In the most predictable news ever, the fact checkers are having a ball looking at the staggering number of claims made by Donald Trump in his announcement. As Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post put it, “Donald Trump is a fact checker’s dream … and nightmare.” Factcheck hits the highlights:
Real estate developer Donald Trump’s speech announcing he is running for the Republican nomination for president contained a number of false and misleading statements on the economy, trade, health care and terrorism:
- Trump claimed that economic growth has “never” been below zero until last quarter’s drop, which is far from true. It has been below zero 42 times since 1946.
- He said “there are no jobs” to be had. In fact, there were 5.4 million job openings recorded at the end of April, the most in 15 years.
- He said the “real” unemployment rate is “anywhere from 18 to 20 percent” and “maybe even 21 percent.” We see no factual basis for this opinion.
- He boasted he would have blocked new Ford plants in Mexico by threatening to impose a 35 percent tax on vehicles and parts made in Mexico and shipped to the U.S. But only Congress can impose taxes and such a tax would violate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- Trump claimed the five Taliban leaders exchanged for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us.” But all five remain in Qatar, where they continue to be monitored and are subject to a travel ban, according to the State Department.
- He also made the misleading claim that health care premium costs are going “up 29, 39, 49 and even 55 percent.” He’s talking about some proposed rate increases on the individual market that still need regulatory approval. There are also proposed rate decreases or single-digit increases that did not have to be submitted for review.
Kessler notes another weird claim:
“Islamic terrorism is eating up large portions of the Middle East. They’ve become rich. I’m in competition with them. They just built a hotel in Syria. Can you believe this? They built a hotel.”
This curious statement appears to be based on unconfirmed reports that the Islamic State is operating a luxury hotel in Mosul, Iraq. There are images and articles of the multi-story hotel apparently circulating on social media accounts affiliated with the group. But even if this report were confirmed, it is difficult to imagine it would be in any competition with Trump’s numerous hotels.
So, unconfirmed report and wrong country. But hey, close enough for a raging egomaniac, right?