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Trump’s avalanche of dishonesty: Fact-checking 102 of his false claims from this fall

By Daniel Dale, CNN

Washington (CNN) — For the third straight presidential election, Donald Trump is campaigning on an avalanche of dishonesty.

CNN fact-checked 12 of the former president’s October and November speeches. We found, as we did during his 2016 campaign and his presidency, that Trump’s fall remarks were teeming with false claims – a staggering quantity and variety of misrepresentations, exaggerations and outright lies that made sheer wrongness a central feature of each of his addresses.

As in the past, Trump is in a league of his own. The frequency of his mendacity vastly exceeds that of either President Joe Biden or any of Trump’s rivals in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

In the October and November speeches, Trump was serially untruthful on the subject of his record in office. He continued to tell long-debunked lies about the 2020 election he lost and the integrity of elections more broadly. He repeatedly fabricated and embellished on the subjects of energy, the environment, foreign affairs and the economy.

He launched incorrect attacks against Biden, other Democrats and Republican presidential rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. He deployed various fictions to support his denunciations of the criminal and civil court cases against him. And he continued his traditional practice of wildly exaggerating statistics, this time on topics ranging from the price of bacon to the cost of an aircraft carrier to the size of his rally crowds.

Below is a fact check of 102 of Trump’s false claims from the 12 speeches. He repeated many of the false claims on multiple occasions.

This is not intended as a comprehensive list. And it does not include gaffes that were clearly unintentional, claims that were misleading but not outright wrong, or claims for which there was no public evidence but which we could not definitively declare incorrect.

Trump’s record

Terrorist attacks under Trump

Trump claimed in numerous speeches that there were no terrorist attacks during his time as president. “We didn’t have an attack for four years,” he said in an October speech in New Hampshire while touting his ban on travel from a group of (mostly Muslim-majority) countries he described as “horrendous, dangerous nations.” “We didn’t have one incident in four years, because we kept bad people the hell out of our country,” he said in an October speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Facts First: Trump’s claim that “we didn’t have an attack for four years” isn’t true.

Trump’s own Justice Department alleged that a mass murder in New York City in 2017, which killed eight people and injured others, was a terrorist attack carried out in support of ISIS; Trump repeatedly lamented this attack during his presidency. Trump’s Justice Department also alleged that a 2019 attack by an extremist member of Saudi Arabia’s military, which killed three US servicemembers and injured others at a military base in Florida, “was motivated by jihadist ideology” and was carried out by a longtime “associate” of al Qaeda.

In addition, there were a variety of other terrorist attacks during Trump’s presidency. Notably, Trump’s Justice Department said it was a “domestic terrorist attack” when one of Trump’s supporters mailed improvised explosive devices to CNN, prominent Democratic officials and other people in 2018.

In 2019, a White supremacist pleaded guilty to multiple charges in New York, including first-degree murder in furtherance of an act of terrorism, for killing a Black man in March 2017 to try to start a race war. And Trump’s Justice Department described a 2019 shooting massacre at a Walmart in Texas as an act of domestic terrorism; the gunman who killed 23 people was targeting Latinos.

Trump’s wall promise

In an October speech in Iowa, Trump claimed he had run in 2016 on a promise that Mexico would pay for “a piece” of a new border wall. He repeated the claim in a November speech in Florida, saying, “I said Mexico’s gonna pay for a piece of the wall.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims about what he said in the past are false. During his 2016 campaign, Trump promised over and over again in his public remarks, with no qualifications, that Mexico would pay for the entire wall, not for only “a piece” of it. (In the end, Mexico didn’t pay for any of it.) You can read a longer fact check on this claim here.

Mexico and the cost of the wall

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump tried to respond to critics who have noted that he did not get Mexico to pay for the wall as he had promised. Pointing out that Mexico did deploy thousands of its own troops during his presidency to deter migrants heading toward the US, Trump said, “Then they say, ‘Oh, Mexico didn’t pay.’ Mexico paid a fortune for that wall. When they tell you, ‘Trump didn’t get the money.’ Remember, I used to say Mexico will pay for it. Well, that’s what I did.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that he “did” get Mexico to pay for the wall and that “Mexico paid a fortune for that wall” are false. Mexico deploying troops simply isn’t the same as Mexico paying for a construction project; even with the Mexican deployment, the US had to pay for the wall with its own money. The Trump administration directed more than $16 billion toward the project – including about $6 billion directly appropriated by Congress and about $10 billion the administration repurposed from the Defense Department – before Biden halted construction upon taking office in 2021.

The final bill for the project is unclear; more than $4.7 billion of the former Defense Department money had not been spent at the time Trump left office. Regardless, it is clear that Mexico spent nothing at all on the project.

“The US government paid for what was built of Trump’s wall out of our own treasury. Mexico did not directly pay for any portion of the wall,” Theresa Cardinal Brown, an immigration and border policy expert at the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank, said in a July email.

The size of the wall

Touting his wall on the border with Mexico, Trump claimed in speech after speech that he had built “561 miles of wall” or, more vaguely, that the total was “over 500 miles.”

Facts First: Trump’s “561 miles” and “over 500 miles” claims are false, both exaggerations. An official report by US Customs and Border Protection, written two days after Trump left office and subsequently obtained by CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, said the total number built under Trump was 458 miles (including both wall built where no barriers had existed before and wall built to replace previous barriers). Even in his recent speeches, Trump sometimes put the figure, more correctly, at “nearly 500 miles.”

For example, in one October speech in Iowa, Trump said, “We built 561 – they said 460, 460. But no, it’s 561.” Later in the speech, though, when he appeared to be reading from his prepared text, he said, “Built nearly 500 miles.”

Trump and the military

In speech after speech, Trump repeated a claim he had made during his presidency – saying “I fully rebuilt the US military,” “I’ve rebuilt the entire military,” or “we rebuilt our whole military.” He periodically made clear that he was talking about military equipment, saying that, before he came along and did this rebuilding, the country had “48-year-old fighter jets.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim to have rebuilt the entire military is false. “This claim is not even close to being true. The military has tens of thousands of pieces of equipment, and the vast majority of it predates the Trump administration,” said Todd Harrison, an expert on the defense budget and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Harrison said in a November email: “Moreover, the process of acquiring new equipment for the military is slow and takes many years. It’s not remotely possible to replace even half of the military’s inventory of equipment in one presidential term. I just ran the numbers for military aircraft, and about 88% of the aircraft in the U.S. military inventory today (including Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft) were built before Trump took office. In terms of fighters in particular, we still have F-16s and F-15s in the Air Force that are over 40 years old.”

Trump’s policy on damage to monuments

In an October speech in New Hampshire and a November speech in Florida, Trump claimed that, as president, he had found and “signed” an “old law” or “old statute” to impose a severe penalty – an automatic 10 years in jail – for people who damage monuments.

“It said if you so much as touch one of our statues or memorials, you go to jail for 10 years with no probation, no anything – you go for 10 years. And you all remember that,” he said in the Florida speech.

Facts First: Trump’s claims are false. He didn’t sign any “law” on damage to monuments, and he did not impose automatic 10-year sentences for monument damage. In fact, he issued an executive order on the subject, in 2020, that did not mandate any increase in sentences.

Rather, the executive order simply directed the attorney general to “prioritize” investigations and prosecutions of monument-destruction cases and declared that it is federal policy to prosecute such cases to the fullest extent permitted under existing law – including an existing law that allowed a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for willfully damaging federal property if the damage exceeds $100. The executive order did nothing to force judges to impose a 10-year sentence.

Trump and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

As he has on multiple previous occasions, Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that “we filled up the national reserve, strategic reserves.” He went into more detail in a November speech in Houston, saying of the reserve, “We filled that thing and nobody ever saw anything like it.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that he filled the Strategic Petroleum Reserve are false.
While he did propose to buy 77 million barrels for the reserve in 2020 as oil prices cratered because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Democratic-controlled Congress rejected the $3 billion in funding that would have paid for the purchase, describing it as a subsidy to big oil companies, so it didn’t happen. The reserve contained fewer barrels when Trump left office in early 2021 (about 638 million) than when he took office in early 2017 (about 695 million).

That’s in large part because of oil sales that Congress had mandated by law. But nonetheless, Trump’s claims about how he “filled up” the reserve are meritless.

“It would have been a smart policy to refill the SPR at very low prices, but it didn’t happen because Congress did not approve that purchase. I suppose Trump can take credit for a good idea, but not for execution,” Ben Cahill, a senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, told CNN earlier this year when Trump made a similar claim.

Trump and manufacturing jobs, part 1

Trump claimed in a November speech in Texas: “We created an incredible 1.2 million new manufacturing jobs. Nobody said that was possible.” He repeated the number a bit later and said, “Everybody said that was impossible.”

Facts First: Trump’s number is false. The US actually lost 170,000 manufacturing jobs during Trump’s presidency, largely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if you were to stop the count in February 2020, before the pandemic crash, the US would have gained 419,000 manufacturing jobs since the beginning of Trump’s presidency in January 2017, not the 1.2 million he claimed here.

In speeches in late 2019 and early 2020, Trump claimed that the US had created 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs during his tenure. That would still be true today if you stopped the clock in February 2020. But Trump didn’t mention construction jobs in this speech; his omission made his performance with manufacturing jobs sound much better than it was.

Trump and manufacturing jobs, part 2

Trump vowed in the same speech in Texas to “accelerate our manufacturing resurgence,” then said, “We were setting records – not only were we building and doing it, we were setting records at doing manufacturing jobs.”

Facts First: This is false. Trump did not come close to setting records for the creation of manufacturing jobs. Again, US manufacturing employment actually declined by 170,000 jobs during his presidency. While that’s largely because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US was not even setting records before that; the country lost manufacturing jobs in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

And while the US did see a 430,000-job gain in manufacturing employment under Trump in 2017 and 2018, that was nowhere near a record increase. For example, there were more than 1.5 million manufacturing jobs added in 1977 and 1978, Jimmy Carter’s first two calendar years as president.

Household income under Trump

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire: “Under President Trump, real family income increased over $6,000 a year.”  He had made a similar claim in a speech in Iowa that month, saying real family income “went up by more than $6,000 a year.”

Facts First: This is false. Real median household income actually increased by $5,820 in total over Trump’s four years in office, from $70,840 in 2016 to $76,660 in 2020 – so not $6,000 “a year” as he claimed here.

Trump’s campaign has previously confirmed he was referring to real median household income when making such claims. The increase in real median household is over $6,000 if you just look at the period from 2016 to 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but Trump’s presidency includes 2020 as well.

Trump and the defeat of ISIS

As he has in the past, Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire: “I defeated ISIS. I defeated ISIS. Three weeks, I defeated ISIS.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim of having defeated ISIS in “three weeks” isn’t true; the ISIS “caliphate” was declared fully liberated more than two years into Trump’s presidency, in 2019. Even if Trump was starting the clock at the time of his visit to Iraq in late December 2018, as he has sometimes suggested, the liberation was proclaimed more than two and a half months later. In addition, Trump gave himself far too much credit for the defeat of the caliphate, as he has before, when he said “I defeated ISIS” with no caveats or credit to anyone else: Kurdish forces did much of the ground fighting, and there was major progress against the caliphate under President Barack Obama in 2015 and 2016.

IHS Markit, an information company that studied the changing size of the caliphate, reported two days before Trump’s 2017 inauguration that the caliphate shrunk by 23% in 2016 after shrinking by 14% in 2015. “The Islamic State suffered unprecedented territorial losses in 2016, including key areas vital for the group’s governance project,” an analyst there said in a statement at the time.

The cost of an embassy move

In October speeches to the Republican Jewish Coalition and at a campaign event in Florida, Trump repeated a story he used to tell during his presidency about how moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was supposed to cost $1 billion or $2 billion but that he “got it done for $500,000” by using an existing US diplomatic facility in Jerusalem.

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. While the final cost of the embassy move isn’t publicly known, it is clear that the cost was much more than $500,000. 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 Jerusalem facility into an embassy. The initial modification that allowed the building to open as an embassy cost just under $400,000, but that was not the final total.

Trump and the construction of Nord Stream 2

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that, after he “stopped” Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, “it was totally dead” before Biden allowed it to proceed.

Facts First: Trump did not render Nord Stream 2 “totally dead.” While he did approve sanctions on companies working on the project, that move came nearly three years into his presidency, when the pipeline was already around an estimated 90% complete – and the state-owned Russian gas company behind the project said shortly after the sanctions that it would complete the pipeline itself. The company announced in December 2020 that construction was resuming. And with days left in Trump’s term in January 2021, Germany announced that it had renewed permission for construction in its waters.

The pipeline never began operations; Germany ended up halting the project as Russia was about to invade Ukraine in early 2022. The pipeline was damaged later that year in what has been described as a likely act of sabotage.

Trump and awareness of Nord Stream 2

In a November speech in Houston, Trump said of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline: “Nobody ever heard of Nord Stream 2 until I came along. Nobody knew they were building the biggest pipeline anyone’s ever seen, I guess – covering all of Europe.”

Facts First: Both parts of this claim are wrong.

It’s not true that “nobody” had heard of Nord Stream 2 before Trump began discussing it. Nord Stream 2 was a regular subject of media, government and diplomatic discussion before Trump took office. In fact, Biden publicly criticized it as vice president in 2016. And Nord Stream 2 was nowhere close to “the biggest pipeline anyone’s ever seen.”

Trump and deportations to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador

In a November speech in Florida, Trump talked about how his administration was able to deport gang members to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – and repeated his familiar false claim about how the Obama administration was supposedly unable to do so: “Under the Obama administration, they wouldn’t take anybody back. They put airplanes, big commercial planes on the runways, so we’d put them in a plane, we’d fly, we couldn’t land, came back. And this went on for years; never took ‘em back.”

Facts First: This claim remains false. In 2016, Obama’s last calendar year in office, none of these three countries was on the list of countries that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) considered “recalcitrant” (uncooperative) in accepting the return of their citizens from the US.

The Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, noted to CNN in 2019 that in the 2016 fiscal year, ICE reported that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador ranked second, third and fourth for the country of citizenship of people being removed from the US. The same was true in the 2017 fiscal year, which encompassed the end of Obama’s presidency and the beginning of Trump’s. ICE did not identify any widespread problems with deportations to these countries.

ICE officials said there were some exceptions to the three countries’ general cooperativeness, but Trump’s general declaration that the countries were uncooperative was never true.

Trump and the word ‘caravan’

In November speeches in Texas and Florida, Trump spoke of migrant caravans – and claimed, as he has in the past, that he was the one to come up with the name “caravan.”

In Florida, he said caravan is “a name I came up with.” In Texas, he said, “I came up with the name. I believe. They’ll say, ‘Oh, it wasn’t really you, it’s somebody,’ but I believe I came up with the name.”

Facts First: Trump did not come up with the word “caravan,” either in general or to describe groups of migrants traveling together toward the US border during his presidency.

Merriam-Webster says the word caravan “came to English in the late 16th century, from the Italian caravana, which itself came from the Persian kārvān.”

Trump first publicly used a variation of the word as president in a tweet on April 1, 2018 (he wrote, in a tweet about immigration, “’caravans’ coming”). The word had been used by various others in the same context in the days and weeks prior, including in a BuzzFeed News feature article, two days prior to Trump’s tweet, that was headlined, “A Huge Caravan Of Central Americans Is Headed For The US, And No One In Mexico Dares To Stop Them.”

Trump’s claims about Covid-19

Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “Once Covid came in from China – Wuhan. Remember I said it came in from Wuhan. Everyone said, ‘Why would he say that? It came in from caves.’ First they said it came in from Italy, which was not nice. Then they said it came in from France. Then they said the American soldiers brought it in, and then they admitted it came in from China – but it came in from Wuhan.”

Facts First: Trump’s recounting is inaccurate. It’s not true that, when he said Covid-19 came from Wuhan, “everyone said, ‘Why would he say that?’” In reality, when Trump first used the word “Wuhan” as president in March 2020, saying the virus came from there was not at all controversial; Trump’s comments came more than two months after Chinese authorities publicly identified Wuhan as the first place it had an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. And in January and February 2020, before Trump started speaking about Wuhan, major media outlets such as CNN  and The New York Times referred to the virus as “the Wuhan coronavirus.”

The situation before Right to Try

In a November speech in Texas, Trump touted the “Right to Try” law he signed in 2018 to give terminally ill patients easier access to experimental medications that haven’t yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. As he did during his presidency, though, Trump also painted an inaccurate picture of the situation prior to the Right to Try era.

He said, “People would be terminally ill. They’d try to get a medicine; they couldn’t get it in this country. It’s totally illegal. If they had money, they’d go to Europe or they’d go to China, go to some of the places where they supposedly had cures. It never worked, by the way, almost never. And they’d end up dying. Sometimes they’d die in foreign lands. If you didn’t have money, you’d go home and you’d die.”

Facts First: It is not true that terminally ill patients would simply have to go home and die without any access to experimental medications or would have to go to foreign countries seeking such treatments until Trump signed the Right to Try. Prior to the law, patients had to ask the federal government for permission to access experimental medications – but the government almost always said yes.

Scott Gottlieb, who served as Trump’s FDA commissioner, told Congress in 2017 that the FDA had approved 99% of patient requests under its own “expanded access” program.

“Emergency requests for individual patients are usually granted immediately over the phone and non-emergency requests are generally processed within a few days,” Gottlieb testified.

The Middle East under Trump

Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “Less than four years ago, we had peace in the Middle East with the historic Abraham Accords. Today we have an all-out war in Israel and it’s gonna spread very quickly. What a difference a president makes, isn’t it amazing though?” He said in an October speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition: “The experts said our pro-Israel policies would produce terror and chaos, but I knew the opposite was true. I turned out to be right.
We got the historic Abraham Accords and peace in the Middle East. Peace in the Middle East.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that there was “peace in the Middle East” during his presidency and that his administration “got” peace in the Middle East are both false. Whatever the merits of the Abraham Accords, in which Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates agreed in 2020 to normalize relations with Israel (Morocco and Sudan followed), there was still lots of unresolved armed conflict around the Middle East – notably including the conflicts between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, between Israel and Hezbollah on its border with Lebanon, between Israel and Syria, and what former State Department official Aaron David Miller called “the war between the wars between Israel and Iran on air, land and sea.”

“It’s a highly inaccurate statement,” said Miller, who worked on Mideast peace negotiations while in government and is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Miller also noted that various Middle Eastern states were in “varying phases of dysfunction or failure” at the end of the Trump presidency. As Trump left office, civil wars in Syria and Yemen were ongoing, Libya was precariously emerging from its own civil war, and US forces and diplomats in Iraq continued to be attacked.

Dana El Kurd, senior nonresident fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC think tank, also called Trump’s claim “false.” She said in an email: “The Abraham Accords did not achieve peace in the Middle East. In fact, violence escalated in Israel-Palestine in the aftermath of the Accords (using any metric you can think of – death tolls, settlement violence, etc).”

Trump and wars

Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida that while there are “all of these wars” today under Biden, during the Trump presidency, “We had no wars. I got out of every war. We defeated ISIS, we got out.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that he “got out of every war” is false. At the end of his presidency, US troops remained in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, though he had reduced the size of the US presence in all three. And Trump kept a contingent of troops in Syria throughout his presidency, even after he claimed US troops were “out” (other than to protect oil sites, he added); in fact, two US troops died in vehicle rollovers in Syria in 2020.

Trump was also commander-in-chief for US airstrikes, including drone strikes in Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Pakistan, plus a drone strike in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, that prompted Iranian retaliation against US service members.

Trump and Veterans Choice

In a November speech in New Hampshire, Trump claimed, “I also signed – about 59 years they’ve been trying to get this one – VA Choice, which made it permanent, so that veterans can get medical care at the private health care provider of their choice.”

Facts First: Trump’s “59 years they’ve been trying to get it” claim is false. The Veterans Choice program was actually signed into law in 2014 by his predecessor, Obama. Trump signed a law in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, that expanded and modified the program established under Obama, and, as Trump said, made the initiative permanent. But contrary to Trump’s claim, it’s not true that people had been attempting for decades to create such an initiative. 

During Trump’s presidency, he falsely took credit for the Choice law more than 150 times.

Trump’s aid to farmers

In speech after speech, Trump claimed that he had given US farmers $28 billion from China. For example, he claimed in a November speech in New Hampshire, “How can the farmers vote against me? I got them $28 billion from China.” He added, “I got the money from China out of the tariffs that I got.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are wrong in two ways. First and most critically, this money wasn’t from China. Though the Trump administration made the payments because farmers had been hurt by his trade war with China, the aid money came from US taxpayers: Study after study, including one this year from the federal government’s bipartisan US International Trade Commission, has found that Americans have borne almost the entire cost of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products. (And it is US importers, not Chinese exporters, who make the actual tariff payments to the government.)  Second, as The Washington Post noted in a recent fact check, the payments to farmers under Trump’s program totaled $23 billion, not “$28 billion,” per the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

Previous presidents and tariffs on China

In October speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump boasted of the revenue produced by his tariffs on China and repeated his familiar claim that not a single previous president had gotten China to pay the US “10 cents.”

Facts First: Temporarily leaving aside the fact that Americans, not China, overwhelmingly paid for Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products, it’s not true no previous president had generated “10 cents” from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on goods from China since the late 1700s; Obama imposed new tariffs on goods from China; FactCheck.org 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.”

Trump’s aid to the lobster industry

Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire that, of the money he supposedly secured from China, he “gave the farmers and New England lobstermen $28 billion. You know, I gave your lobstermen $28 billion.”

Facts First: This is false. Trump’s trade-aid package for the seafood industry was a $530 million program covering the entire country. So while it’s not clear how much New England lobstermen in particular ended up receiving, the total was clearly far less than the “$28 billion” he claimed he gave to farmers or the $23 billion he actually did give to farmers. (Lobstermen were not eligible for money from the trade-aid package for farmers.) And it’s worth noting that the money for the seafood industry, like the money for farmers, was compensation for losses incurred because of Trump’s own policies.

China’s oil purchases from Iran under Trump

In speech after speech, Trump told a story about how he supposedly got China to completely stop buying oil from Iran by telling China that if they bought any, the US would no longer do business with China. For example, he said in an October speech in Florida: “I said, ‘If you buy oil, any oil, from Iran, we’re never doing business. You have all the stuff that you take out of this country and rip us off. We’re not going to do any more business with China.’ They stopped immediately. No more oil.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that China completely stopped buying oil from Iran during his presidency is false. China’s oil imports from Iran did briefly plummet under Trump in 2019, the year the Trump administration made a concerted effort to deter such purchases, but they never stopped – and then they rose sharply again while Trump was still president. “The claim is untrue because Chinese crude imports from Iran haven’t stopped at all,” Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, a market intelligence firm, said in November.

China’s official statistics recorded no purchases of Iranian crude in Trump’s last partial month in office, January 2021, and also none in most of Biden’s first year in office. But that doesn’t mean China’s imports actually ceased; industry experts say it is widely known that China has used a variety of tactics to mask its continued imports from Iran. Smith said Iranian crude is often listed in Chinese data as being from Malaysia; ships may travel from Iran with their transponders switched off and then turn them on when they are near Malaysia, Smith said, or transfer the Iranian oil to other ships.

Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, said in a November email: “China significantly reduced its imports from Iran from around 800,000 barrels per day in 2018 to 100,000 in late 2019. But by the time Trump left office, they were back to upwards to 600(000)-700,000 barrels.”

Vaez’s comments were corroborated by Kpler data Smith provided to CNN. Kpler found that China imported about 511,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude in December 2020, Trump’s last full month in office. The low point under Trump was March 2020, when global oil demand crashed because of Covid-19. Even then, China imported about 87,000 barrels per day, Kpler found. (Since data on Iranian oil exports is based on cargo tracking by various companies and groups, other entities may have different data.)

Iran’s oil sales under Trump and Biden

Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida that Biden’s soft approach to sanctions on Iran “allowed them to sell massive amounts of oil, making them $80 billion a year. Congratulations; they were making nothing with us.”

Facts First: Both of Trump’s claims – that Iran is making $80 billion a year from oil sales under Biden and that it was making “nothing” from these sales under Trump – are false.

The federal government’s Energy Information Administration reported that Iran generated an approximate total of $110 billion in net oil export revenues in 2021, 2022 and the first five months of 2023. The 2021 figure was $37 billion and the 2022 figure was $54 billion. That’s not “$80 billion a year.”

Similarly, the conservative Washington Free Beacon reported in October that the group United Against a Nuclear Iran had calculated that Iran had generated about $80 billion in oil sales over the course of the Biden administration. The group confirmed to CNN in November that this $80 billion was for the period from February 2021 to September 2023, not for a single year alone.

And Iran made money from oil exports under Trump as well. Data provided to CNN by the Energy Information Administration shows that Iran had $55 billion in net oil export revenues in 2017, $66 billion in 2018, $29 billion in 2019 and $16 billion in 2020.

Elections, campaigns and voting

Groceries and identification

In an October speech in Iowa, Trump reprised a claim for which he was widely mocked during his presidency – his assertion that Americans are required to show identification to buy groceries. “If you buy a loaf of bread, you gotta have your ID out, but for voting, you don’t,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump remains wrong. Americans do not need to show identification to buy bread or other foods.

Grocery stores generally require identification for purchases of alcohol or tobacco, for purchases of certain medications and for the small percentage of purchases made with a check. They may sometimes ask for ID when customers are using credit cards.  But those are exceptions rather than the rule. Contrary to Trump’s declarations, Americans can and do purchase loaves of bread, and otherwise fill their grocery bags with food, without ever having to tell anyone who they are – much less show official proof of identity.

The legitimacy of the 2020 election

In speech after speech, Trump claimed the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” or “stolen,” sometimes specifying that “radical left Democrats” rigged the election and once saying “they cheated like a bunch of dogs.”

Facts First: These claims are all false. The 2020 election was not rigged, Trump lost fair and square to Biden by an Electoral College margin of 306 to 232, and there is no evidence of any fraud even close to widespread enough to have changed the outcome in any state.

The 2020 vote count

In October and November speeches in New Hampshire and a November speech in Florida, Trump rejected the legitimacy of the vote count in the 2020 presidential election He said in New Hampshire in November: “I got 75 million votes, I got – and that’s their count, OK, which is a phony count.” He said in Florida in November: “I went from 63 million to, I believe, over 75 million – and that’s been recorded by them, not by me. How about the real number?”

Facts First: Trump’s claim of a “phony count” is false, as is his suggestion that the official numbers are not the “real number.” The vote count was legitimate and accurate.

A minor side note: Trump got 74,223,975 votes, not “over 75 million”; Biden got 81,283,501.

Election Night in 2020

Falsely claiming that he watched the 2020 election get “stolen,” Trump said in a November speech in Florida that, on Election Night, “at 9 o’clock it was over, 10 o’clock it was really over” – suggesting, as he has repeatedly before, that he had been shown to be the winner at those times. He added, “And then…’We have found some additional votes.’”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. The 2020 election was not “over” at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. on November 3, when millions of legitimate votes still needed to be counted – and it was widely known in the lead-up to Election Day that some states’ early results might create the illusion that Trump had big leads, since it would take time to count the mail-in votes that tended to heavily favor Biden (in part because Trump had spent months disparaging mail-in voting). Some populous urban areas, which also tended to support Biden, also took a while to finish their counting simply because they had so many votes.

Trump has been making similar false claims since Election Night 2020 itself, when he wrongly claimed that he had won Georgia and won Michigan as votes continued to be counted. Trump ended up losing both states.

A film about the 2020 election

Repeating his false claim that the 2020 election was rigged, Trump claimed in a November speech in Iowa: “We don’t even have to go into all of the ballot-stuffing that is on tape from the ‘2000 Mules.’ You look at ‘2000 Mules’ and you see thousands and thousands – hundreds of thousands actually – of votes being stuffed into ballot boxes.”

Facts First: This is false. The film ‘2000 Mules’ has been widely debunked, and it doesn’t show thousands of votes, let alone hundreds of thousands, “being stuffed into ballot boxes.”

The film, which is filled with misleading claims and dubious analysis, focuses on footage of ballots being submitted into drop boxes in public places (after which they are put through various verification measures to make sure they are legitimate), not into ballot boxes at in-person voting centers where ballots are placed for final counting – and, regardless, the film fails to prove any widespread wrongdoing even involving the drop boxes.

The security of mail-in ballots

Trump said in a November speech in Florida, “Anytime you have mail-in ballots, you have corrupt elections. I don’t care what it is. Anybody that wants it, they’re corrupt. And that includes Republicans, by the way. Anytime you have mail-in ballots, you are going to have really corrupt elections.”

Facts First: This is all false. While elections experts say the occurrence of fraud is relatively higher with mail-in ballots than with in-person voting, they also say that fraud of any kind in American state and federal elections represents a miniscule percentage of total votes cast. Voters have been casting ballots by mail for decades, including in Republican-dominated states; there is nothing inherently corrupt about supporting the use of such ballots.

‘Fake ballots’

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said the only way he can be beaten in the November 2024 election is “if they cheat.” He added moments later, “The biggest problem is they make fake ballots. Okay? That’s the biggest problem. And a lot of Republicans are very naive when they don’t say that. They say, ‘Oh, vote early. Vote early. We want to build…’ No, no: the big problem we have to do, we gotta stop fake ballots from being made.”

Facts First: This is entirely baseless. Federal elections do not have any “big problem” with “fake ballots.” Every state has numerous safeguards in place to ensure that someone who tries to manufacture and use a phony ballot will be caught.

What a Jimmy Carter commission said

Criticizing the use of mail-in ballots, Trump invoked a commission on election reform that was co-chaired by former Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

Trump said in a November speech in Florida that Carter “had a commission with some other prominent senators, and they came to one conclusion: you can’t do mail-in ballots.” Trump said in a November speech in New Hampshire: “Even Jimmy Carter, he had a commission. He said if you have mail-in ballots, you’re going to have massive corruption.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims significantly exaggerated what Carter’s commission said.
Though the commission Carter co-chaired was generally skeptical of mail-in ballots, it did not say “you can’t do mail-in ballots” or that “massive corruption” is inevitable with the use of mail-in ballots; in fact, it highlighted an example of successful mail-only elections.

The commission’s 2005 report said that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.” It also said mail-in voting increases the risks of fraud and that absentee ballots are “vulnerable to abuse in several ways.”

But it did not say all mail-in voting should be prohibited. It said that Oregon, a state that has been conducting elections exclusively by mail-in voting since the late 1990s, “appears to have avoided significant fraud in its vote-by-mail elections by introducing safeguards to protect ballot integrity, including signature verification.” The report also offered some recommendations for making the use of mail-in ballots more secure and called for “further research on the pros and cons” of voting by mail (as well as early voting).

Fifteen years after the release of the report, Carter said in a 2020 statement: “I approve the use of absentee ballots and have been using them for more than five years.” His organization, The Carter Center, said in a 2020 statement: “Fortunately, since 2005, many states have gained substantial experience in vote-by-mail and have shown how key concerns can be effectively addressed through appropriate planning, resources, training, and messaging.”

Democrats and elections

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that Democrats can’t win legitimately, given their policy preferences, and “the only way they know how to win is by cheating.”

Facts First: This is false. Just like Republicans, Democrats have won elections around the country – including the 2020 presidential election – fair and square. There is simply no basis for Trump’s claim.

Trump’s 2016 margin in Alabama

In a November speech in Florida, Trump spoke of how some of his opponents claimed that the 2016 election he won was rigged. He then said, “In 2016, they even tried to get me on Alabama and I won it by like 45 points. They said, ‘He cheated on Alabama.’ I said, ‘I won it by 45 points, I must have cheated by a lot.’”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that he won Alabama by 45 percentage points in 2016 is false – a major exaggeration. His margin over Hillary Clinton was big, but it was about 27.8 points (62.08% to 34.36%), not 45 points.

It’s not clear who he was claiming had accused him of cheating to win Alabama.

Maricopa County in 2022

In a November speech in Florida, Trump mentioned Kari Lake, a Republican US Senate candidate in Arizona who ran unsuccessfully for Arizona governor in 2022. He made reference to a technology problem that marred Election Day 2022 in Arizona’s most populous county, Maricopa County, saying that “unfortunately over 50% of the machines, in the Republican areas only, didn’t work. So they always find something.”

Facts First: Trump’s specifics were wrong: the Maricopa County technology problem affected about 27% of its voting locations – and these locations were scattered around the county, in heavily Democratic areas as well as Republican areas, a Washington Post analysis found. And Trump’s suggestion that the technology problems were intentionally designed to damage Republicans is baseless. At the time, Maricopa County had a Republican-controlled board of supervisors and a Republican county recorder.

“We were having these issues coming up around Maricopa County,” Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the board of supervisors, told reporters at the time. Noting the Republican affiliations of the recorder and the majority of the board, Gates said, “So there was no partisan bias in what happened here. This was a technical issue.”

Chris Wallace and a 2020 debate

In two October speeches in New Hampshire and October and November speeches in Florida, Trump told a story in which he claimed that 2020 presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace, who was then a host for Fox News and is now a host for CNN, had tried to stop him from asking Biden a question about a supposed payment from the wife of the mayor of Moscow to Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

“Chris Wallace said, ‘He’s not allowed to answer that question,‘” Trump said in one of the New Hampshire speeches; in the other, he said Wallace said “you’re not allowed to ask that question” and told him “it’s inappropriate.” In Florida in November, Trump said, “Biden couldn’t answer the question, but Chris Wallace came in and helped him. ‘You’re not allowed to ask that question.’”

Facts First: All of these Trump claims are false. Wallace did not tell him that he was not allowed to ask the question or that Biden was not allowed to answer it.
Rather, as the transcript
shows, Wallace interjected during this debate exchange to try to get Trump to allow Biden to answer the question after Trump had asked it, rather than continue to speak when Biden tried to offer a response. Wallace never said the question was “inappropriate.”

Rather, Wallace made comments like, “Sir, you’ve asked him a question, let him answer it” and, “Well, you have raised an issue, let the vice president answer.”

Energy and the environment

Climate change and sea levels

In a November speech in Florida, Trump delivered another version of a familiar claim he has used to minimize the threat of climate change. He said that others, rather than talk about the potentially catastrophic threat of nuclear weapons, instead “talk about global warming – because in 250 years our ocean’s gonna be a hundredth of an inch higher.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that the ocean will be just a hundredth of an inch higher “in 250 years” is false. As the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has noted, the global sea level is currently rising at a rate of about an eighth of an inch per year. In other words, the sea level rise Trump claimed will happen “in 250 years” is already being vastly exceeded on an annual basis. NOAA says that, along the US coastline in particular, sea level rise is expected to average a total of 10 to 12 inches between 2020 and 2050 alone.

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump criticized Biden for canceling Trump-era oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He said, “Can you believe that? It was so much work to get that approved. We got it approved. They were ready to start drilling.”

Facts First: It’s not true that anybody was “ready to start drilling” in the refuge, either before the Biden administration suspended leases there in 2021 or before the administration canceled leases in 2023. There is no drilling infrastructure in place in the refuge, major oil companies have shown little interest in the site, and the seven leases the Biden administration canceled were all held by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state entity that is not an oil company. “To quote our friends at PolitiFact, what Trump said in this case qualifies as ‘pants on fire,’” Pavel Molchanov, an energy analyst at Raymond James & Associates, said in a November email. He said, “No one was ready to start drilling there, in 2017 or at any other point in time.”

Molchanov explained that the idea of drilling in the refuge would be a textbook example of “frontier exploration,” drilling in an area that has no previous activity by the oil industry. “This means there is no first-hand knowledge of how to go about drilling there. Everything would have to be learned along the way. This translates into lengthy time for preparation and elevated costs for actual drilling, if and when it were to take place. Also, there is no infrastructure – it would have to be developed from scratch.”

Tim Woody, communications manager for the Alaska regional office of The Wilderness Society conservation group, also called Trump’s claim false and noted “there is no infrastructure in place” in the refuge. And Woody said that no company had “gone through any of the steps that occur between acquiring a lease and actually beginning development,” including conducting seismic analysis and obtaining permits.

Demand for electric cars

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said, “Can you believe what we’re doing with the electric cars? All electric. Nobody wants them.”

Facts First: It’s not true that “nobody wants” electric cars. US purchases of electric vehicles continue to set records; Cox Automotive reported in October that “EV sales have now increased for 13 straight quarters” in the US and were “firmly on track to surpass 1 million for the first time ever” in a year. Electric vehicle sales also make up a growing share of total US vehicle sales; Cox Automotive reported that they accounted for a record 7.9% of total sales in the third quarter of 2023, up from 6.1% a year prior and up from 7.2% in the second quarter of this year.

A Pew Research Center survey earlier this year found that 38% of Americans said they are very likely or somewhat likely to seriously consider an electric vehicle for their next vehicle purchase. Even if the poll result is off, it’s clear that Trump’s claim that “nobody wants them” is not true.

The US and electric car manufacturing

Trump, saying he thinks he will earn the support of union autoworkers, claimed in a November speech in Iowa that it is “preposterous” for the US move to all electric cars – and then said, “You can’t make them here, because we don’t have the minerals, we don’t have the materials for it. We have a thing called gasoline, that’s what we have.”

Facts First: It’s not true that “you can’t” make electric cars in the US. Electric cars are already being assembled here by various companies. And domestic electric vehicle manufacturing is expected to grow substantially: companies have made major recent investments in US factories to assemble electric vehicles and make batteries for them, spurred in part by provisions of Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
Many of the recent investments have been in
Republican-led states in the South.

While the US does need to import some critical minerals and materials for electric vehicle manufacturing, that clearly doesn’t mean domestic production of the vehicles is impossible. There are global supply chains for all sorts of products whose final assembly is done in this country.

– CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this item.

Biden and electric vehicles

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire: “On day one, I will repeal Joe Biden’s insane electric vehicle mandate. ‘Everybody has to have an electric car.’” He said that, in a second Trump administration, “gasoline-powered engines will be allowed.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. Biden has not mandated that “everybody has to have an electric car” or outlawed cars powered by gasoline, though his administration has made an aggressive push to try to get automakers and consumers to move toward electric vehicles.

The Biden administration has proposed ambitious new tailpipe emissions regulations for automakers, offered tax credits to people who buy certain electric vehicles, invested in new electric vehicle charging stations and ordered federal entities to purchase electric vehicles, among other policies promoting the adoption of these vehicles. But there is no Biden requirement that “everybody” has to drive an electric vehicle and no Biden proposal to prohibit citizens from continuing to use gasoline-powered engines.

Depending on how automakers were to respond, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new tailpipe rules could, if adopted, require electric vehicles to make up two-thirds of new cars sold in the US by 2032.

Electric vehicles and the military

In a November speech in Texas, Trump criticized the Biden administration for imposing “insane mandates” and lamented that “Army tanks have to go electric, OK?…Because the tanks, if they’re electric, you’re going into a country blasting the hell out of it, but at least we’re doing it in an environmentally friendly way.”

Facts First: This is false. The Biden administration is not requiring tanks to be all-electric, as FactCheck.org pointed out in its own November fact check.
The Army released a climate strategy in 2022 that called for a move toward various kinds of electric vehicles, including “fully electric tactical vehicles by 2050,” but that would not include tanks
. And, regardless, a strategy is not a mandate.

Biden and boats

During the same part of the Texas speech, Trump also claimed that “all boats have to go electric.”

Facts First: This is false. There is no Biden mandate requiring boats to be powered by electricity, as The New York Times noted in its own fact check of this Trump speech.

A federal boat speed limit

After complaining in an October speech in New Hampshire about offshore wind turbines, and alleging without evidence that these turbines are killing whales, Trump added, “Then they say that, for boat manufacturers, the boat can’t go more than two miles an hour because we don’t want to hurt the whales.”

Facts First: This claim is false in two ways.

To try to protect whales, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed to require a greater number of boats to abide by a speed limit in certain areas of the East Coast during certain months of the year; the expansion would apply the speed limit to boats at least 35 feet long rather than the current minimum of 65 feet long.

But Trump’s “two miles an hour” claim is not true. The speed limit involved is 10 knots, or roughly 11.5 miles per hour. Second, the speed limit applies to people operating boats, not to “boat manufacturers” as Trump said. In other words, the government is not trying to force companies to make boats that cannot go faster than this speed limit.  

In other recent speeches, Trump has attributed his two-miles-per-hour claim to something he said he was told while visiting a boat company in South Carolina in September. That company and South Carolina’s boating industry advocacy group did not respond to CNN requests for comment.

California and electricity

Criticizing Democrats’ push for the adoption of electric vehicles, Trump repeatedly claimed that California already has constant blackouts because it has insufficient power to serve its population.

He said in a November speech in Texas: “Did you see, they had blackouts all over the place this summer?” He said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “In California, they want to go with all-electric, but they can’t even – every weekend, they have a blackout. They don’t have enough electricity.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that California “had blackouts all over the place this summer” and has a blackout “every weekend” are false. California has been able to meet its electricity demand throughout the year, including during the peak-demand summer season.

“California didn’t experience any outages this year because of a load imbalance. We haven’t since 2020,” Erin Mellon, spokesperson for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, said in an email earlier in November. Mellon added, “We’ve drastically expanded our clean energy portfolio, and recently CA hit 6,600 MW of battery storage – enough for 6.6 million homes for 4 hours.”

Vonette Fontaine, spokesperson for the California Independent System Operator, which manages the power grid for about 80% of the state, said in an email earlier in November: “The California Independent System Operator did not experience any grid emergencies this summer requiring electricity outages.”

You can read more here.

CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this item.

Biden and energy production

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that, with regard to US energy production, Biden “stopped it – just no more.” In an October speech in Iowa, he more specifically accused Biden of stopping energy production from fossil fuels, saying, “Biden – by stopping all the energy coming out – you know, he wants to put windmills all over the place and he wants to do things that are very expensive, but he doesn’t want any petroleum, he doesn’t want any petroleum product, and he doesn’t want oil and gas.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are false. Biden has not stopped US production of oil and gas, which has continued to boom under Biden. US crude oil production in 2022 was the second-highest year on record, behind only Trump-era 2019, and domestic crude production in the first eight months of 2023, the most recent data that is currently available, was the highest on record for the first eight months of any year.

As CNN’s Matt Egan reported in August, the federal government’s Energy Information Administration is projecting annual records for both 2023 and 2024. US production of dry natural gas also set a record in 2022 and outpaced 2022 levels in the first eight months of 2023.

None of this is to say that Biden is the reason that domestic production has increased; market factors are the key driver of companies’ investment and production decisions. (“It’s perhaps less about the administration in power and more about the entrepreneurial nature of the oil industry,” Matt Smith, Kpler’s lead oil analyst for the Americas, told Egan.) And Egan wrote: “The American Petroleum Institute, an oil trade group that has been critical of the Biden administration’s regulatory efforts, noted that approved federal permits and new federal acres leased have both fallen sharply under Biden.”

Still, despite Biden’s often critical rhetoric about fossil fuel companies, some policy moves to get tougher on those companies and his major investments in initiatives to fight climate change, he certainly has not “stopped it.”

Biden has also approved some significant and controversial fossil fuel projects, including the Willow oil drilling project in Alaska and the Mountain Valley gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia.

Biden and oil exports to Europe

Trump said in a November speech in Texas: “We’re going to supply Europe, all over the world. We were going to send our oil and gas. And then they ended it, they ended it.”

Facts First: This is false. Biden did not end oil and gas exports to Europe or the rest of the world. In fact, the federal government’s Energy Information Administration reported in October that US crude oil exports in the first half of 2023 were the highest on record since the ban on these exports was repealed in 2015 – and thatEurope was the largest regional destination for U.S. crude oil exports by volume, at 1.75 million” barrels per day. Also, the Energy Information Administration reported in September that European Union countries and the United Kingdom “remained the main destination” for US exports of liquefied natural gas after reaching that status in 2022.

Oil prices

Talking about oil prices, Trump claimed in an October 9 speech in New Hampshire: “Now it’s $100 and going higher.” He claimed in a speech in Florida two days later: “We’re hitting $100 now, and we’re going to probably hit $115 a barrel.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that “now it’s $100” and that “we’re hitting $100 now” are false, both exaggerations. On the days he spoke, West Texas Intermediate crude did not exceed $87.24 per barrel and Brent crude did not exceed $89 per barrel. While Brent crude briefly passed $97 per barrel in late September, it had fallen substantially by the time Trump made this claim.

Some analysts have said in recent months that oil could potentially exceed the $100 per barrel mark next year. But Trump used the word “now,” twice, and that’s not true.

Energy costs

Trump claimed in a November speech in Florida: “We’re gonna bring down your costs. We are bringing down your energy costs. We have the highest energy costs anywhere now.”

Facts First: It’s not true that the US now has the highest energy costs “anywhere.” Even with an increase in the Biden era, US household electricity prices have remained substantially lower than prices in many European countries, plus a variety of other nations. Pavel Molchanov, the Raymond James energy analyst, said in an email that Trump’s claim is not even close to correct; citing data you can see here, he said, “U.S. electricity prices are lower than in practically every other industrialized economy.” (US household prices for natural gas are also nowhere near the world’s highest.)

The state of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Criticizing Biden for releasing a large quantity of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2022, Trump said, “Now it’s at the lowest level…the lowest level in history. There’s almost nothing there.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that “there’s almost nothing there” is false. Though the reserve is at its lowest level since the early 1980s, it still has more than 351 million barrels of crude and is still the world’s largest national oil reserve. Three-hundred-fifty-one million barrels is just not “almost nothing” by any reasonable standard. (Trump has previously claimed this year that the reserve is now “totally empty.”)

Wind turbines and house values

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump railed once more against wind turbines, a longtime subject of his criticism. This time, he said, “If you have one near your house, your house is worthless, because you can’t sell it. Between the noise and the look, you can’t sell it.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that “your house is worthless” if a wind turbine is nearby is not true, though there may be some cases where people have more trouble selling their house because of a nearby wind turbine. Various US studies have found either no statistically significant impact on house values or even an increase in house values related to the proximity of wind power.

Even if there was a decline in house values in some neighborhoods or counties because of nearby wind turbines, that wouldn’t justify Trump’s categorical claim that a nearby wind turbine makes your house “worthless.”

Gas prices

Trump made repeated false claims in October and November about how much gas cost at the time.

For example, he said in an October 16 speech in Iowa that gasoline “just hit $5.50 a gallon” after being $1.87 or lower under Trump. He also made the claim about having had gas at $1.87 in an October 11 speech in Florida – and said that “today, you have $5, $6 and $7.” In a November 11 speech in New Hampshire, Trump again boasted of low gas prices during his tenure and said, “And now you have $5 gasoline.” And in the October 16 speech in Iowa, Trump also said that, in California, gasoline is “up to $7 and $8” per gallon.

Facts First: These Trump claims are all false.

On the day he spoke in Iowa and said prices had “just hit $5.50 a gallon,” the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Iowa was about $3.29, and the national average was about $3.60, per data provided to CNN by the American Automobile Association. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at the firm GasBuddy, said that, on the day Trump spoke, GasBuddy did not see gas being sold for $5 or more per gallon at any of the 2,036 stations it tracks in Iowa.

On the day he spoke in Florida and said that today’s prices were $5, $6 and $7, the state’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $3.42 per gallon, and the national average was about $3.66 per gallon, according to data provided by AAA. De Haan said none of the 8,237 Florida stations tracked by GasBuddy were selling for $5 or higher that day.

On the day he spoke in New Hampshire and said that “now you have $5 gasoline,” the state’s average for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $3.34, while the national average was about $3.38, according to data provided by AAA. De Haan said none of the 875 New Hampshire stations tracked by GasBuddy were selling for $5 or higher that day.

And when he made the claim about California prices going up to $7 and $8, the state’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $5.62; De Haan said that, of 10,526 California stations tracked by GasBuddy, the firm did not see a single station selling that day at $8 per gallon or higher, with only four, well known for their high prices, at $7 or higher. Just four stations in California – two rural, two in Los Angeles – were selling for over $7 per gallon that day.

Also, Trump’s claim about having had gas at $1.87 is misleading.
While the national average did go that low and lower after gasoline demand crashed in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the national average was $2.393 per gallon on the day Trump left office in January 2021.

Venezuelan oil and US refineries

In October speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire and in a November speech in Houston, Trump spoke of the US importing heavy, sour crude oil from Venezuela under Biden after imports stopped under Trump as a result of his sanctions.
He claimed in Iowa that Houston has “the only refineries in the entire world” that can refine the oil, and claimed in New Hampshire that Houston has “the only refinery in the world that can do it.” In the speech in Houston, he claimed the city has the “only one refinery in the country that can refine” it.

Facts First: It’s not true that Houston has the only refinery or refineries – in the US or the world – that can refine oil from Venezuela. Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, provided CNN with a chart of US refineries that have taken Venezuelan crude this year; they include facilities in Mississippi, Louisiana and elsewhere in Texas.

– CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this item.

The Keystone XL pipeline and jobs

Criticizing Biden for canceling the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in 2021, Trump said in a November speech in Texas, “Forty-eight thousand jobs, 48,000 people. They gave their life for that, and they never really sort of recovered. That’s what they wanted to do.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that 48,000 people “gave their life” for Keystone XL jobs is false. The company behind the pipeline said after Biden’s cancellation decision that it would cut 1,000 unionized jobs in Canada and the US as a result.

A 2014 report from the Obama administration’s State Department had estimated that “a total of 42,100 jobs throughout the United States would be supported by construction of the proposed Project.” But that’s still not 48,000, and it doesn’t mean that 42,100 people were actually working on the project in 2021.

The key word is “supported.” The 42,100-jobs estimate wasn’t an estimate of people who would actually be devoting their workdays to the pipeline. It included an estimated 26,000 jobs that would supposedly have resulted “from indirect and induced spending” by people connected to the project, like spending by employees of construction contractors or suppliers.

China and the Paris climate accord

In a November speech in Texas, Trump criticized the Paris climate accord, calling it “one of the greatest rip-offs.” As he did as president, he also made false claims about China in relation to the accord – saying this time that “China was exempt” from the accord. He added, “China didn’t have to do anything until 2035, think of it.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are false.

China was not “exempt” from the Paris accord; the agreement came into effect for all participating countries, including China, in November 2016. The accord simply allowed each nation to set its own targets for reducing carbon emissions.

And though China picked approximately 2030 as the time by which it planned to have carbon emissions peak (later saying the goal was to hit the peak before 2030), that did not mean China didn’t have to do anything until 2030, much less not do anything until 2035. Similarly, when the Obama administration set a target of reducing US emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, that did not mean that the US was exempt or didn’t have to do anything until 2025.

China has made massive investments in wind and solar energy since its commitment to the Paris accord – while also drawing criticism from environmentalists for ramping up its use of coal.

Foreign affairs

Military equipment left in Afghanistan

Trump said in speech after speech that the US left $85 billion worth of military equipment to the Taliban when Biden pulled American troops out of Afghanistan in 2021.

Facts First: Trump’s $85 billion figure is false. While a significant quantity of military equipment that had been provided by the US to Afghan forces was indeed abandoned to the Taliban upon the US withdrawal, the Defense Department has estimated that this equipment had been worth about $7.1 billion – a chunk of the roughly $18.6 billion worth of equipment provided to Afghan forces between 2005 and 2021. And some of the equipment left behind was rendered inoperable before US forces withdrew.

As other fact-checkers have previously explained, the “$85 billion” is a rounded-up figure (it’s closer to $83 billion) for the total amount of money Congress appropriated during the war to a fund supporting the Afghan security forces. A minority of this funding was for equipment.

Guns and Afghanistan

Trump claimed in a November speech in New Hampshire that the US had left “700,000 rifles” to the Taliban upon the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. In an October speech in Florida, he said it was “700,000 guns and rifles.”

Facts First: Trump’s “700,000” figure is inaccurate, an exaggeration. An inspector general report to Congress in 2022 said: “Since 2005, the DoD procured 427,300 weapons worth $612 million for the Afghan military and security forces, including 258,300 rifles, 6,300 sniper rifles, 64,300 pistols, 56,155 machine guns, 31,000 rocket propelled grenade launchers, and 224 howitzers. [The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy] noted that 316,260 of these weapons, worth $511.8 million, were in the Afghan forces’ stocks when the former government fell, but their operational condition was unknown.”

China and Taiwan

In a November speech in Florida, Trump claimed of China: “The day I left, they flew 28 bombers right over the middle of Taiwan, because that was a signal.”

Facts First: Trump was wrong about key details of this incident. On the third and fourth days of the Biden presidency, not the very day Trump left office, China sent military planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone over the Taiwan Strait – not “right over the middle of Taiwan,” a major difference. And the incident involved 28 Chinese planes but not “28 bombers”; The New York Times reported at the time that the Taiwanese military said eight Chinese bombers were involved; the other planes were fighters, anti-submarine aircraft and a reconnaissance plane.

It’s worth noting that China also sent planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone during Trump’s presidency. In early 2021, Taiwan News reported that, according to a recent report funded by Taiwan’s government, “In 2020, the Chinese military violated Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) more times than in any year since 1996.”

US alliances under Biden

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that, under Biden, “Relations with other countries – we’ve lost every country; we don’t even have any allies anymore, they don’t respect us. I mean, we don’t have any. We have nothing going. You take a look, and China is our best ally, I think, with him.”

Facts First: Both of these Trump claims are false. The US continues to have numerous allies around the world and continues to have numerous points of friction with China. There is simply no basis for claiming that China, which Biden describes as a competitor to the US, has become the closest US ally under Biden. “China is a strong trading partner with the US, but it is as far from an ally a country can be,” said Krista Wiegand, director of the University of Tennessee’s Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs.

Wiegand said: “From the beginning of his administration, Biden has worked hard to repair relations with US allies that were weekend under the Trump administration. US relations with its allies are closer than they have been in years especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Netanyahu and the assassination of an Iranian general

In an October speech in Florida, Trump criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for supposedly pulling Israel out from its planned involvement in the Trump-ordered 2020 assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Then, using Netanyahu’s nickname, Trump said: “And then Bibi tried to take credit for it. That wasn’t good. That didn’t make me feel too good. But that’s alright.”

Facts First: Netanyahu did not try to take credit for the 2020 assassination of Soleimani. In fact, he explicitly said the day of the assassination that “President Trump deserves all the credit” – emphasizing the “all” – “for acting swiftly, forcefully, decisively.”

NBC News reported in 2020 that Israeli intelligence had played a role in the killing; the former head of Israeli military intelligence said the same in 2021. But Netanyahu has not made such comments himself, let alone take credit for the killing itself. The Jerusalem Post reported in 2022 that “although NBC News and Yahoo News had published detailed pieces about Israel’s role, all official Israeli echelons had been mum on the issue” until the former intelligence chief spoke out.

Iran’s retaliation for Soleimani’s death

In various speeches, Trump hinted or explicitly claimed that Iran intentionally avoided hitting a base that housed US troops in Iraq when Iran launched missiles toward the base in January 2020 in retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani.

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said the missiles “all landed a little outside the base” and that Iran “needed some kind of reply, I guess, but they didn’t hit us.” In a November speech in Houston, he claimed that Iran had called the US to assure them that none of the missiles would strike the base, and indeed all of the missiles either blew up before arrival or landed “outside the base area.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that all of Iran’s missiles landed outside the base are false. As The Washington Post noted in its own recent fact check, 11 Iranian missiles hit the al-Asad base Iran had targeted in the retaliatory attack. The fact that missiles hit the base was confirmed by satellite images, by the Pentagon, and by a CNN visit to the base days after the attack. CNN reported from the scene: “Ten of the 11 missiles struck US positions at the sprawling desert Iraqi airbase. One struck a remote location on the Iraqi military’s side.” CNN reported that “the Iranian missiles, which used on-board guidance systems, managed to shred sensitive US military sites, damaging a special forces compound, and two hangars, in addition to the US drone operators’ housing unit.”

While no US troops were killed, more than 100 were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries. Gen. Mark Milley, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, told reporters that he believed Iran’s intent was to kill; he credited “the defensive techniques that our forces used” for the absence of deaths.

Trump has provided no substantiation for the claim that Iran called the US to telegraph the strike and offer reassurance; as the Post reported, Iraq’s prime minister said he received a general warning from Iran that it was about to begin its response and target US troops.

Trump’s claim that Israel had abandoned the assassination operation has also been disputed.

What the Biden administration said about Israel and Hezbollah

Trump repeatedly claimed that a top Biden national security official, or multiple officials, had foolishly said that they hoped Hezbollah did not attack Israel from the north because Israel is especially “vulnerable” there.

For example, Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire:
“How about the person, the security person, top security person for Biden, said, ‘I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack us from the north because that’s where we’re most vulnerable.’ Can you believe it? The following morning, we get attacked from the north. No, can you believe the guy, he’s a national security advisor. ‘I hope that Hezbollah doesn’t attack Israel from the north because that’s where we’re the most vulnerable.’ The following morning they got attacked. But this is what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with stupid people.”

Facts First: Trump was misstating what Biden administration officials said. They did urge Hezbollah to refrain from attacking Israel from Lebanon after Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza, and expressed “concern” about the possibility of a Hezbollah attack – but contrary to a central component of Trump’s stories, they did not say Israel is “most vulnerable” in the north.

Asked what Trump was referring to when he made these claims, campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung pointed to October comments from National Security Council spokesman John Kirby and a senior defense official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity. But neither of them said what Trump claimed.

Cheung pointed to this comment from Kirby at an October 11 press briefing: “And, you know, we’ve been watching with concern some of the rocket attacks that have come across the northern border of Israel from Lebanon, which obviously were coming from – from Hezbollah. So we’re – we’re clearly concerned about that.”

But Kirby said nothing there about the north being a particular vulnerability for Israel. Similarly, the anonymous senior defense official told reporters on October 9: “We are deeply concerned about Hezbollah making the wrong decision and choosing to open a second front to this conflict.” The official did not point to the north as a special vulnerability.

The size of Iran’s military

Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida: “You know, Iran’s got close to a 3 million person army, military. That’s big stuff. You know, that’s no longer the minor leagues.”

Facts First: Trump’s “3 million” figure is false. “Iran’s army is about a million strong, with 1/3 of that number comprised of reservists,” Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group think tank, said in an email. In 2019, the US government’s Defense Intelligence Agency used similar numbers in a report on Iran’s military power, estimating that Iran’s military had a total of 1.06 million people, including 610,000 active personnel.

Singapore and drugs

Promoting his proposal to give the death penalty to drug dealers, Trump said in a November speech in New Hampshire, “Why wouldn’t you do it as Singapore does, the death penalty. They have no drugs whatsoever, no drugs whatsoever.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that Singapore has “no drugs whatsoever” is false. Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau said in an official report on the local drug situation in 2022: “Methamphetamine, heroin, and cannabis were the three most commonly abused drugs in 2022, with 95% of drug abusers arrested abusing at least one of these three drugs.” The report also noted that the bureau had made seizures of heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis, cocaine and various other drugs, and it said that “in Singapore, the rise of cannabis abuse is of major concern.”

In the same speech, Trump claimed that China, which also executes some drug dealers, has “no drug problem” as a result. Joseph Amon, director of the Office of Global Health at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, said in a November email: “There is no specific definition of what is a drug ‘problem,’ but both in both China and Singapore there are people who use illicit drugs and in both countries illicit drug use is seen as a significant concern requiring government resources in terms of policing, surveillance, prevention and treatment.”

An Iraqi judge

In an October speech in Florida, Trump claimed that the Justice Department recently invited an Iraqi judge to visit Washington – and “after that, the foreign judge issued a warrant for my arrest for blowing up the number one terrorist in the world, Soleimani. So he came in, he was invited by this incompetent president. ‘Please come in.’ And he ended up issuing an arrest for my – he wanted to arrest me because I killed the number one terrorist in the world.”

Facts First: Trump’s narrative is thoroughly inaccurate. The judge, Faiq Zidan, head of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, did not issue a warrant for Trump’s arrest over the Soleimani assassination “after” he visited Washington – and, in fact, Zidan’s spokesperson told Fox News in October that Zidan’s planned visit to Washington had been postponed. What actually happened was that in early 2023, while marking the third anniversary of the assassination, Zidan gave public remarks in which he discussed how Trump was already wanted for the assassination (which took place in Iraq and also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces). An Iraqi court had issued an arrest warrant for Trump in 2021.

There is no indication that Biden himself had invited Zidan to Washington. (The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment about the matter.) Regardless, Trump’s claim that Zidan visited Washington and then issued an arrest warrant isn’t true.

A memo about migrants

Trump said in an October speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition: “Just days ago, Customs and Border [Protection] – who are incredible people by the way – distributed a memo warning that Hamas, Hezbollah fighters and jihadists are infiltrating across our wide-open border.
They’re all over the place.”

Facts First: Trump inaccurately described this memo, which was produced by the intelligence unit at the Customs and Border Protection office in San Diego. The memo, a “situational awareness” brief for employees that was obtained by right-wing media outlets, suggested that foreign fighters affiliated with Middle East militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah “may” try to enter the US across the Mexican border.
Contrary to Trump’s claim, the memo did not say these fighters “are” coming across the border or are “all over the place.” 

Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington subsequently issued an official statement to media outlets saying, “CBP has seen no indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the United States.”

The San Diego memo warned that people “inspired by, or reacting to, the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border.” The memo mentioned the possibility of attempted entry by “foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune.”

Migration from China

Trump spoke in a November speech in Florida about young male migrants crossing the border into the US. He said, “And they’re coming from China – 16% come from China.”

Facts First: Trump’s “16%” figure is inaccurate. Official data from US Customs and Border Protection shows that Chinese nationals were involved in about 1.6% of nationwide border encounters in the 2023 fiscal year, an increase from 1% in the 2022 fiscal year but nowhere near Trump’s claim. At the southwest border in particular, Chinese nationals made up just under 1% of encounters in fiscal 2023 – a spike from fiscal 2022, when they made up less than 0.1% of encounters, but again far from what Trump said.

The federal data is not broken down by sex.

US and European aid to Ukraine

Trump said in an October speech in Iowa that although “everybody feels badly for Ukraine,” he has a “problem with” Europe’s level of assistance to Ukraine compared to US assistance to Ukraine: “So if you look at it, Europe – so they’re at $25 billion and we’re $200 billion. Only a stupid person would make that deal.”

Facts First: Trump’s figures are grossly inaccurate. Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks aid to Ukraine, found that, through July 31, the European Union was the largest contributor of aid to Ukraine since late January 2022 (including military, humanitarian and financial aid), at $85.1 billion in direct commitments, while the US was second at $76.8 billion – and the total for Europe is even higher if you add in contributions by individual EU member states directly and through EU institutions. For example, Germany had made $23.1 billion in its own commitments, per the Kiel Institute data, in addition to providing another $19.2 billion via EU institutions.

The US was the largest contributor of military aid in particular, at $46.6 billion in commitments compared to about $18.9 billion for Germany.

Trump’s legal cases

Trump’s New York civil case

Criticizing the civil fraud trial against him in New York, Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida that “it’s the first time they’ve ever used the statute” and that “they used the statute that’s never been used before.”

Facts First: This is false. New York Executive Law 63(12), the 1956 statute that New York Attorney General Letitia James invoked in filing the lawsuit that led to the civil trial, has been used for decades by New York attorneys general against a wide range of entities, ranging from an e-cigarette company to school bus companies to oil and gas giant ExxonMobil (which won its case). In fact, it had also been used against Trump University and the Trump Foundation, generating millions in settlements.

The law gives the state attorney general broad powers against people thought to be engaged in alleged “repeated fraudulent or illegal acts” or who have otherwise shown “persistent fraud or illegality.” Some experts have said that this James lawsuit against Trump over business fraud (as opposed to consumer fraud) is a novel use of the statute, but Trump’s claim was that the statute had never been used before, period.

A lawyer at the Manhattan DA’s office

In a November speech in New Hampshire, Trump claimed that Biden is behind the criminal case brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump also complained that Bragg’s office had hired a former senior official in the federal Justice Department, Matthew Colangelo.

Speaking of Biden, Trump said, “He took his top person from the Department of Justice and put him into the local New York, Manhattan DA’s office – running it. You’re not even allowed to do that. But they took the top person, as you know; I believe the name is Colangelo. They took the top person and put him into the Manhattan DA’s office.”

Facts First: There is no evidence that Biden had anything to do with Colangelo’s decision to join the Manhattan district attorney’s office in 2022 as senior counsel to Bragg. Regardless, Trump’s claim that Bragg’s hiring of Colangelo was “not even allowed” is wrong. Colangelo was free to get a new job.

Colangelo and Bragg knew each other before Bragg was elected Manhattan district attorney. They worked at the same time in the office of New York’s state attorney general – where Colangelo investigated Trump’s charity and Trump’s financial practices and was involved in bringing various lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Colangelo served as acting associate attorney general in the first months of the Biden administration in early 2021 and then as principal deputy associate attorney general. As acting associate attorney general, he was third in command of the Justice Department.

Trump’s federal gag order

Trump criticized the gag order imposed on him by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over his federal election subversion case. Before Trump noted that the gag order was put on hold by an appeals court in early November (pending oral arguments later in November), he said in a November speech in New Hampshire: “I mean, I have a judge in Washington DC who put a gag order on me – I cannot speak. So if the fake news asked me a question about, like, something, I cannot speak. ‘I’m sorry.’ How do you think that would be in a campaign?…‘Uh what do you think about the campaign?’ ‘I’m sorry, I can’t comment.’”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are false. Even before the gag order was put on hold, it’s not true that the order meant Trump couldn’t comment on the election campaign or that it meant he “cannot speak” in general. The gag order was limited, tailored to restrict speech the judge believed could jeopardize the integrity of the case. It clearly permitted Trump to opine on the campaign.

The order explicitly said that Trump was free to assert his innocence on the charges against him and to criticize the government, the Biden administration, the Justice Department, and the platforms and policies of his “current political rivals.”

The order specifically prohibited all “interested parties” in the case, which include Trump, from making statements (or directing others to make statements) targeting special counsel Jack Smith or his staff, court staff and supporting personnel, defense counsel or their staff, or “any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.”

The Presidential Records Act

Trump, who has been charged with illegally retaining classified documents after his presidency, claimed in an October speech in Florida that, as a former president, “I come under the Presidential Records Act” and so “I can do whatever I want.”

Facts First: This is false. The Presidential Records Act does not say a president can do whatever they want with official documents. Rather, it says that all presidential records belong to the federal government the moment the president leaves office. By having official records at Mar-a-Lago after his presidency, Trump was in clear contravention of the law.

The key sentence from the Presidential Records Act is unequivocal: “Upon the conclusion of a President’s term of office, or if a President serves consecutive terms upon the conclusion of the last term, the Archivist of the United States shall assume responsibility for the custody, control, and preservation of, and access to, the Presidential records of that President.”

Trump didn’t mention it in the October speech, but he has previously claimed that a district court decision in a civil case related to former President Bill Clinton gave Trump the right to do whatever he wants with presidential records. That’s not true.

Trump’s New York civil trial

Trump claimed in a November speech in Florida that Biden is behind his civil fraud trial in New York: “Even that stupid trial going on in New York which has been totally discredited – everybody’s been discredited – that all comes out of the White House; that’s to discourage people from voting.”

Facts First: There is no basis for the claim that Biden or the Biden White House is behind the civil trial. The case was brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James – after an investigation she began in 2019, roughly two years before Biden became president. As Trump has repeatedly noted, James, a Democrat, campaigned in 2018 on a pledge to pursue Trump. (Also, federal agencies do not have jurisdiction over state cases like this.)

James filed the lawsuit that led to this trial in September 2022 – about two months before Trump launched his 2024 campaign.

Al Capone’s indictments

Trump repeatedly denounced the four criminal cases against him  as unfounded and politically motivated – and, to underscore his point, he claimed in speech after speech that he has been indicted four times while the legendary gangster Al Capone only got indicted once.

For example, Trump said in an October speech in Florida: “Did anybody ever hear of Al Capone? The greatest of all time, right. The greatest gangster of all time. If you look at him wrong, he’d kill you, and he’d kill you with his hands. He was a tough guy. He got indicted one time. I got indicted four times.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that Capone was indicted only one time is false. Capone was indicted at least six times, as A. Brad Schwartz, the co-author of a book on Capone, told CNN.

And that doesn’t include various criminal charges against Capone that did not involve an indictment, such as some misdemeanors, or obscure Capone cases for which CNN couldn’t immediately determine whether there was an indictment, which you can read more about here.

Capone was indicted three times in 1931 alone, the year he was famously convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Schwartz, co-author of the book “Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago,” explained that these three indictments were: “A secret indictment for tax evasion handed down in March 1931 (before the statute of limitations ran out for charges from the year 1924)”; a larger indictment in June 1931, with more than 20 counts, for tax evasion in the period from 1925 to 1929; “and a bootlegging conspiracy indictment, based on the work of Eliot Ness and his Untouchables, later that same month.”

Before the landmark 1931 conviction, Capone was arrested, indicted and convicted in 1929 for carrying concealed weapons in Philadelphia. Schwartz also noted two lesser-known indictments of Capone that did not result in a conviction: a 1926 federal indictment for conspiracy to violate Prohibition laws and a 1933 county indictment for racketeering.

Trump faces 91 total counts over his two federal indictments and two local indictments in Georgia and New York. Schwartz said: “This isn’t a race, of course, but it may be worth noting that Capone is also way ahead in individual counts (the 1931 Prohibition indictment alone added up to five thousand conspiracy charges).”

Biden’s statements

Biden’s comments about terror threats

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that Biden had “proclaimed that the number-one terror threat was not ISIS or al Qaeda, but Trump supporters, MAGA supporters.”

Facts First: This is false. Biden has never said that Trump supporters or supporters of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement are the country’s number-one “terror threat,” though Biden has more generally described Trump and MAGA supporters as a threat to the country. When talking about terrorism in particular, Biden has repeatedly said that the “greatest” or “most dangerous” threat is “White supremacy” or “domestic terrorism rooted in White supremacy.” 

Biden notably said in a September 2022 speech that “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic” and that “MAGA forces…fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.” But he didn’t rank these “MAGA forces” as the country’s “number-one terror threat.” Nor has he ever singled out Trump supporters when discussing the terror threat from White supremacists.

Biden’s claims about his past

Mocking Biden’s penchant for embellishing his biography, Trump said in an October speech in Florida, “Listen, the other day they were talking about truckers; he said he was a trucker. Then they were talking about airline pilots; he said he was an airline pilot. He said he was an airline pilot.” When the audience laughed, he said, “No, no. He said he was an airline pilot.”

Facts First: Trump made a false claim while mocking Biden for making false claims. Trump was right that Biden has inaccurately claimed to have driven a truck in the past – though Biden made such claims in 2021, not “the other day” as far as we can tell – but Trump was wrong that Biden has falsely claimed to be an airline pilot. That simply never happened.

This wasn’t a one-time slip by Trump; he made a similar claim in September.

What Biden said about ammunition

Trump claimed in a November speech in Florida: “Biden said this a couple of months ago: ‘We have no ammunition.’” Trump repeated moments later, “Biden got up and he said, ‘We have no ammunition.’ Now, number one, we should never be put in that position. But assuming it’s true, who the hell would say it?”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that Biden said “we have no ammunition” is false. Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in a July interview that the US was “low on” a particular kind of munition needed by Ukraine in its war with Russia, 155 millimeter artillery shells. Biden did not say the US had none of even these shells, let alone say the US had no ammunition at all.

The economy

Inflation

Trump said in a November speech in Florida: “We are a nation that has the highest inflation in 50 years.”

Facts First: This claim is wrong in two ways. First, even when the inflation rate hit its Biden-era peak of 9.1% in June 2022, that 9.1% rate was the highest since 1981 – between 40 and 41 years prior, not “50 years” or “over 50 years” as Trump has claimed. (He has a longstanding habit of exaggerating even figures that would be helpful for him if he cited them correctly.) Second, Trump’s present-tense “has” is no longer accurate. Inflation has declined sharply since the June 2022 peak, and the most recent available rate at the time he spoke, for September 2023, was 3.7% – a rate that, the Biden presidency aside, was exceeded as recently as 2011, far less than 50 years ago. The rate fell to 3.2% in October.

Bacon and inflation

Decrying inflation under Biden, Trump claimed in three of his speeches – as he has before – that the price of bacon is now five times what it used to be, saying in an October speech in New Hampshire that the increase happened “in the last year and a half.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that the price of bacon has quintupled in the Biden era is not close to true. The average price of sliced bacon actually declined about 1.7% over the year and a half preceding Trump’s comments, going from $7.203 per pound in March 2022 to $7.083 per pound in September 2023 (the most recent available monthly data at the time he spoke). The price increased by about 21.5% since the $5.831 per pound price January 2021, the month Biden took office – a substantial hike, but still far from the 400% increase Trump keeps claiming.

Household income under Biden

In the same October speech in New Hampshire in which Trump claimed “real family income increased over $6,000 a year” during his presidency, he also said, “The typical family has lost over $7,400 in annual income with crooked Joe in the White House.”

Facts First: This is false, too.

Biden-era data for real median household income is only available through 2022; the 2022 figure, $74,580, was down $2,080 from 2020. So where did Trump get the assertion that family incomes have declined by $74,000 under Biden? As PolitiFact noted, Trump’s campaign has said he is referring to a January estimate from a right-wing think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

But that Heritage estimate is far out of date, especially because the inflation rate has declined sharply since then. And it is not a fair comparison to the federal figures Trump was citing for his own era, which are calculated in a much different way than the Heritage estimate.

Biden and taxes

In an October speech in Iowa, Trump said, purporting to describe Biden’s position on taxes, “We’re gonna have you pay the highest taxes in the history.” He said, “I gave you the greatest tax cut in history and they want to double, triple everything.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims about Biden’s tax policies are false. Biden is not proposing anything close to the highest taxes in history or to double or triple the tax rates that existed under Trump.

Howard Gleckman, senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute think tank, said in an email: “I don’t know what ‘they want to double, triple everything’ means. But if he’s suggesting that Biden would ‘double, triple’ federal income taxes, he’s just making up numbers. There is no evidence to support that claim.” Gleckman said his organization’s analysis of Biden’s budget proposal for fiscal 2024, which included his most recent tax plan, found that the major tax provisions would “would raise taxes by an average of $2,290, or reduce taxable income by 2.3 percent.”

That’s nowhere close to a doubling or tripling – and it’s important to note that Biden’s proposals would not be a tax hike at all for many households. Gleckman said, “Nearly all this increase would be paid by the highest income households. We projected that the bottom 2 quintiles (those making about $60,000 or less) would pay less tax than under current law. Middle income households would pay about the same.”

The US dollar

Trump repeatedly claimed in October speeches that “our currency is crashing and will soon no longer be the world standard.”

Facts First: We can’t fact check Trump’s prediction about what will happen “soon,” but his October claims that the US dollar was “crashing” were not true. By various measures, which you can learn more about in this previous fact check, the dollar was significantly stronger against foreign currencies at the time he spoke than it was when he left office, though it had dropped from its late-2022 peak. For example, when Trump made the claim on October 23, the Fed’s Nominal Broad U.S. Dollar Index was up about 11% since Trump’s last full day in office in 2021.

The dollar did fall in early November, but it remained well above early-2021 levels.

Demand for houses

In a November speech in Florida, Trump lamented the increase in mortgage rates under Biden, then said, “And you can’t get the money anyway so what difference does it make. Nobody’s buying houses anymore.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that “nobody” is buying houses anymore is false, a massive exaggeration. While sales of existing homes fell in September to the lowest level in 13 years, an October forecast from the National Association of Realtors projected that there would be a total of 4.15 million existing homes sold in 2023. That would be down 17.5% from 2022’s level, but 4.15 million is certainly not nothing. In addition, sales of newly constructed homes are actually projected to increase 4.5% this year over last, to 670,000.

– CNN’s Anna Bahney contributed to this item.

Various Republicans and Democrats

Nikki Haley on refugees from Gaza

Trump, speaking of fellow Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “But she flip-flopped – last week, you saw that disaster – after proposing to flood America with refugees from Gaza. Oh, that sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it?”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is wrong. Haley did not propose taking in a large number of refugees from Gaza. Trump was falsely portraying her October 15 response to a question from CNN anchor Jake Tapper that was not even about US refugee policy toward Gaza. As CNN explained in a previous fact check, Haley never said anywhere in her comments to Tapper that she wanted the US to take in refugees from Gaza.

Rather, the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations was asked by Tapper for her thoughts about DeSantis having said that while the people of Gaza are not all Hamas, “they are all antisemitic” and “none of them” believes Israel has the right to exist. Haley responded that many Gazans don’t want to be ruled by Hamas, just as many Iranians oppose the regime that governs them, and the US should continue to distinguish between terrorists and civilians.

She did not say the US should take in any of these Gaza civilians as refugees. And in subsequent remarks, Haley has expressed firm opposition to the US accepting refugees from Gaza. She argued on Fox in October that “Hamas-sympathizing” Middle Eastern countries should take in these refugees instead.

Covid-19 restrictions in Florida and other states

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump criticized DeSantis for imposing restrictions on his state during the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump contrasted DeSantis’ Florida with the Republican-run states of Tennessee, South Carolina and South Dakota, claiming those states’ leaders “kept them open.” He made the same claim in a November speech in Florida.

Facts First: Trump’s claims that South Carolina and Tennessee were kept “open” during the pandemic is false. Early in the pandemic in 2020, the Republican governors of both of those states ordered non-essential businesses to close, ordered residents to limit their movements, ordered schools closed (in South Carolina) or demanded that school districts themselves close schools (in Tennessee), stopped public access to outdoor spaces such as beaches and state parks, and then imposed capacity limits on various businesses during a gradual reopening process. DeSantis imposed broadly similar policies in Florida at the beginning of the pandemic.

Trump’s claim is at least somewhat more accurate with regard to South Dakota, which did not impose statewide restrictions on individual movement or business operations. Gov. Kristi Noem did, however, impose or recommend some limitations, which you can read more about here.

DeSantis and ideological screening of immigrants

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said this about DeSantis: “And the campaign rapidly opposed my call for tough ideological screening on all foreign nationals. He was totally against it. Two days later, Ron [DeSantis] flip-flopped and plagiarized my entire plan.”

Facts First: It’s not true that DeSantis flip-flopped on the issue of “ideological screening” of immigrants or that he plagiarized Trump’s proposal for such screening. He has not expressed support for Trump’s proposal.

It’s true that the DeSantis campaign opposed Trump’s screening idea. DeSantis campaign official Christina Pushaw criticized the idea on social media on October 17, writing a terrorist could simply lie about their beliefs and that an ideological screening program would likely end up being used by the federal government against conservatives. But DeSantis has not flip-flopped in favor of the idea.

Repeating his call to refuse entry to any refugees from Gaza, DeSantis said on Fox on November 14 that he favors completely prohibiting entry of people from societies with “toxic cultures” rather than trying to undertake the “difficult” task of using screening to divide individuals from such places into good and bad. “I think you just say, ‘You know what, we’re not going to do it,’” he said.

Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis

In a November speech in Texas, Trump told a version of a story he has told before about why he endorsed DeSantis’ campaign for governor of Florida during a Republican primary in 2018. He said, “Ron was one of about 150 that were out there all the time saying the impeachment hoax number one, impeachment hoax number two – that they’re hoaxes, right? And I appreciated that. So I said, ‘Alright, look, we’ll do it. It’s going to be tough, but we’ll do it.’”

Facts First: Trump’s story about endorsing DeSantis because of his stance on a Trump “impeachment hoax” cannot possibly be true. Trump issued his official endorsement of DeSantis in June 2018 – but his first impeachment battle, over his efforts to use the power of the presidency to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate Biden, did not begin until the fall of 2019. Trump might have been thinking of how DeSantis, then a member of the House, defended him over a special counsel investigation in 2017 into his campaign’s relationship with Russia, which he has also called a “hoax,” but that probe did not lead to impeachment.

Obama’s comments about manufacturing

In a November speech in Texas, at an engineering company specializing in offshore drilling, Trump reprised his old misstatement about Barack Obama’s comments about the future of American manufacturing.

After his false claim to have created 1.2 million manufacturing jobs, Trump said, “Everybody said that was impossible. Obama said it was not possible. He thought we gave up on manufacturing, that places like this…wouldn’t exist. You know that. He said that they’ll be made in other places, you know, we would have nothing to do. What are we going to do?”

Facts First: This is false. Obama did not think the US “gave up on manufacturing,” that products would simply be “made in other places” or that “we would have nothing to do.” As Trump did during his presidency, he appeared to be misstating a comment Obama made at a PBS town hall in 2016.

At that event, Obama scoffed at Trump’s campaign promises to bring back what Obama called “jobs of the past” without providing specifics on how he would do so. Contrary to Trump’s repeated claims, though, Obama didn’t say US manufacturing was dead or that new US manufacturing jobs could not be created. In fact, Obama boasted of how many US manufacturing jobs were being created during his presidency, saying, “We actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today than we’ve had in most of our history.”

Infanticide

Talking about abortion during an October speech in Iowa, Trump said that “the Democrats are the radicals because they’ll kill a baby in four months, five months, six months, seven months, eight months, nine months – and even after birth. They’re allowed to kill, in some cases, after birth.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that “they’re allowed to kill, in some cases, after birth” is false. That is infanticide, illegal in all 50 states.

There are some cases in which parents decide to choose palliative care for babies who are born with deadly conditions that give them just minutes, hours or days to live. That is simply not the same as killing a baby.

It’s also worth noting that a tiny percentage of abortions are performed at 24 weeks of pregnancy or later. According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 0.9% of reported abortions in 2020 occurred at 21 weeks or later. (Some of these abortions occur because of serious health risks or lethal fetal anomalies.) By contrast, 80.9% of reported abortions in 2020 were conducted before 10 weeks, 93.1% before 14 weeks and 95.8% before 16 weeks.

A comment by Maxine Waters 

In a November speech in Florida, Trump criticized the rhetoric of two Democratic members of Congress, Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Then, moments later, he made reference to comments Waters made in 2018. Trump said, “Look at some of the things that they say. They want you to walk into that restaurant and knock the hell out of them, they said. Right?”

Facts First: Trump’s description of Waters’ remark is false. Waters made a controversial comment in 2018 urging citizens to confront and harass members of Trump’s Cabinet in public places like restaurants, but she never said anyone should “knock the hell out of them.”

Amid a controversy over the Trump administration’s 2018 policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, Waters said at a 2018 rally: “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”

Waters’ remark was criticized by numerous Republicans and by some Democrats, but Trump has long exaggerated what she said. After he claimed in 2018 that Waters had called for “harm” to supporters of his political movement, CNN reported that “Waters, however, did not call for physical harm to the officials or harassment against Trump’s supporters.”

Pelosi and the attack on the Capitol

In an October speech in Florida, Trump again tried to cast blame on Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker of the House, over the attack on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on January 6, 2021. Trump said: “She’s a bad woman…And she was responsible for security at the Capitol, just so you [know] – we offered her 10,000 soldiers. She was responsible for the security of the Capitol. And she failed.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is wrong in more than one way.

First, the speaker of the House is not in charge of Capitol security. Capitol security is overseen by the Capitol Police Board, a body that includes the sergeants at arms of the House and the Senate.

Second, Pelosi’s office has explicitly said she was not even presented with an offer of 10,000 troops, telling CNN last year claims to the contrary are “lies.” And even if Pelosi had been told of an offer of National Guard troops, she would not have had the power to turn it down. The speaker of the House has no authority to prevent the deployment of the District of Columbia National Guard, which reports to the president (whose authority was delegated, under a decades-old executive order, to the Secretary of the Army).

Fourth, it’s worth noting the House select committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol found “no evidence” Trump gave any actual order for 10,000 Guard troops, and the Biden-era Pentagon told The Washington Post in 2021 it has no record of any such order. Christopher Miller, Trump’s acting defense secretary at the time, testified to the House select committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol that Trump had, in a January 5 phone call, briefly and informally floated the idea of having 10,000 troops present on January 6 but did not issue any directive to that effect. Miller said, “I interpreted it as a bit of presidential banter or President Trump banter that you all are familiar with, and in no way, shape, or form did I interpret that as an order or direction.”

Assorted other claims

The cost of an aircraft carrier

In a November speech in Texas, Trump complained about the cost and design features of a new US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, which was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean Sea in October after the Hamas attack on Israel. He claimed “it was $10 billion over budget,” repeating a bit later, “The ship is $10 billion over budget…it was supposed to cost $3 billion or less, and I think it ended up at $18 billion for one ship. One ship that’s improperly designed.”

Facts First: Trump’s numbers were way off. While the ship did cost much more than the original cost cap set by Congress, that original cap was $10.5 billion, not “$3 billion or less.” The approximate actual cost of the ship was about $13.3 billion, not “$18 billion.” In other words, it was roughly $3 billion over budget, not “$10 billion over budget.”

The actual final total cost of the ship might be even higher than the reported $13.3 billion because that number didn’t include the cost of fixing some final issues with the ship. But there’s no basis for Trump’s claim that the final cost has ended at $18 billion.

Homicides in Washington, DC

Describing Washington, DC as “a nightmare of murder and crime,” Trump said in a November speech in Iowa: “Last night, three people were killed.”

Facts First: This is false. Washington recorded one homicide on the day before this Trump speech, Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Lee Lepe told CNN.

Trump could have fairly noted that homicide and violent crime have spiked in Washington, DC this year. But the capital averages fewer than one homicide per day, so Trump’s inaccurate claim served to exaggerate the situation.

Migrants and the courts

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump claimed that only a tiny percentage of migrants show up for their immigration court hearings.

Only the really dumb ones show up. You know, nobody shows up,” Trump said. He added, “Only about 1% come back, and they’re the ones that you really don’t want, because they’re not very smart.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that “nobody shows up” and “only about 1% come back” are false and not even close to correct. Official federal figures show that the vast majority of people attend their immigration court hearings. “The statistics that are available reflect high levels of attendance,” said Michelle Mittelstadt, communications director for the Migration Policy Institute think tank.

As Mittelstadt noted, the Justice Department publishes data on the percentage of removal orders that are issued by the immigration courts “in absentia,” without the person present. The numbers prove that Trump’s claims are inaccurate: the “in absentia” rate was about 36% from the 2014 fiscal year through the 2022 fiscal year. In other words, by this key measure, just under two-thirds of people attended their hearings. And in the Biden era, attendance has been better than the recent average: the “in absentia” rate was 10% in fiscal 2021, 22% in fiscal 2022 and 34% in the portion of fiscal 2023 for which data was available.

“Empirical data show that a majority of respondents appear for their removal proceedings and suggest that failure to appear for court is associated with factors like access to counsel,” Congress’ nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in a 2022 report.

For a variety of reasons, actual attendance at immigration proceedings might be even higher than “in absentia” figures suggest. A 2021 study by the American Immigration Council, a pro-immigration organization, found that “83% of nondetained immigrants with completed or pending removal cases attended all their hearings from 2008 to 2018.”

The population of New York state

In a November speech in Florida, Trump predicted that the number of people crossing the border without authorization under Biden would end up being more than 15 million, then said, “Which is larger than New York state.” He repeated that claim in a November speech in Texas near the Mexican border, saying “I believe by the end of this administration it’ll be 15 million people – that’s bigger than New  York state – will have come into our country illegally.”

Facts First: Regardless of the merits of Trump’s “15 million” prediction, 15 million is not “bigger than New York state.” New York had a population of about 19.7 million in July 2022, the Census Bureau estimated.

Trump’s crowds

A Trump crowd vs. a Hillary Clinton crowd

Trump, who has long exaggerated about crowd sizes, reprised a claim he has made in the past about the 2016 election campaign. He said in an October speech in Florida that he had “38,000 people” at a speech in Michigan the day before the election while Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton “had like almost nobody” and “had like 100 people.”

Facts First: Each of these Trump claims is false. First, there were not 38,000 people at his election-eve speech in Michigan. Second, there was a full-house crowd of 4,600 people at Clinton’s Michigan speech that day, The Detroit News reported in 2016 – not “like 100 people.”

Trump’s exact crowd size that day is not known, but it was always clear that it was not 30,000-plus. After Trump claimed in 2017 that the crowd had 32,000 people, Nick LaFave, who was a television news anchor in Grand Rapids, where the rally took place, wrote on Twitter: “I covered that rally. The place was definitely beyond capacity. I think we estimated 8k. Many more outside who never got in. But, no way that got to 32k. None. No way.”

Trump’s rally crowds in Alabama

Boasting of the “massive crowds” at his rallies, Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida: “Alabama – we had 68,000…we had 68,000 people.”

Facts First: Trump has not had 68,000 people at any of his Alabama rallies, though he has drawn big crowds in the state.

Trump has exaggerated for years about how many people attended his rally in Mobile, Alabama in August 2015, sometimes putting the crowd at “49,000.” Mobile city officials estimated the crowd at 30,000; the event was held in a 43,000-seat football stadium that looked “less than half full,” Politico reported at the time. And local law enforcement officials offered an estimate of 45,000 people at a 2021 Trump rally in Alabama, citing the Secret Service, AL.com reported at the time.

Trump’s rally crowds in Texas

Boasting in the same Florida speech about the size of his rally crowds, Trump said, “Texas: we had 104,000 people.”

Facts First: Trump has not had a six-figure crowd at any of his Texas events. His campaign claimed in 2018 that 100,000 people had requested tickets to a rally in Houston, but ticket requesters are not actual attendees. Houston’s police chief said in 2018 that 18,000 to 19,000 people were inside the arena where Trump spoke and that another approximately 3,000 people gathered outside the arena.

The-CNN-Wire
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