Trump spread the dishonesty around a variety of subjects. Over this period stretching from January 27 to February 9, he made 17 false claims about health care, 15 about the economy, 15 about Democrats, and five or more about each of six additional topics: trade, energy, impeachment, China, immigration, and the military.
Trump is now up to 1,816 false claims since July 8.
The most egregious false claim: Saving Social Security
Trump is a dishonesty maximalist: He often seems to prefer an egregious lie, told confidently, to spin that might be more accurate but might also make him seem defensive or evasive.
Instead, he offered up this fiction: “I’m the one that saved it. The Democrats wanted to do it last time.”
There was no follow-up question.
The most revealing false claim: Pelosi and the speech
Trump is not only a relentless fabricator of his own nonsense but a gleeful purveyor of nonsense he has heard from others.
The most absurd false claim: Bloomberg and the “box”
So we had to do our solemn duty and look into it. And, as so often, we found no evidence for it whatsoever.
Here is the full list of false claims for these two weeks, starting with the ones we haven’t previously fact checked in one of these weekly roundups:
Democrats and the 2020 election
Michael Bloomberg and the debates
Facts First: There is no evidence Bloomberg has requested a box to stand on to make him seem taller during debates. Bloomberg campaign spokesperson Julie Wood told CNN that Trump is “lying”; she called Trump a “pathological liar.” A Democratic National Committee official said on condition of anonymity that “no, there have been no discussions” about Bloomberg getting any height aid for a debate.
Trump’s polling against Democrats
Facts First: It’s not true that every poll on potential election matchups shows Trump leading every Democratic candidate, let alone leading them “by a lot.”
The emoluments lawsuit
The numbers matter here. The lawsuit, which alleged that Trump violated the Constitution by obtaining financial benefits from foreign government officials who stay at his properties, was tossed out by the three-judge panel precisely because the lawsuit had not been brought by a sufficient number of members of the House or the Senate.
The judges wrote: “Our conclusion is straightforward because the members — 29 senators and 186 members of the House of Representatives — do not constitute a majority of either body and are, therefore, powerless to approve or deny the President’s acceptance of foreign emoluments.”
Two-hundred thirty Democrats would be a majority. Two-hundred fifteen is not.
Pelosi ripping up the State of the Union
“Well, I thought it was a terrible thing when she ripped up the speech. First of all, it’s an official document. You’re not allowed — it’s illegal what she did. She broke the law.” And: “That was on display the other night when she ripped up the speech. That was terrible. It was a terrible — so disrespectful to our country. And actually very illegal, what she did.” — February 7 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
Democrats and Social Security
Obama and AIDS
“It’s outrageous to say that President (Barack) Obama did nothing on HIV,” said Jesse Milan Jr., president and CEO of AIDS United, a non-profit dedicating to ending the epidemic.
Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said Trump deserves credit for his “bold” 2019 plan and for proposing a funding increase for the 2020 fiscal year (after proposing cuts in previous years) — though she said Trump’s attempts to eradicate Obamacare, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, would hurt the effort. “But President Obama also did much on HIV,” Kates said, “bringing domestic HIV back into the spotlight, launching the first ever comprehensive national strategy, upon which the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative builds, and supporting programs that led to an increase in coverage and access, particularly the ACA.”
The crowd outside Trump’s rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
Trump said Rep. Jeff Van Drew had told him there were “175,000 people” outside his rally venue in Wildwood, New Jersey, and he asked Van Drew if this was a fact. Van Drew, standing beside him on stage, responded that it was a fact. Trump soon added, “We have tens of thousands of people outside.” — January 28 campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
Facts First: Trump was relying on Van Drew’s figures, so this is perhaps less egregious than when Trump makes his own inflated claims about crowds, but nonetheless, both men were way off. Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority, told CNN that the authority estimates there were between 3,000 and 3,500 people in the parking lot outside Trump’s rally venue and between 2,000 and 2,500 people at a park across the street. Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron told CNN that, after speaking with the city’s fire chief and police chief, he estimated there were 14,000 or 15,000 people in town for the rally, including people inside the venue.
Rose said there were 7,725 people inside the venue for the rally. He said Trump was correct that this was an all-time record for the Wildwoods Convention Center.
Trump has repeatedly exaggerated the size of the overflow crowd outside his rallies.
Hunter Biden’s career
Trump said Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden, made millions of dollars from foreign countries after “he went from having no job, no income — he had nothing.” — February 2 Super Bowl interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: Trump didn’t specify when precisely he was alleging Hunter Biden was unemployed and without income, but it’s not true that Hunter Biden did not have a job or income either in the years before Joe Biden ran for vice president or before Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings.
The Johnson Amendment
A fourth-grader in Philadelphia
Trump told a story in his State of the Union address about Philadelphia fourth-grader Janiyah Davis, using Davis as an example of a child “trapped in failing government schools.” (He announced she would be receiving a scholarship to the school of her choice.) He repeated a version of the story at the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit, suggesting Davis had been trapped in a “poorly performing” school.
Though Davis did transfer out of the private school because tuition was too expensive for her family even with a partial scholarship, according to the Inquirer, her mother, Stephanie Davis, said they do not view the charter school (an independently run school paid for by the public) as a failing entity they want to flee: “I don’t view MaST as a school you want to get out of at all. I view it as a great opportunity.”
It is likely that Trump’s staff, not Trump himself, was primarily responsible for this error, but nonetheless, what he told the country was not true.
Net farm income
“In the eight years before my election, net farm income plummeted by 20%. You know that. I got here. If you look at a chart for 15 years, actually, not eight — for 15 years. It’s like a roller coaster ride down for the farmer.” Trump drew a line downward with his hand. — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
401(k)s before Trump
“For years you’ve been losing your ass with 401(k)s, now you’re making a fortune, right? Right? Now you’re making a fortune.” — January 28 campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
Facts First: Trump didn’t precisely define “losing your ass,” and can’t speak about every individual 401(k) retirement plan, but there is no evidence most people were suffering major losses in their 401(k)s before Trump came along.
The relative size of Trump’s Electoral College margin
The Obamacare website
“Remember the Obamacare, right?… Remember? It was going to cost $5 million. It cost $15 — no, $5 billion, right? Five billion. It still didn’t work. It still didn’t work.” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
The Steele dossier
The Chinese and American economies
“You know, if you remember, it goes all the way back — for years, I heard that China will take over as the largest economy in the world in 2019. I kept hearing that. I hated it because I said, ‘If I run, 2019 is not so far away.’ We are so far ahead. We are so far ahead now. We became a rocket ship…” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Facts First: The US economy remains much bigger than China’s economy in terms of total output, but China has continued to close the gap even though its own growth has slowed. In other words, it’s not true the US is only “now” so far ahead because of growth during Trump’s time in office. In fact, the US lead has continued to shrink under Trump.
Here are the repeat false claims we have previously fact checked in a weekly roundup:
Ukraine and impeachment
Bolton and Democrats
Facts First: It’s not true that House Democrats “never even asked” Bolton to testify: Democrats asked Bolton on October 30 to testify voluntarily on November 7. He declined to appear — because Trump’s White House directed current and former administration officials not to participate in the inquiry. Democrats decided against issuing a subpoena because they were concerned about the possibility of a lengthy court battle.
“And it’s a ridiculous horrible partisan situation. We won 196 to nothing in the house. This was not supposed to happen.” — January 30 interview with Fox News’ Peter Doocy
“And with us also, we have some of our people that have been just incredible. They’re warriors. I call them warriors. We won 196 to nothing on a little vote a couple of weeks ago.” — January 30 speech on the USMCA in Warren, Michigan
“You know, it helped when we won 197 to nothing.” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
“It was a fix. Except, when it got up to Congress, we had 197 to nothing.” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Facts First: Trump did not win any House of Representatives vote related to impeachment, let alone win “197 to nothing” or “196 to nothing.” In fact, he had decisively lost a key process vote and then the two votes to actually impeach him. He appeared to be referring to the fact that no Republican voted against him on these three occasions, but he wasn’t clear at all that this is what he meant.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 232-196 in October in favor of the Democrats’ proposed rules for the impeachment inquiry. The House voted 230-197 and 229-198 in December on the two articles of impeachment.
The timeline of military aid to Ukraine
Vindman and the rough transcript
“Fortunately, for all of us here today and for our country, we had transcripts. We had transcribers — professional transcribers. Then they said, ‘Oh, well, maybe the transcription is not correct.’ But Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother — right? — we had some people that — really amazing. But we did everything. We said, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ ‘Well, they didn’t add this word or that one.’ It didn’t matter. I said, ‘Add it. They’re probably wrong, but add it.’ So now everyone agrees that they were perfectly accurate.” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
European countries and aid to Ukraine
“But I told Mike (Pence). I said, ‘Mike, we’re giving them money, and, you know, you’re always torn about that because we have our country to build, we have our cities to build and our roads to fix. But we’re giving them money. Tell me, why isn’t Germany paying money? Why isn’t France? Why isn’t United Kingdom paying money? Why aren’t they paying money? Why are we paying them money? Is that a correct statement, Mike? I say, ‘Find out what the hell is going on.’ And I told that to all of my people, OMB. I said — I asked that question: ‘How much is Germany paying? Why isn’t Germany paying?’ Why is the United States always the sucker?” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
Facts First: European countries, including France and Germany, have provided hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged European “help” during his meeting with Trump at the United Nations in September, though he said the world’s efforts had been inadequate so far: “And, I’m sorry, but we don’t need help; we need support. Real support. And we thank — thank everybody, thank all of the European countries; they each help us. But we also want to have more — more.”
Ivanka Trump and Jobs
“Through our Pledge to America’s Workers — spearheaded by a young woman that perhaps some of you may have heard of, Ivanka Trump — over 415 companies have committed — these are the big companies, for the most part — have committed to providing new jobs and training opportunities to nearly 15 million Americans. You know, when she started, she said, ‘Daddy, I want to help people get jobs.’ This was at the beginning of the administration. She said, ‘I’m working on 500,000 jobs.’ So she’d call Walmart. She called all these great companies. So she had a goal of 500,000 — half a million jobs. Sounds like a lot. I said, ‘That’s a lot.’ She just broke 15 million jobs. Amazing. Fifteen million.” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Unemployment for women
Touting record unemployment rates for various groups, Trump added, “Women — best in 71 years. Sorry. We’ll have you there soon. Soon, it will be ‘historic.’ I have to apologize to the women; it’s only 71 years.” — February 6 speech at National Prayer Breakfast
The estate tax
Trump claimed three times to have eliminated the estate tax, suggesting all three times that this would be beneficial to small farmers and small businesspeople.
Median household income
Trump claimed four times that real median household income has increased by $10,000 or almost $10,000 during his presidency.
“We’ve ended the war in American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere on earth, by far.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
“And we have ended, so importantly for you, the war on American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.” — January 28 campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
“Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, by far.” — February 4 State of the Union address
Who’s paying for the tariffs on China
“We’ve taken in billions and billions of dollars from China. Billions and billions of dollars from China. And then they agreed to sign the agreement.” — January 30 speech on the USMCA in Warren, Michigan
The history of tariffs on China
“We have plenty left over because we never got 10 cents from China. China took from us. We didn’t take from China, right?” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
China’s agricultural spending
Trump claimed twice that the record for Chinese agricultural purchases is “$16 billion.”
Facts First: Sixteen billion in Chinese agriculture purchases is not the record: China spent $25.9 billion on American agricultural products in 2012, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.
In 2017, the year before the trade war began, China spent $19.5 billion. In 2016, it was $21.4 billion. Chinese purchases plummeted to $9.1 billion in 2018.
The trade deficit with China
Hillary Clinton and trade with South Korea
“She said it’s going to produce 250,000 jobs and she was right, 250,000. Do you know who it was for? For South Korea, not for us. It was for South Korea. So, we renegotiated the deal. I have your permission. We renegotiated the deal and now we have a good deal with South Korea, OK? ‘This deal is going to produce two’ — remember? ‘This deal is going to produce 250,000 jobs for South Korea.’ She didn’t lie, can’t say she lied.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
“She said, ‘250,000 jobs this will produce. It’s going to produce 250,000 jobs.’ And she was right — for them. They got 250,000 jobs. She never said that. She said ‘250,000 jobs.'” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Facts First: There is no record of Hillary Clinton projecting an increase of 250,000 jobs because of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Obama said the deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.”
The size of the USMCA
“The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced, and modern trade agreement ever achieved.” — January 29 speech at USMCA signing ceremony
Facts First: “Biggest” can be defined in different ways, but trade experts say neither the USMCA or Trump’s trade deal with China is the biggest trade deal in US history. “Since ‘biggest trade deal’ has no standard meaning, it may be possible to justify his statements by constructing a measure that fits it and by limiting the number of trade agreements that one compares to. But by any sensible interpretation, he’s wrong,” said Alan Deardorff, a University of Michigan professor of international economics who focuses on trade. Deardorff said: “Both deals, measured in terms of the volume of trade that they cover, are smaller than the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Obama negotiated, and much smaller than the Uruguay Round that created the World Trade Organization.”
The 2016 election
Electoral votes in 2016
“But we got 306 to 223 — 306 to 223.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Facts First: Hillary Clinton earned 232 votes in the Electoral College, not 223. This was not a one-time slip; Trump has habitually said “223.”
A Hillary Clinton crowd in Michigan
Trump boasted of the size of his crowd at his final campaign rally in 2016, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and said, “And Hillary — Crooked Hillary, as I call her — she had a small gathering of about 400 people. I said, ‘So…’ — in a location that was an easier location. So I said, ‘Explain to me, why are we going to lose?’ And we didn’t. We won.” — January 30 speech on the USMCA in Warren, Michigan
Popularity and accomplishments
Trump claimed four times to have gotten the Veterans Choice health care program approved. On two of these occasions, at campaign rallies in New Jersey and Iowa, he claimed that others had unsuccessfully tried for decades to get such a program approved.
Michigan’s Man of the Year
“In fact, I was honored, believe it or not. About 10 years ago, I came to Michigan. I was honored by a wonderful group. I was the ‘Man of the Year.’ And I made a speech and it was a little bit controversial.” — January 30 speech on the USMCA in Warren, Michigan
The new military agreement with South Korea
“It’s like in South Korea. I went to them and said, ‘Listen, your deal is no good. We have to make a new deal.’ South Korea, we’re protecting them with all these different things. I said, ‘Number one, you got to pay us more.’ They agreed to. They gave us $500 million a year more. They said, ‘But nobody has ever asked.’ They gave us $500 million. That’s nothing compared to what they have to do. That’s OK, that’s OK, they’ll pay more.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Drug overdose deaths
“Drug overdose deaths have declined for the first time in nearly 31 years.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
If Trump had said “nearly 30 years,” we’d let it go as reasonable rounding. But “nearly 31 years” clearly suggests the number is more than 30 years.
The individual mandate and Obamacare
“We got rid of the individual mandate, the most unpopular thing, which essentially killed Obamacare.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Facts First: The individual mandate, which required Americans to obtain health insurance, was indeed a key part of Obamacare — but Trump hasn’t killed Obamacare, essentially or otherwise. He has not eliminated Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state marketplaces that allow people to shop for coverage, or the consumer subsidies that help many of them make the purchases.
“To uphold the rule of law, we have confirmed 191 federal judges, a record…And two great Supreme Court justices, by the way.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
“Working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — thank you, Mitch — and his colleagues in the Senate, we have confirmed a record number of 187 new federal judges to uphold our Constitution as written. This includes two brilliant new Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.” — February 4 State of the Union address
Wheeler said Trump has appointed 187 judges by traditional counting methods — two Supreme Court justices, 50 appeals court judges and 135 district court judges — but that it’s possible to get to a total of 191 judges by adding Trump’s three appointments to the Court of Federal Claims and his designation of a sitting judge on that court as chief judge.
Prescription drug prices
“And I was pleased to announce last year that, for the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down.” — February 4 State of the Union address
“This year — meaning last year’s numbers just came in. First time in 51 years where drug prices, prescription drugs went down. First time in 51 years.” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
“…prescription drugs. You know, we had — Secretary Azar is here and I want to thank him for this, but we had — first time in 51 years, where drug prices actually came down last year. First time in 51 years.” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
Facts First: Trump was both exaggerating how recent the decline in prescription drug prices was and how many years it had been since there had been such a decline.
The Consumer Price Index has limitations as a way to measure what is really happening with drug prices; it does not capture rebates paid by drug manufacturers. Other sources of data have shown an increase both years.
For example, the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which studies drug prices, found that “net drug prices in the United States increased at an estimated 1.5% in 2018.” The list price of brand name drugs rose 3.2%, on average, over the 12 months ending in September 2019, after adjusting for inflation, according to SSR Health, a consulting firm that captures about 90% of these medications sold in the US.
“Right now, we have a love affair with Mexico because the Democrats, the Democrats, wouldn’t give us what we needed and I got Mexico. They’re great. They put up 27,000 soldiers on our southern border.”– January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Mexico and the wall
“It’s a tough situation, but Mexico is in fact, you will soon find out — paying for the wall, OK? You know they’d hit you with that. No, the wall is ultimately and very nicely being paid for by Mexico, and it’s an advantage for Mexico too, when you think about it.” — January 28 campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
A Joe Biden crowd
“I mean, Joe had a crowd that was so small the other day that they set up a roundtable, right? No, it’s true. No, they were in a gymnasium. They were in a gymnasium and they set up a roundtable, and people that went there to hear his speech are now being asked, ‘What do you think of socialism?’ They just said, ‘I just want to be here to watch a speech.’ They set up a roundtable because the crowd was so small.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Facts First: We could not find any cases in which Biden was supposed to make a campaign speech but drew so few attendees that his campaign roped the people who did come into having a roundtable discussion with him instead. The Biden campaign told us this did not happen; the Trump campaign did not respond to a request to identify the event Trump was talking about.
Sen. Mazie Hirono and the Green New Deal
“They said, what do you think of the Green New Deal? I said, well, it should be studied carefully. We should look at it. Look at it closely. I don’t want to talk about it until about two months before the election. And then, I’ll tell you how totally insane it is. How about this crazy senator — how about this crazy, crazy senator from Hawaii? They said ‘I’m totally in favor’ — not the smartest. She said, ‘I’m totally in favor of the Green New Deal.’ Well, you know, that would mean there’s no more airplanes. ‘Oh.’ So they started screaming at her in Hawaii. They said how the hell are we going to get to Hawaii? They said we’re going to build a railroad. She said, ‘The world’s longest track, it’s the world’s longest.’ She doesn’t know that they don’t want airplanes anymore,.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Democrats, immigrants and the Rolls-Royce
Trump said the media humorlessly accused him of lying when he had told a joke that California Gov. Gavin Newsom wanted to give undocumented immigrants a free Rolls-Royce: “One of the newscasters said, ‘Donald Trump said that the Governor of California promised a Rolls-Royce to illegal immigrants. He didn’t promise them. This was a lie and a misrepresentation by President Trump. ‘They can’t take a little humor, they can’t take it. These people are sick, they’re sick.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Facts First: That is not exactly what happened. Trump did make a joke at a 2018 campaign rally in Arizona about Democrats wanting to give undocumented immigrants a free Rolls-Royce — but then, at a rally the next day in Nevada, he made a non-joking claim that Democrats want to “give them cars.” He continued to joke about a Rolls-Royce in particular, but he was challenged on the assertion of fact.
Democrats and borders
Trump claimed three times that the Democratic Party supports “open borders.”
Facts First: Even prominent Democrats who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump suggests.
The Russia investigation
Sen. Chuck Grassley’s exchange with James Comey
“But I’ll tell you, Chuck Grassley — he’s looking at Comey: ‘Well, you tell me, what did you say?’ Now, he wasn’t being rough. That was just the way he talked. And that was when Comey — I think that was when Comey announced that he was leaking, lying, and everything else, right? He choked because he never heard anybody talk like that.” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
Comey responded, “Never.” Grassley: “Question two, relatively related: have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?” Comey: “No.” Grassley: “Has any classified information relating to President Trump or his association — associates been declassified and shared with the media?” Comey: “Not to my knowledge.”
Texts and emails from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page
“But they deleted all of their emails and text messages. So when we got the phone, they were all deleted. Could you imagine the treasure trove? They illegally deleted. So they left. They left Bob Mueller.” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
“CNN, total fake stuff. Oops, their cameras just went off. Look, their camera, it just went off. CNN! Their camera just went off. That always happens. Whenever I say CNN, their camera goes off…”– January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Facts First: CNN’s photojournalists at Trump’s rallies do not turn off their cameras when Trump criticizes CNN. Also, no CNN light suddenly went off as Trump criticized CNN here: CNN’s photojournalists at Trump rallies have the “tally” lights on their cameras set permanently to off.
“And we are protecting people with pre-existing conditions and we always will, the Republican Party.” — January 30 campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa
“We are protecting people with pre-existing conditions and we always will, the Republican Party, pre-existing conditions. We saved it.” — January 28 campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
“I’ve also made an ironclad pledge to American families: We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” — February 4 State of the Union address
Van Jones and criminal justice reform
Trump told a story about CNN host Van Jones urging him to press for a criminal justice reform bill. Trump then said this: “So I got it done and about a week later I saw Van Jones making a speech. And he was thanking everybody. I call my wife; I say, ‘Darling, come. I’m so proud of this. Come in, I’m sure he’s going to say nice things.’ He never mentioned my name. ‘I want to thank the Reverend Al Sharpton.’ Al Sharpton? I didn’t even know he was involved. ‘I want to thank…’ — people that I never even heard of. He was thanking people — he never mentioned my name. So I had somebody call him and say, just — ‘You don’t have to do that, but — if it’s so tough. Not fair. But, you know, you should do it.’ He apologized. He said he made a mistake.” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Facts First: Jones said in October 2019, when Trump first uttered a version of this claim, that he has never made any such apology. He said it again this week: “Never happened,” he told us.
Jones has habitually given Trump credit for the First Step Act criminal justice reform law — including in a CNN appearance three weeks before Trump made the October claim, in which Jones said, “I think Trump has gotten too little credit for what he did on criminal justice reform.”
It’s worth noting that, in October, Trump said Jones’ offending comments had occurred “three weeks ago.” In the new version of the story, Trump put Jones’ comments much earlier — about a week after he signed the bill in December 2018.
Special elections in North Carolina
“We just won two seats in North Carolina — two wonderful seats in North Carolina that were not supposed to be won. But I went and I made speeches, and we had rallies, and we did a great job and we won. We took two seats. Nobody writes about that. If we lost them, it would have been the biggest story of the year.” — February 6 speech on Senate impeachment acquittal
Facts First: It’s not true that both seats were “not supposed to be won.” While the race in North Carolina’s 9th District was considered competitive by pollsters and pundits, the race in North Carolina’s 3rd District was widely expected to be won easily by the Republican candidate, Greg Murphy.
Murphy was running in a district formerly held by the late Republican Rep. Walter Jones, who ran unopposed by the Democrats in the 2018 election. Trump had won the district by about 24 points in 2016.
Dan Bishop’s margin of victory
“We did a little bit of a rally for two guys that are very special. One of them is Dan Bishop…He campaigned and he didn’t choke. There was no choke. He had a lot of pressure, but he ended up — won by like five or six points. Wasn’t — it was like boring that evening. You were winning by too much. I thought it was going to be a lot closer than that, right?” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Greg Murphy’s margin of victory
“And this guy — it was pretty even, and I think he won by 28 points, right? It was like — Greg Murphy.” — February 7 speech at North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit
Right to Try
The effort to pass Right to Try
Facts First: There had not been a 45-year or 50-year effort to get a federal Right to Try law, which aims to make it easier for terminally ill patients to access medications that have not been granted final approval. Trump signed the bill in 2018; similar laws have been passed at the state level only since 2014, after the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank, began pushing for them.
“I have no idea what ‘they’ve been trying to get’ for 44 years,” Alison Bateman-House, assistant professor of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Health, said in response to a previous version of Trump’s claim. “The Right to Try law was a creation of the Goldwater Institute, and it first became state law in 2014 (in Colorado), relatively soon after it was first conceived of.”
The situation before Right to Try
“You have people that are terminally ill. If they have money, they go to Asia, they go to Europe, they go all over the world looking for help. If they don’t have money, they go home and they die, and what we did is a thing called Right to Try. People sign something and they don’t hold the country responsible.” — January 28 campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey
Facts First: It is not true that terminally ill patients who did not have the money to travel would simply have to go home and die until Trump signed a Right to Try law in 2018.