As part of his State of the Union address last week, Trump called for "investments in the cutting edge industries of the future," and as administration official underscored the importance of AI in "driving" these future industries for the US. When asked about China's advancements in AI and any concerns that the US may have about China stealing US innovations, the official said: "The US is the world leader in artificial intelligence. It is not surprising to us that the Chinese are interested." But as for intellectual property protections, "that is something that this specific executive order does not cover."
FACT-CHECK: This is false. Trump said, "Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth." The state recently passed a law loosening restrictions on abortions in the state, allowing abortions after 24 weeks if the fetus is not viable or when it's necessary to protect the life of the mother. The president paints the picture of a healthy mother and child, but an abortion would not be legal in that scenario after 24 weeks.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed back at critics, noting that it is "just a mirror of the federal law"--the abortion rights enshrined in the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. What's more, abortions later in pregnancy are exceedingly rare: just 1.3% of abortions in the US in 2015 took place in or after the 21st week.
NPR: Trump praised the record number of women in Congress, but that's almost
entirely because of Democrats, not Trump's party."
Social media strategist Caleb Hull pointed out that Trump "never claimed his party was responsible" for the increase in women in Congress.
OnTheIssues FactCheck: So who's right? Here's what Trump actually said: "We have more women in the workforce than ever before--and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before." Trump never claimed credit for himself nor for the Republican Party for the record number of women in Congress. Fox News is correct; NPR is incorrect. Trustworthy fact-check sources, such as OnTheIssues, always refer back to the original speech!
FACT-CHECK: It's correct that lethal drugs do come across the border, and drug overdose deaths are up: 70,237 people died from an overdose in 2017. But Trump--in pushing for a border wall--tends to ignore that the vast majority of hard drugs from Mexican cartels come into the U.S. through legal ports of entry, which wouldn't be affected by a wall.
According to the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA, "The most common method employed by these [Mexican drug cartels] involves transporting illicit drugs through US POEs (legal port-of-entry crossing points) in passenger vehicles with concealed compartments or commingled with legitimate goods on tractor trailers." The Trump administration knows this: the DHS Secretary said in April 2017 that illegal drug traffic "mostly comes through the ports of entry."
THE FACTS: That depends on what the definition of "we" is. His claim is true in the unlikely event he was also crediting Obama and other recent presidents who were aggressive about energy production. The government says the U.S. became the world's top natural gas producer in 2013, under the Obama administration.
The U.S. now leads the world in oil production, too, under Trump. That's largely because of a boom in production from shale oil, which also began under Obama.
FACT-CHECK: Since the swearing-in of President Nicol s Maduro--whom much of the international community has called illegitimate --many conservative critics have blamed the country's "21st century socialism" for unrest. But it's a more complicated picture than just the s-word. The corruption of Venezuelan leaders and the country's near-complete dependence on oil are also important components of the country's downfall.
Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Ch vez, worked to use oil revenues from the then-booming industry to fund national programs. But when oil prices collapsed in 2014, shortly after Maduro took over, the country lacked funds for those programs. U.S. sanctions on the oil industry, a result of charges of corruption and human rights abuses by Venezuelan leaders, have been another blow to the economy.
Other countries with socialist-leaning governments--like Denmark or Sweden--have not experienced similar unrest.
FACT-CHECK: One analysis of the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) found that about 851,700 U.S. jobs were displaced by the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico between 1993 (shortly before NAFTA was implemented) and 2014. That's a data point that was cited by Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign, when he frequently decried job losses due to NAFTA.
A 2014 study found that while NAFTA has caused about 203,000 jobs to be displaced by NAFTA-related imports annually, imports support 188,000 new jobs, leading to a net loss of only about 15,000 annually.
And the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in 2017 that "in reality, NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics... because trade with Canada & Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP."
THE FACTS: His rhetoric is at odds with his actions. In reality, his administration is seeking in a lawsuit to eliminate such coverage. His Justice Department is arguing in court that those protections in the Obama-era health law should fall. The short-term health plans Trump often promotes as a bargain alternative offer no guarantee of covering pre-existing conditions.
Government lawyers said in legal filings last June that they will no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, including provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions. Then-Attorney General Sessions wrote in a letter to Congress that Trump approved the legal strategy.
Obama's health care law requires insurers to take all applicants, regardless of medical history, and patients with health problems pay the same standard premiums as healthy ones.
In its fact check of Trump's State of the Union speech, NPR relayed these assessments: "As for the 'state of our Southern border,' mayors along the Southwest border consistently say that their communities are among the safest in the nation. McAllen TX Mayor Jim Darling asserted that his city is the 3rd safest in Texas, according to FBI crime statistics, and 7th safest in the nation. 'Send social workers to process the asylum-seekers, not soldiers,' Darling said. Eddie Trevino, Cameron County judge in Brownsville, added, 'It is a misconception that the border is insecure. There is no Central American invasion. This is a manufactured crisis.' "
The video features Warren Gunnels, the senator's top aide on the Senate budget committee. Trump said in the SOTU speech, "unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century." The official unemployment rate dropped as low as 3.7% in November--marking the first time it had been that low since 1969.
In the "fact-check" video, Gunnels says "the real unemployment rate--which includes those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time when they need a full-time job--is 8.1%, not 4%." Gunnels is referring to the U-6, an "alternative measure of labor underutilization." Gunnels is right that the U-6 rate is 8.1%. But this is what he doesn't tell his viewers: Under Trump, the U-6 rate had dropped to its lowest level in 17 years, the lowest since April 2001.
FACT-CHECK: FALSE. The size of the crowds attending his public events has always been supremely important to President Donald Trump, so much so that he has been known to inflate attendance numbers on more than one occasion. The tendency for exaggeration seems to have rubbed off on some of Trump's supporters, who posted on social media after his 5 February 2019 State of the Union (SOTU) address that more people had watched the president's speech on TV than had watched the 2019 Super Bowl (which is typically the most-watched television broadcast in any given year).
2019's Patriots vs. Rams match-up drew a total viewing audience of 98.2 million watchers--more than twice the viewership of any State of the Union address (including Trump's previous outing) from the past decade. [Post-SOTU reports pegged viewership of SOTU 2019 at 46 million].
To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb.
Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children--born and unborn--are made in the holy image of God.
Trump charged lawmakers in New York with having "cheered with delight" after recently passing legislation to "allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth." He accused Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam of "basically" stating that "he would execute a baby after birth." [see separate Fact-Checks!]
"There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days," Trump said, in calling for legislation to curb 3rd-trimester abortions.
It was the first time that Trump mentioned abortion in any of his three addresses to Congress since becoming president. Republicans see abortion as an issue that will help fire up Trump's base for his 2020 re-election.
The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting in NYC. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they're going to keep streaming back in.
We have unleashed a revolution in American energy--the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.
We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit. We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.
Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.
We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom--and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.
We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.
Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods--and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don't blame China for taking advantage of us--I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.
Our new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement--or USMCA--will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA.
But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.
I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.
As part of our military build-up, the US is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.
Decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities. While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.
Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't--in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.
This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well-being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.
Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.
This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier--not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.
San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country. In response, and at the request of San Diego residents and political leaders, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.
Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers faster than anyone else. The economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.
Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, build new coalitions, and forge new solutions. The decision is ours to make.
We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.
I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor--and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.
In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement--but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.
The above quotations are from 2019 State of the Union address to Congress, plus the Republican Democratic Feb. 28, 2019.
Click here for other excerpts from 2019 State of the Union address to Congress, plus the Republican Democratic Feb. 28, 2019.
Click here for other excerpts by Donald Trump.
Click here for a profile of Donald Trump.
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: [email protected]
(We rely on your support!)