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Fact-checking Trump’s massively dishonest weekend: The President made at least 66 false or misleading claims in three days

Trump has been reliably deceptive for his entire presidency, filling his speeches and tweets with lies and other false statements.

For fact checkers, the period from Friday through Sunday was one of the most challenging of Trump’s entire presidency: he made at least 66 separate false or misleading claims over that three-day span. In other words, it was 66 false or misleading claims without even counting all the times he repeated some of those same 66 claims over the course of the three days.

Still, though, this was an egregious stretch for the President, no matter how much he was talking. Here is a list of the false and misleading claims we counted:

Voting and the election

Mail-in ballots

In Georgia, Trump continued to suggest that mail-in voting was rife with fraud, saying that “unsolicited” ballots — where states send a ballot to every eligible registered voter — are a “big con job.”

Facts First: “Unsolicited” ballots are not a “con job.” Fraud is exceedingly rare in US elections — whether with in-person voting, mail voting in states where voters have to request ballots or mail voting in states where all eligible registered voters are sent ballots without having to make requests.

Voters in nine states and the District of Columbia are being sent mail ballots this year without needing to request them. However, five of those states — Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Hawaii and Washington — have held their elections primarily by mail since before the pandemic, and there has not been any significant incidence of fraud.

Ballots and a river

As supposed proof of his allegations about mail-in voting, Trump said in Michigan, “Did you see they found 50,000 ballots in like a river?”

Facts First: This is totally baseless. We could not find any examples of 2020 general election ballots being found in a river, let alone “50,000” of them. (Trump has previously claimed that ballots were found in rivers without saying it was “50,000.”)

Ballots and Virginia

After he baselessly alleged in Georgia that ballots were found in a river, Trump said, “They find ’em — I think 500,000 ballots in Virginia.”

Facts First: Trump was wrongly describing what happened in Virginia. About 500,000 voters were sent inaccurate absentee ballot applications — not ballots themselves — by a non-profit group that aimed to promote voting. One of the main errors was that many of the return envelopes the group included in the mailing had incorrect addresses; for example, voters in Fairfax County were sent return envelopes with the address of the election office in the city of Fairfax.

This was a significant error, but it was not fraud, and it did not affect ballots themselves. Virginia authorities said they would make sure that the correct office received any applications sent to an incorrect office.

Ballots in a New York primary

Trump claimed in Georgia that there were “ballot schemes” in a New York Democratic congressional primary involving Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

Facts First: This is false. There has been no evidence to date of fraud or any “ballot schemes” in this primary in New York’s 12th District. There was a legal dispute about the fact that a large number of ballots were rejected for non-fraud reasons. And while the ballot-counting was slow because the state has had administrative problems — ranging from insufficient staffing to outdated technology — in trying to count a much larger than usual number of absentee votes, a slow count is not evidence of anything nefarious.

The candidate Maloney defeated, Suraj Patel, tweeted after Trump made a previous version of this claim that “Trump lied about what happened here,” saying that the issue in the race was “disenfranchisement” of voters whose ballots had been rejected, “not voter fraud.”

Supposed voter fraud in California

Trump told a story in Michigan that suggested ballots were being cast in California in the name of dead people. He added, “You have plenty of them in Los Angeles, you know, they had many people, they were over a hundred years old. Every one of ’em voted for years. Then they got to be 110, they kept voting and then people said, ‘Well this is getting to be like record territory, you know.’ When you have hundreds of them voting, nah, it’s a lot of corrupt stuff going on…”

Facts First: This story is inaccurate; there is no evidence of mass fraud in Los Angeles or anywhere else involving people casting ballots in the name of dead people. While some people do remain on the voter rolls for some time after they die, that is not evidence of fraud.
Trump has made repeated false assertions about supposed fraudulent voting in California, citing a legal settlement between a conservative group, the state and Los Angeles County. But that settlement isn’t about voter fraud at all; rather, it is simply an agreement to remove inactive voters from the rolls.

Michigan’s governor and ballots

Trump, continuing to baselessly warn about election fraud, told voters in Michigan to “be careful” of Michigan’s Democratic governor and attorney general, “because you know, they’re like in charge of the ballot stuff. Right? So how the hell do I put my political and our country’s political life in the hands of a pure partisan like that, right.”

Facts First: Michigan’s secretary of state, not its governor and attorney general, is in charge of the election there.

“Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson here. I’m like, in charge of the ballot stuff,” Benson, also a Democrat, tweeted in response to Trump’s claim, adding a hand-wave emoji as if to say hello to Trump. “Along with 1600 clerks. We work to ensure that every voter can trust that their vote will count. Judging from the fact that 1.5mil+ have already voted, I’d say we’re doing a good job.”

Presidential history in Michigan

Trump said in both Michigan and Georgia that, prior to 2016, no Republican presidential candidate had won Michigan in “38 years.” (At his rally in Michigan, he said it was “like 38 years or something,” conveying some uncertainty.)

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating or just mistaken. He was the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan since George H.W. Bush in 1988 — 28 years prior, not 38.

The coronavirus pandemic

The state of the pandemic

Trump claimed in Florida, “Even without the vaccine, the pandemic’s going to end. It’s gonna run its course. It’s gonna end. They’ll go crazy. He said ‘without the vaccine’ — watch, it’ll be a headline tomorrow. These people are crazy. No, it’s running its course. We’re rounding the turn. You see the numbers, and we’re rounding the turn.”

Facts First: The numbers — newly confirmed cases, hospitalizations, the test positivity rate — were all getting worse, not better, at the time Trump spoke. There was no basis for his vague claim that we were “rounding the turn.”

Cases and testing

Trump tweeted that “The United States shows more CASES than other countries, which the Lamestream Fake News Media pounces on daily, because it TESTS at such a high (and costly) level.” He added, “The more you TEST, the more CASES you will be reporting. Very simple!”
Facts First: The US is indeed doing a lot of coronavirus testing, but it’s not true that the US is only seeing an increase in cases, or is reporting more cases than other countries, because of this testing. (Trump also used this refrain during previous spikes in the number of cases; it was also false then.)
While the number of daily tests has been rising, there is no doubt there has been an increase in the actual spread of the virus, not just that more cases are being captured. One telltale sign: hospitalizations are also rising, sharply in some states. Also, again, the percentage of US tests coming back positive has also been rising since late September.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served under Trump as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, noted on Twitter that demand for tests rises as more people experience symptoms of the virus: “Most tests are people with symptoms or those exposed to sick contacts. As the epidemic worsens, demand for tests will rise.”

Trump’s crowds and masks

Challenged in a Wisconsin television interview about his decision to hold rallies during a spike in coronavirus cases, Trump noted that the events are outdoors, then claimed the crowds at his three events the day prior “largely” wore masks.

Facts First: It’s just not true that Trump’s events the day prior — one in Georgia and two in Florida — were “largely” masked, as Trump claimed. And one of the Florida events, a speech to seniors, was indoors.

While there were a substantial number of people wearing masks at the seniors event, a clear majority of attendees at his rally speeches in Macon, Georgia, and Ocala, Florida, were not masked, according to CNN reporters on the scene and images of the events.

Pandemic deaths

At his events in Michigan, Georgia and Florida, and in the Wisconsin interview, Trump claimed that there were “supposed” to be 2.2 million US deaths from the pandemic or that this is the number the US was “expected” to lose.

Facts First: Trump was wrongly describing this 2.2 million statistic.

Trump was likely citing a report published in March by scholars from the Imperial College in London that predicted that a total of 2.2 million Americans could die from Covid-19 if no preventative measures were taken by any US government or individual to try to stop the spread of the virus.

In other words, this figure was an extreme-worst-case scenario if the authorities did absolutely nothing to address the virus, not an expectation.

China and the virus

Trump claimed in Wisconsin that China stopped the coronavirus “from going into China, but they didn’t stop it from going to the rest of the world, including our country, Europe, the rest of the world.”

Facts First: Every region of China had confirmed cases of the coronavirus by late January. China did take strict measures to slow the domestic spread, but it did not limit the virus to Wuhan, where it originated.

Trump’s travel restrictions on China and Europe

Trump said in Nevada and Georgia that he put a travel “ban” on China.

Facts First: False; Trump was exaggerating. While Trump did restrict travel from China, his policy was not an actual “ban”: it made exemptions for travel by US citizens, permanent residents, many of the family members of both groups and some others.
The New York Times reported April 4 that nearly 40,000 people had flown to the US from China since the restrictions went into effect in early February.

The pandemic and jobs

Trump boasted in Florida: “Since the China virus, we have created — a record in the history of our country — 11.4 million jobs over just a short period of months.”

Facts First: This is misleading. While it’s true that the 11.4 million jobs added over five months is a record, Trump left out the fact that there was a much larger record loss of about 22.2 million jobs over two months. In other words, as of August, the country was still down more than 10.7 million jobs since March. (And as of September, the economy was down about 3.9 million jobs since the beginning of Trump’s presidency.)
Also, many of the 11.4 million jobs “added” since May simply represent people returning to their previous jobs, from which they had been temporarily laid off. And the pace of the jobs recovery slowed significantly in September, with 661,000 jobs added — down from about 1.5 million in August.

Economic records

Trump claimed in Georgia: “We’re now setting records for employment, unemployment. We’re setting all sorts of records economically.”

Facts First: It’s also misleading to claim that we are setting unemployment “records.” While there has been a massive drop in the unemployment rate since its pandemic-era peak of 14.7% in April, it was still 7.9% in September — the highest level in eight years and more than double the rate in February, when it was 3.5%.

Biden’s proposals, positions and past

Biden and charter schools

Trump claimed in Georgia that Biden has “vowed” to ban charter schools and in Michigan that he supports “abolishing” them.

Facts First: This is wrong. Biden has not vowed to ban charter schools or expressed support for abolishing them. Rather, a task force appointed by Biden and his former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, proposed to ban for-profit charter schools in particular — a small minority of charter schools, no matter how you define “for-profit” — from receiving federal funding. The task force took a skeptical approach to charters more broadly, but it did not propose anything close to a complete ban.
Trump’s campaign has seized on a clip of Biden saying in December that if he is elected, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s “whole notion” of dealing with charter schools is “gone.” But saying DeVos’ approach is gone is much different than saying charter schools themselves are gone.

Biden and pre-existing conditions

Trump kept repeating his refrain that Biden’s plan would “destroy protections for pre-existing conditions” while he, Trump, will “always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”
Facts First: This is not only false but a complete reversal of each of their actions. The protections for people with pre-existing conditions were created by the Obama administration in which Biden served as vice president — as part of Obamacare, the 2010 law Biden has vowed to preserve and strengthen if elected. Trump, conversely, has tried repeatedly to get bills passed that would have weakened these protections. He is now trying to get the entirety of Obamacare struck down by the courts.

Biden and the timber industry

Trump said in Wisconsin: “If Joe Biden gets in, the radical left will shut down Wisconsin timber production forever. You know, they don’t want to let you touch a tree. If you happen to touch a tree, they want to put you in jail for the rest of your life.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are baseless. Biden is not proposing to ban the timber industry or to jail people for touching a tree. Biden’s environmental platform says he will work to “enhance reforestation” and to establish an Americas-wide “framework to limit greenhouse gas emissions related to land use, forests, and agriculture.”

Biden and borders

Trump claimed over and over that Biden and his allies on the left want to “dissolve your borders.”

Facts First: This is false. Biden does not support the complete abolition of US borders, nor does he support completely unrestricted migration.

While Biden has proposed a liberalization of immigration policy, including a moratorium on most deportations for his first 100 days in office and taking in more refugees, he is not proposing to allow people to walk across the borders unfettered. His immigration plan says, “Like every nation, the U.S. has a right and a duty to secure our borders and protect our people against threats.” In 2019, Biden explicitly opposed Democratic opponents’ proposals to decriminalize the act of crossing the border illegally, saying, “It’s a crime.”

Biden, Democrats and suburbs

Trump said Biden and his allies on the left want to “destroy your suburbs.” He also claimed that he “saved” the suburbs by abandoning an Obama-era anti-segregation rule.

Facts First: This is baseless. The Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is an update to a decades-old federal requirement aimed to eliminate discrimination and combat segregation in housing. It does not mandate low-income housing to be built in suburban areas, as Trump has repeatedly suggested, and Biden would not “destroy” suburbs by reinstating the rule. You can read a longer fact check here about the rule.

Biden and the prosecutor

In Michigan, Trump revived a previous false description of Biden’s efforts as vice president to pressure Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely seen as corrupt.

“…How ’bout this quid pro quo? ‘We’re not gonna give you the billion dollars unless you get rid of the prosecutor, get rid of him out of that company,’ which is his son. ‘Stop investigating my son and stop investigating, or I’m not giving you the billion dollars of our money,'” Trump said.

Facts First: This is not what happened; there is no evidence Biden ever sought to get Ukraine to stop investigating his son — in fact, there is no evidence Hunter Biden was even under investigation in Ukraine — or to stop any investigation. Rather, Joe Biden has openly discussed how he attempted, in accordance with US and EU policy, to pressure Ukraine to fire Shokin.

It’s not clear how hard Shokin was investigating even Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of the gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served, at the time of Joe Biden’s pressure. Shokin’s former deputy has said that the probe was dormant at the time, in 2015 and 2016, and the US ambassador to Ukraine had specifically denounced “corrupt actors” in Shokin’s office for impeding investigation into Zlochevsky. You can read a longer fact check here.

Biden and health care

Trump claimed in Nevada that Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris “want to wipe out the 180 million plans” of people with private health insurance, citing the fact that Harris co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” bill in the Senate.

Facts First: This is false. Biden himself has been a vocal opponent of the “Medicare for All” single-payer proposal Sanders is known for, which would eliminate most private insurance plans. In fact, Biden and Sanders clashed on the issue during the Democratic primary.

It’s possible that, over time, a popular public option would affect private insurers’ willingness to offer some private plans. But Trump is suggesting Biden is actively proposing to wipe out private insurance, and that’s not the case at all.

Trump was right that Harris co-sponsored the Sanders bill. During her unsuccessful 2019 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, however, Harris introduced her own plan that significantly differed from the Sanders bill; it proposed to retain a significant role for private insurance. Sanders’ campaign sharply criticized the Harris plan.

Biden, health care and undocumented immigrants

Trump claimed in Georgia that Biden is pledging “free health care for illegal aliens,” saying it was unwise to declare, “Come in, you’re gonna get free health care.”

Facts First: This is false. Biden’s plan would allow undocumented immigrants to sign up for coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, including the government-run public option that he would institute. But they would not be eligible for federal premium subsidies paid for by taxpayers.

Biden is proposing to give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship; as citizens, they would be eligible for the same care as everyone else. But people would not get free health care immediately upon entering the country, as Trump suggested.

Biden and riots

Trump claimed in Wisconsin, “For the entire summer Biden was silent as radicals, anarchists, arsonists and vandals rampaged through Democrat-run cities in Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Portland, and other places…”

Facts First: This is false. Biden repeatedly condemned protest violence in both the spring and summer — in tweets, written statements and public remarks.

Biden’s descriptions of rioters

Trump claimed in Wisconsin that Biden was not only silent on “anarchists, arsonists and vandals” rampaged through cities but that “Biden called them peaceful protesters.”

Facts First: This is false. Biden has correctly noted that many protesters have been peaceful; he has not argued that the violent protesters are peaceful. Rather, he has repeatedly denounced violence, rioting and looting. You can read more here.

Biden and the phrase “law and order”

Trump repeated a story about how Biden had supposedly refused, at their first debate, to say the words “law and order.”

“He didn’t want to say it. I said, ‘Joe just say the words ‘law and order. That’s not hard. Joe, law and order.’ He couldn’t say it, he wouldn’t say it. Then he tried — I think he said ‘law and order and safety and security,'” he said in Georgia.

Facts First: Trump was wrong that Biden refused to say the words “law and order” — and wrong about the words Biden uttered after he did say “law and order.” Biden said at the debate that “everybody’s in favor of law and order.” He then added, “Law and order with justice, where people get treated fairly.”

Trump is free to argue that Biden adding “with justice” renders the words “law and order” meaningless. But it’s just false to suggest that Biden refused say the words “law and order” at all.

Biden and lockdowns

Trump claimed in Wisconsin that “Joe Biden would terminate our recovery with a draconian unscientific lockdown.”

Facts First: This claim takes Biden’s comments out of context. Biden said in an August interview with ABC that he would shut down the country if scientists told him it was necessary — but he has not himself advocated a shutdown or introduced a shutdown plan.
Additionally, he clarified his comments after the interview, saying in September, “There is going to be no need, in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy.”

It’s also worth noting that presidents themselves cannot shut down the country. The pandemic restrictions governing people’s movements and the operations of businesses and other entities have been imposed by state and local officials, not Trump.

You can read a longer fact check here.

Biden and the law

In Michigan, Trump said of Biden: “He’s a criminal. He’s committed crimes.”

Facts First: This is baseless. Trump has presented no evidence that Biden committed crimes.

Biden and defunding the police

In Nevada, Trump described the choice between himself and Biden as a choice between “supporting the police or defunding the police.”

Facts First: Biden explicitly opposes the idea of defunding the police. Biden told CBS in June, “No, I don’t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.” He has continued to make such comments since. And his published criminal justice plan called for a $300 million investment in community policing efforts — including the hiring of more officers.
Trump’s campaign has seized on a single comment Biden made to a progressive activist in a July video chat. In that conversation, Biden repeated his opposition to defunding police. When pressed, he did say he “absolutely” agrees that some funding can be redirected to social services, mental health counseling and affordable housing, but he immediately transitioned to his previous proposal to deny federal funding to specific police departments that do not meet certain standards. Biden said in early June that decisions about funding levels should be made by local communities, since some have too many officers but some don’t have enough.

Biden and dismantling police departments

Trump repeatedly warned that, if Biden is elected, he and his left-wing allies will “dismantle your police departments.”

Facts First: This is, again, baseless. The federal government is not in charge of the size or structure of local police departments, and Biden, who has repeatedly said he opposes the “defund the police” movement, is proposing a $300 million increase in federal funding for community policing programs.

Biden, police and “the enemy”

Trump claimed in Wisconsin, “Biden referred to police as the enemy. He just referred — ‘the enemy,’ quote, quote, ‘the enemy.'”

Facts First: This is misleading. When Biden made this remark in July, he was speaking specifically about residents’ perceptions of police who enter communities in armored military vehicles — saying that this looks like “the military invading” and makes police “become the enemy.” He wasn’t making a declaration about his own view of police officers.
You can read a longer fact check here.

Biden and guns

Trump said in Wisconsin that Biden’s plan includes “disarming law-abiding citizens, namely taking away your Second Amendment.”

Facts First: This is a misleading exaggeration, though there is some factual basis for the claim.

Biden tweeted in September, “We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” He has also expressed a desire to generally get assault weapons off the street. And he supports “red flag” laws that allow the courts to order the temporary removal of guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others. However, Biden is not proposing any widespread gun confiscation or a ban on the actual possession of assault weapons, let alone eliminating the Second Amendment, according to his written campaign platform and a campaign official.
Biden, who has said he does not know of a legal way to take back guns people have legally purchased, is running on a ban only on the sale and manufacture of additional assault weapons. Under his plan, the weapons currently in people’s possession could be sold to the government or registered with the government.
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights supporters have noted a comment Biden made on CNN in an August 2019 interview with Anderson Cooper. When Cooper mentioned gun owners who think “a Biden administration means they’re gonna come for my guns,” Biden said, “Bingo, you’re right, if you have an assault weapon. The fact of the matter is they should be illegal, period.”

But Biden went on to say his buyback program does not mean “walking into their homes, knocking on their doors, going through their gun cabinets, etc.,” since “right now, there’s no legal way” to deny people the right to keep guns they have bought legally.

Biden and taxes

Trump repeated over and over that Biden will “quadruple” people’s taxes.

Facts First: This is false. Biden’s plan would increase taxes for people making more than $400,000 per year. He has promised not to directly raise taxes for those making less than that.

Higher-income Americans would bear the brunt of the tax hikes proposed by Biden, according to analyses from left-leaning Tax Policy Center, the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

But even the wealthiest Americans would not see their taxes quadruple. For example, the Penn Wharton Budget Model found that the top 0.1% would see an increase of up to 12.4 percentage points on average when including both the individual and the corporate tax changes proposed by Biden.

Biden’s news conferences

Trump claimed in Michigan that Biden receives questions in advance at his news conferences: “How ’bout his — how ’bout his news conferences where the fake news media gives him the questions and the answers — they say what do you think about this or that? And then he reads the answer.”

Facts First: There is no evidence whatsoever that Biden has been given news conference questions in advance. Trump has previously made this allegation about a particular press conference at which Biden was not given questions in advance, according to CNN’s Arlette Saenz, who was in the room, and other reporters present.

Biden and the wall

Trump claimed in Michigan: “Biden wants to knock down the wall, that’s what we hear. They said, ‘Do you wanna knock down the wall?’ I don’t think he even knew what the hell they were askin’ him, yeah. Doesn’t matter what he wants, it’s what his handlers want.”

Facts First: This is false. Biden has explicitly rejected the idea of tearing down the border wall. Rather, Biden has promised to halt additional construction of the wall.

Trump’s record

Trump and Christmas

In Nevada, Trump told his familiar story about how department stores used to avoid the word “Christmas” to be “politically correct,” but “now they’re all saying Merry Christmas again.”

Facts First: There is no evidence that all stores that declined to use the phrase “Merry Christmas” before Trump’s presidency have changed their policies.

It’s hard to measure this stuff, but one metric is the socially conservative American Family Association’s annual list of retailers that it considers “naughty” or “nice” when it comes to its willingness to use the word “Christmas” in promotional materials. Not one of the 17 “naughty” companies the AFA listed in a press release in December 2015, the year Trump launched his presidential campaign, had been promoted to “nice” on the 2019 list, though two had moved from “naughty” to “marginal.”

The cost of the embassy in Jerusalem

In Georgia, Trump repeated his familiar story about how he managed to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for “under $500,000.”

Facts First: This is false. The State Department awarded a $21.2 million contract in 2018 for a company to design and build “compound security upgrades” related to Trump’s decision to turn the existing facility into an embassy.

While the initial modification that allowed the building to open as an embassy cost just under $400,000, that was not the final total.

A supposed award in Michigan

Trump asked his rally crowd in Michigan if they remembered how “12 years ago or so, I got Man of the Year in Michigan.”

Facts First: This is among the more ridiculous false claims Trump has continued to make over the years. Trump, who has never lived in Michigan, has never provided any evidence that he has been named “Man of the Year” by any Michigan organization, let alone by the state itself. (There is no evidence the state even had a “Man of the Year” award.)

A former Republican congressman from Michigan, Dave Trott, has told us that he thinks Trump is exaggerating what happened at a 2013 Republican dinner in the state where Trump gave a speech like the one he describes in his “Man of the Year” stories — after which Trott presented Trump with thank-you gifts but no “man of the year” honor. You can read more here.

Minnesota and the National Guard

In Michigan, Trump took credit once more for the National Guard quelling unrest in Minnesota following the killing of George Floyd: “We saved it. We sent in the National Guard. We saved it.”

Facts First: This is false. Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, was the one who activated the Guard — and Walz, a Guard veteran, did so two days after the violent protests began, more than seven hours before Trump publicly threatened to deploy the Guard himself.

You can read a longer fact check here.

When Minnesota activated the Guard

Trump also suggested in Michigan that Minnesota was very late activating the Guard, saying, “They coulda called about two weeks earlier, right?”

Facts First: Trump’s timeline does not make sense. Walz activated the Guard two days, not two weeks, after the first protest violence; “two weeks earlier” would have been before Floyd’s death. You can read a full timeline here.


In Michigan, Florida and Georgia, Trump repeated his story about how an “overrated” general, whom he has previously identified as James Mattis, told him upon his inauguration that “Sir, we have no ammunition.”

Facts First: While we don’t know what a general might have told Trump in private, it’s not true that the US had “no ammunition” when Trump took office. According to military leaders, there was a shortfall in certain kinds of munitions, particularly precision-guided bombs, late in the Obama presidency and early in the Trump presidency; military leaders did not say that they had completely run out of any kind of bomb, let alone ammunition in general.

You can read a full fact check of Trump’s claims about munitions levels here.

Penalties for damaging monuments

Trump again claimed that he signed a bill to impose harsh penalties on people who destroy statues.

“But now they’re not doing it too much, ’cause I signed into law, I signed a bill that gives you 10 years in jail if you rip down any federal statue,” he said in Michigan.

Facts First: This is false. Trump did not sign any bill related to people who destroy monuments. Rather, he simply issued an executive order that directed the attorney general to enforce existing laws. And while the existing laws provide for a maximum 10 years in prison, that is not an automatic penalty.

Trump issued the executive order on June 26. Among other things, it directs the attorney general to “prioritize” investigating and prosecuting certain cases of vandalism — especially of monuments and memorials of US veterans — in accordance with “applicable law,” and to prosecute monument vandals “to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law.”

One of the laws cited in the order is about the “destruction of government property,” which carries a potential “fine of up to $250,000, ten years imprisonment, or both” if the purposeful damage to government property exceeds $100. The law has been around since 1964.

Mexico and the border wall

Trump claimed again, over and over, that “Mexico is paying for the wall.”

Facts First: This is a lie. Mexico hasn’t contributed any money toward the construction of the border wall. The wall is being funded by the US government.

You can read a longer fact check here.

Highway approval times

Trump claimed in Wisconsin that “it used to take 18 to 21 years” to get a highway approved through the federal environmental process. (In Florida, he said, “You know it used to take 18, 17, 20, 21 — it would take years and years, 21 years to get a highway approved.”)

Facts First: There is no apparent basis for the claim that the federal environmental approval process for highways used to take this many years.

“I’ve never heard of a 20-year NEPA approval process. That’s not to say there’s never been one, but if so it would be an extremely rare outlier, not the norm,” said Brad Karkkainen, a University of Minnesota law professor and expert on environmental and land use law. “I have heard of the approval process for some unusually complex projects taking up to 10 years, but even that hasn’t happened more than once or twice to my knowledge.”

The Federal Highway Administration says on its website that the median completion time for the NEPA process was 44 months in 2016 and 46 months in 2019.

Great Lakes restoration funding

Trump boasted in Michigan that “we got $900 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, all done, it’s all done.”

Facts First: This is highly misleading. While this figure is correct if you add up Trump’s first three budgets, Trump’s was leaving out a key part of the story: he proposed major cuts to the program all three years; Congress decided to ignore him and fully fund the program at the $300 million per year level it had been at since the middle of Obama’s second term. It is only for the 2021 budget that Trump has proposed an increase in funding for the program.

The Trump tax cut

Trump claimed in Wisconsin: “We gave the greatest — the biggest tax cut in history…”

Facts First: This is false. There have been bigger US tax cuts when measured both in inflation-adjusted dollars or as a share of the economy.

Tax cuts in 1981, 2010, and 2013 were larger, both in inflation-adjusted dollars or as a share of the economy. As a share of the economy, there were even others that were bigger, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a think tank focused on fiscal policies.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017 under Trump, provided for cuts that are among the largest in nominal terms, but even then they are still smaller than tax cuts passed at the beginning of 2013.

Veterans Choice

In Georgia and in his speech to Florida seniors, Trump repeated his familiar lie that he is the one who got the Veterans Choice program passed.
Facts First: This is false. The Veterans Choice bill, a bipartisan initiative led by Sens. Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, was signed into law by Obama in 2014.

In 2018, Trump signed the VA MISSION Act, which expanded and changed the Choice program.

Trump and Lincoln

In Wisconsin, Trump repeated his claim that he has done more for the Black community “than any President with the exception of Abraham Lincoln. It’s true. It’s true.”

Facts First: It’s not true. We don’t usually fact check opinions, but this one is just false. President Lyndon B. Johnson, for example, signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, monumental bills whose impact dwarfed the impact of any legislation Trump has signed.

It’s also worth mentioning that Black people themselves do not, on the whole, agree with Trump’s self-assessment. Trump has had a consistently abysmal approval rating with Black citizens — just 16% among Black likely voters in one recent Quinnipiac University poll, for example, versus 82% disapproval.


Hillary Clinton and trade with South Korea

In Michigan, Trump repeated a story about how Hillary Clinton had supposedly said of a trade agreement with South Korea: “This deal is great, it’s gonna produce 250,000 jobs.” (He then proceeded to his punch line about how the deal produced 250,000 jobs for South Korea, not the US.)

Facts First: There is no record of Clinton projecting an increase of 250,000 jobs because of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). President Barack Obama said the deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.”

Obama said in 2009 that increasing the US share of trade with Asia from 9% to 10% “could mean 250,000, 300,000 jobs,” but he was not specifically attributing that estimate to the potential effects of a trade deal with South Korea. Republican Rep. Kevin Brady later used an estimate of “about 250,000 new jobs” from trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama combined, not just the one with South Korea.

The money in the Iran deal

Trump kept repeating his claim that the Obama administration had given Iran $150 billion as part of their nuclear agreement.
Facts First: The money released to Iran as part of the nuclear agreement was Iranian money frozen in foreign financial institutions because of sanctions, not US government money — and experts say the total was significantly lower than $150 billion. You can read a fuller fact check here.

Democrats and borders

Trump said in Nevada of Democrats generally: “They want open borders.”

Facts First: This is false; Democratic leaders do not support completely unrestricted migration. Though the Democratic majority in the House opposes Trump’s signature proposal for a border wall, congressional Democrats have long supported other border security measures.

Michelle Obama and Georgia

Boasting in Georgia about Gov. Brian Kemp’s victory in the 2018 midterms, Trump claimed that in that race, “We had Barack Obama, Michelle Obama — they practically lived in Georgia, and all Brian had was Trump, and Brian won fairly easily.”

Facts First: Former First Lady Michelle Obama did not visit Georgia at all to campaign for Kemp’s opponent in the 2018 race for governor, Stacey Abrams (nor, of course, to campaign in the Republican primary). Former President Barack Obama did speak at an Abrams event in the final days of the campaign, but saying he “practically lived in Georgia” is an exaggeration.

The Clinton campaign and Michigan

Trump said in Michigan that, on the night before the 2016 election, there was an unexpected campaign trip to Michigan by “Barack Hussein Obama, Michelle Obama, Oprah and Hillary.” (He then joked, “They actually forgot about Hillary.”)

Facts First: While Clinton and Obama did go to Michigan for campaign events on the last day of the campaign in 2016, neither Michelle Obama nor Oprah Winfrey did so. (Michelle Obama joined Barack Obama and Clinton at a nighttime rally in Philadelphia.)

Clinton’s rally size

Trump claimed in Michigan that, at Clinton’s final rally in Michigan in 2016, a mere “500 people showed up.”

Facts First: Trump’s figure was not even close. Clinton had a capacity crowd of more than 4,000 people for her rally at Grand Valley State University, according to local media reports at the time. Grand Rapids’ Wood TV8 reported: “In addition to the about 4,600 inside the Fieldhouse for Clinton’s speech, there was an overflow crowd of several hundred more outside. People lined up hours beforehand to attend Clinton’s 4 p.m. rally.”

“Acid washed” emails

Trump claimed in Nevada that Hillary Clinton not only deleted but “acid washed” emails.

Facts First: False. “Acid washed” emails are not a real thing. What actually happened is that a company working for Clinton deleted some emails in 2015 using a free software program called BleachBit; Trump has, for years now, turned “bleach” into “acid.”

The name of the Democratic Party

In Wisconsin, Trump repeated a bizarre claim about how the Democratic Party’s official name is actually the Democrat Party.

“I always say ‘Democrat.’ Do you know why? Because it sounds worse. They should actually change the name to the Democratic — ‘Democrat’ sounds lousy, but you know what, that’s actually their name, the Democrat Party, right? The Democrat Party. So I always say Democrat. They say ‘Democratic.’ I say, why don’t you try changing your name officially?”

Facts First: The party is already named the Democratic Party. (We realize this is a strange-sounding fact check, but Trump has repeatedly insisted that the actual name is the Democrat Party, so we thought it was worth setting the record straight.)

Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign

Trump criticized a tweet by Tim O’Brien, who worked on Michael Bloomberg’s unsuccessful presidential campaign. Trump tweeted, “By the way, is this the same job hopping Tim O’Brien that headed Mini Mike Bloomberg’s humiliating 2 Billion Dollar Presidential run?”
Facts First: O’Brien, who is also the author of a book on Trump, did not “head” Bloomberg’s campaign; he was a senior adviser to Bloomberg but not the campaign manager. And Bloomberg spent just over $1 billion on the campaign — a whole lot, but not $2 billion.


China and the World Trade Organization

Trump claimed in Florida that, before China entered the World Trade Organization, “China was flat-lining” economically.

Facts First: This is false; China had experienced significant growth for years prior to joining the WTO in late 2001. According to World Bank figures, China grew by 7.7% in 1999, 8.5% in 2000 and 8.3% in 2001. It then grew by 9.1% in 2002, 10.0% in 2003 and 10.1% in 2004. Its post-WTO growth peaked at 14.2% in 2007 — almost identical to its growth in 1992. Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics wrote in 2008: “China has been the fastest growing economy in the world over almost three decades, expanding at 10 per cent per year in real terms.”

In an email to CNN in July 2019, when Trump made another version of this comment, Lardy said, “Uninformed would be the best characterization of the President’s comment.”

China and tariffs

In Wisconsin, Trump again claimed that China is “paying us billions and billions of dollars a year” in tariffs.

Facts First: Trump’s claim about who is paying the tariff money is false. Study after study has found that Americans are bearing the cost of Trump’s tariffs on imported Chinese products. And American importers, not Chinese exporters, make the actual tariff payments to the US government.

The history of tariffs on China

Trump also claimed in Wisconsin that before he put tariffs on China, “They never paid us 10 cents.”

Facts First: Again, it’s not true that China is paying the tariffs; Americans are — and Trump’s claim that the Treasury has never received “10 cents” from tariffs on China is also false. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries; Obama imposed new tariffs on China; reported that the US generated an “average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb.”
China also made tens of billions of annual purchases of US exports under Obama — more than $100 billion in goods purchases every year from 2011 through 2016.”

Japan’s prime minister and auto companies

Trump told a story in Michigan about a supposed conversation “six months ago” with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which he told Abe to “get” Japanese auto companies to build more US factories, Abe said this was a matter for the companies, Trump pressed him, Abe said, “Well, we will look in to it” and “the next day they announced five factories coming in.”

Facts First: We have no idea what Trump and Abe said to each other, but the punch line of this story is false. There was no day — six months ago or at any point during Trump’s term — when five Japanese auto companies announced US factories.

Kristin Dziczek, vice president for industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan, said that there has only been one new Japanese auto assembly plant in the US under Trump, a Toyota-Mazda joint venture in Alabama.

The history of auto plants in Michigan

Trump claimed at separate events that, before him, Michigan didn’t have an auto plant built for 40 years, 42 years and 44 years.

Facts First: All of these figures are wrong. Dziczek noted that General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township plant opened in 2006.

Stock ownership

Trump said in Wisconsin, “Everyone thinks stocks, oh, it’s rich people. Everybody owns stocks.”

Facts First: This is misleading. Trump could fairly point out that it’s not just the super-wealthy who own stocks, but it’s also not true that stocks are owned by “everybody.” In polling from March and April, Gallup found that 55% of American adults reported owning stock this year, the same percentage as last year. And wealthy people have long owned far more stock than people in lower income groups.


Trump claimed in Michigan, “I ended the NAFTA nightmare and signed the brand new US Mexico Canada Agreement into law…”

Facts First: This is misleading. While Trump did renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, the agreement they made, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, retains most of NAFTA’s contents. “NAFTA was like a 25 year-old house that needed updating and refreshing: USMCA makes it look new and improved (for the most part), but the fundamental structure still is NAFTA,” said Robert Fisher, who was a US negotiator for the original NAFTA and is now managing director of the consulting firm Hills and Company.

“USMCA did not replace NAFTA, but rather built on NAFTA’s foundation. In areas such as tariff elimination on agricultural and industrial goods, the opening of services markets, removing non-tariff trade barriers such as unfair product standards, and protection of intellectual property and investment, USMCA remains largely NAFTA. USMCA brought needed updates in areas such as digital trade, labor and the environment,” Fisher said. (He added that, in his view, it also “took a few questionable steps,” such as sunset clauses.)


Savannah Guthrie

In Florida and Wisconsin, Trump criticized NBC’s Savannah Guthrie for her performance in moderating a televised town hall with him on Thursday night — then claimed that Guthrie had since vanished.

“She’s like disappeared. Nobody can find her,” he said in Florida. “In fact, nobody’s seen Savannah for two days. What happened to Savannah?” he said in Wisconsin.

Facts First: Trump’s claims were false; Guthrie has not disappeared. She co-hosted NBC’s “Today” show as usual on Friday morning.

A Trump claim about undocumented immigrants

In Michigan, Trump repeated his story about how he told a joke about Democrats wanting to give undocumented immigrants a free Rolls-Royce and then CNN said he “lied” about this, not understanding that he was “kidding.”

Facts First: That is not 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 even in that second speech, but what he was challenged on by fact checkers was the new assertion of fact.

Here’s what he said in Nevada in 2018: “They want to open your borders, let people in, illegally. And then they want to pay for those people for health care, for education. They want to give them cars, they want to give them driver’s licenses. I said last night, we did a great — we did a great, great rally in Arizona last night, and I said — I said last night, what kind of car will they supply them? Will it be a Rolls-Royce?”

CNN’s Tami Luhby, Holmes Lybrand, Tara Subramaniam and Katie Lobosco contributed to this article.


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