Last Thursday, Fox News held a town hall event in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Trump. Here are a dozen lies he made at the event.
Lie 1: Trump claimed that, before Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden “didn’t have a job.”
The facts: At the time Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma in 2014, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.
Lie 2: Trump claimed that “this area of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania itself, has the best numbers it’s ever had. It’s got the best economy it’s ever had. It has the best unemployment numbers it’s ever had. And Scranton has the lowest and best unemployment numbers they’ve — and employment numbers too — that they’ve ever had, by far.”
The facts: Neither the unemployment rate for Pennsylvania nor the unemployment rate for the Scranton area is at its lowest level ever. And both rates have crept higher over the past several months. The December 2019 unemployment rate for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area was 5.6% — worse than various rates under Clinton and Bush and also worse than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office, 5.4% in December 2016.
Lie 3: Trump claimed, “We got hit with the virus really three weeks ago, if you think about it, I guess. That’s when we first started really to see some possible effects.”
The facts: The US had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on January 21, more than six weeks before Trump spoke, so it’s not true that the US had not really seen even “some possible effects” until three weeks ago.
Lie 4: Trump repeated his claim that he had reversed an Obama-era decision that had somehow impeded testing for the coronavirus.
The Facts: There is no regulation or decision from President Barack Obama that impeded coronavirus testing.
Lie 5: Trump claimed Obama called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “many times” but “Kim Jong Un did not want to talk to him. And me, he wanted to talk to.”
The Facts: There is no evidence that Obama called Kim even once. “This is a total fabrication,” Susan Rice, who served as Obama’s national security adviser, said on Twitter in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. There’s also no evidence for Trump’s previous claim that Obama begged Kim for a meeting.
Lie 6: Trump claimed “I opened up LNG plants in Louisiana” where companies had been unable to get permits for “for 10, 12, 14 years and longer.” He said, “I got them built, a $10 billion plant in Louisiana.”
The Facts: The $10 billion LNG facility Trump visited in Louisiana in 2019 was granted its key permits under Obama, and its construction also began under Obama.
Lie 7: Trump called the whistleblower who complained about his dealings with Ukraine a “phony whistleblower” and claimed this person had described “a call that didn’t exist.”
The Facts: The whistleblower’s account of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been proven accurate. In fact, the rough transcript Trump released showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct.
Lie 8: Trump claimed President Barack Obama left him “142 openings” on the courts, in part because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who thwarted many of Obama’s judicial nominees — did a “great job.”
The Facts: There were 104 court vacancies on January 1, 2017, 19 days before Trump took office, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments.
Lie 9: Trump claimed that “normally,” presidents are left no court vacancies at all; “if you have one,” he said, it’s “lucky.”
The Facts: It is standard for presidents to inherit dozens of vacancies. According to Wheeler, there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office; 107 vacancies on January 1, 1993, just before Bill Clinton took office.
Lie 10: Trump claimed that “we have right now 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our border.”
The Facts: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Mexico’s defense minister said in October that it was about 15,000 on the US border, about 12,000 on Mexico’s own southern border.
Lie 11: Trump claimed, “China is paying us billions and billions of dollars because of what I did to them with tariffs.”
The Facts: Study after study has shown that Americans are bearing the vast majority of the cost of the tariffs. And it is Americans who make the actual tariff payments.
Lie 12: Trump said he wants the US to have the world’s cleanest air and water, then claimed, “Our conditions now are much better than they were three years ago.”
The Facts: US air was cleaner under Obama than it has been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.