Fact-checking in Trump’s new campaign-style video


A day after FBI agents executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, he released a campaign-style video that has the hallmarks of a fledgling campaign to reclaim the presidency. .

We’ve tried to be judicious in fact-checking Trump since he left the White House, but this seems like a good opportunity to examine some of the claims he makes to the public at his rallies. Here is a line-by-line account of Trump’s statements of material fact, avoiding opinion, in the order in which they appear in the ad. The narration seems to come from a variety of speeches, put together to appear as a cohesive argument. We assessed 18 claims — and found 89% to be false or misleading.

“We are a nation that has had the highest inflation in over 40 years…”

True. The Labor Department reported inflation in June was 9.1%, the fastest price rise since November 1981.

“…where the stock market just ended the worst first half in more than five decades.”

True. The S&P 500 index fell more than 21% in the first six months of 2022, the worst half since 1970. Stocks had risen sharply at the start of President Biden’s term, so even with this loss the stock market was essentially stable since taking office. As Trump himself knows, the stock market is a volatile barometer of a president’s performance.

“We are a nation that has the highest energy cost in its history…”

Fake. Trump is talking about nominal prices, not real prices. Gasoline prices soared after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but adjusted for inflation, monthly retail prices still did not exceed the June 2008 inflation-adjusted price by 5 $.38 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. Retail residential electricity prices in the United States jumped sharply in 2021, but inflation-adjusted prices were higher, according to the EIA. Natural gas prices, adjusted for inflation, also increased.

“…and we are no longer energetically independent or dominant, which we were just two years ago.”

Fake. It was one of Trump’s favorite misrepresentations since his presidency. The United States was never energy independent when he was president; it continued to import millions of barrels of oil per day.

“We are a nation begging Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil.”

Misleading. Canada is by far the largest oil exporter to the United States, accounting for more than 60% of total U.S. crude oil imports in 2021, according to the EIA. Saudi Arabia provided only 6%. Russia provided 3%, but after invading Ukraine earlier this year, Biden banned Russian energy imports. The administration has urged Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela to increase their gas exports to help lower prices in the United States.

“We are a nation that surrendered to Afghanistan, leaving behind dead soldiers, American citizens…”

Misleading. Biden implemented the withdrawal plan that Trump had negotiated and wanted to act on. The departure was certainly mishandled, but it is unclear whether Trump would have done better.

“…and $85 billion of the best military equipment in the world.”

Fake. We have already given this claim Three Pinocchios. The $85 billion figure represents all the money allocated to training, equipping and housing the Afghan army and police since the 2001 US invasion; moreover, not everything had been disbursed when the Afghan government fell. At best, about 30% of that money was spent on equipment, but over two decades a significant percentage of that equipment may have become obsolete or destroyed.

“We are a nation that allowed Russia to devastate a country, Ukraine, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and it will only get worse.”

Fake. The US hasn’t allowed Russia to do anything – and Biden has been credited with rallying US allies to staunchly resist the Russian attack and imposing sweeping sanctions on the government led by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We are a nation that has militarized its law enforcement against the opposing political party like never before. We have never seen anything like it.

Misleading. Trump appears to associate any investigation of him with an investigation of the “opposing party” — and of course, he dismisses any questions about his post-election efforts to nullify the election or his business practices as illegitimate.

“We are a nation that no longer has a free and fair press. Fake news is pretty much all you get. We are a nation where free speech is no longer allowed.

Fake. The ad here shows an image of Trump’s Twitter account which was suspended after repeatedly violating company rules. But Trump posted this video on his new platform, Truth Social, showing that free speech is still alive and well. Trump is also hosting the video on Rumble, a far-right content platform that gained popularity after social media companies cracked down on misinformation related to the coronavirus and the 2020 election.

“Where crime is rife like never before.”

Fake. Violent crime has increased during the pandemic, but one or two years of data is not enough to establish a trend – and murder and violent crime rates are still well below levels reached in the early 1990s.

“Where the economy collapsed.”

Fake. Economists are divided on whether the United States is at risk of entering a recession, but July’s strong jobs report showed that all the jobs lost in the pandemic-related economic collapse that began under Trump have been recovered.

“Where more people died from covid in 2021 than in 2020.”

Misleading. The pandemic actually emerged in March 2020 – only 26 deaths were recorded for January and February – so effectively 2020 is a 10 month count compared to 12 months in 2021. Also an increase in cases at the end of 2020 – when Trump was still president – led to many deaths in early 2021, before vaccines were widely available.

“We are a nation that allows Iran to build a massive nuclear weapon…”

Misleading. Trump has terminated the Obama administration-brokered deal that halted the Iran program, saying he could get a better deal. He never did, and Biden has so far been unable to revive the previous deal.

“…and China to use the trillions and trillions of dollars it took from the United States…”

Fake. Trump persists in misunderstanding trade deficits. Countries do not “take” another country’s money if it has a trade surplus. Trade deficits with China have persisted through every year of Trump’s presidency — the goods and services trade deficit was $285.5 billion in 2020 — but trade has benefited both countries. China was the third-largest merchandise export market for the United States in 2020, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

“..to build an army to rival ours.”

Misleading. China announced in 2019, when Trump was president, that it would seek military parity with the United States by 2027. The Indo-Pacific Command, in a May report to Congress, said 67 billions of dollars in new military spending were needed to maintain the US military advantage. .

“We are a nation that over the past two years is no longer respected or listened to around the world.”

Fake. A Pew Research Center survey of 16 countries found a significant increase in US image ratings after Biden became president.

“We are a nation…whose education system ranks lowest in every nation.”

Fake. For decades, American students have lagged behind some of their peers in industrialized countries such as South Korea and Finland, but it is wrong to claim that the American education system is “ranked at the bottom of every nation” . The United States ranked in the middle of the pack in the OECD’s 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial survey of 15-year-old students. “Students in the United States performed above the OECD average in reading (505 points) and in science (502), and below the OECD average in mathematics (478),” the report said. report. “Their scores were similar to those of students from Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK in at least two of these three subjects.”

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