this without going through the preliminary step of getting a U.S. green card (lawful permanent resident). The exact legal requirements depend on whether the person served during peace or war time. 

However, a June 2019 GAO report noted that the federal government had fallen short in efforts to guide immigrants serving in the U.S. military through the process to become naturalized citizens. That said, GAO documents make clear the issue existed before Trump took office -- something that wasn’t acknowledged in Gabbard’s claim. 

Our rating: Mostly True.

2. Evers-O-Meter promise updates

With Evers’ first state budget completed, we took a look back on some of his budget-related promises on the Evers-O-Meter.

Similar to our Truth-O-Meter, we assigned a rating based on the status of the promise: In the Works, Stalled, Compromise, Promise Kept or Promise Broken. (We did the same for former Gov. Scott Walker)

Here’s how some of his major promises have fared:

Restore state funding for schools to two-thirds level in 2019-21 budget: Stalled

Accept federal Medicaid expansion money: Promise Broken

Increase spending on local road maintenance: Promise Kept

Increase school funding by $1.4 billion over two years in first budget: Compromise

Cut middle class income taxes by 10 percent: Compromise

Increase spending on technical schools and UW System: Promise Kept 

Restore state funding for schools to two-thirds level in 2019-21 budget: Stalled

3. "Trump wants to cut (Medicare) just to pay for tax breaks to billionaires."

The claim was made by the Priorities USA Super PAC, which announced it plans to spend at least $300,000 per week on digital ads in Wisconsin.

The "tax breaks" in the ad refer to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, an overhaul of the tax code signed into law by Trump in December 2017, according to a supporting document provided by Priorities USA.

The ad implies much — or all — of the tax cut referenced is going to billionaires.

The tax cut does provide tax breaks for billionaires. And lots of other people too.

Any large-scale tax cuts reduce revenue and can require cuts elsewhere in the budget, where Medicare is a high-cost piece. But the ad over-reaches in directly linking tax cuts signed into law almost two years ago and Medicare changes that are still in the works.

Referring to the tax cuts simply as "to billionaires" is a stretch as well. The cuts do disproportionately benefit the wealthy, but a very small portion of the money actually goes to billionaires.

Our rating: Mostly False.

4. "Mexico, they took 30% of our automobile business."

Trump claimed the U.S. has lost 30% of its automobile business to its southern neighbor during a June 12, 2019 speech at Derco Aerospace where he touted the pending United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade. 

Experts say there isn’t one example of an automaker closing a plant in the U.S. in order to open one in Mexico, much less enough to total 30% of anything. And Mexican-built cars still account for only 15% of sales in the U.S.

Our rating: False.

5. "We won (Wisconsin in 2016) not so late in the evening — a little bit early in the evening, actually, which is even better."

On election night 2016, Wisconsin helped put Trump over the top in the electoral college. So it was surprising to hear Trump’s reference to an early call in his Derco visit.

In 2016, 27 states — more than half — had polls close before Wisconsin’s did at 8 p.m. Central Time, according to MSNBC. Another 14 states closed at the same time as Wisconsin. 

The earliest media outlet to call Wisconsin foir Trump was Fox News at 10:30 p.m, but calling that early is a stretch since about 80% of states had been called by that point. 

The Associated Press — which has projected races since 1848 and is relied upon in this role by news organizations throughout the country — called the state for Trump at 1:29 a.m. CNN had called Wisconsin one minute earlier.

Our rating: False.