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Fact Checker

What Trump got wrong on Twitter this week (#4)

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee

February 3, 2017 at 3:00 AM

(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Welcome to the fourth installment of Fact Checker’s series highlighting what President Trump got wrong on Twitter in a given week. Last week, we fact-checked Trump’s tweets as a part of a larger round-up of inaccurate and exaggerated statements from his first week in office.

Here’s a look at what Trump got wrong in 10 tweets this week.

Not only did Trump get spelling wrong in these tweets, the New York Times did not apologize to its subscribers for its coverage of Trump. Both the Times and The Washington Post have seen spikes in audience and subscribers. (The Post announced at the end of 2016 it is “profitable and growing.”)

By the way: Traffic to The Fact Checker is at an all-time high. We shattered our own traffic record in January 2017, when our monthly unique visitor count was 50 percent higher than the previous monthly record, set in October 2016.

This is Four-Pinocchio false. The universe of people affected by Trump’s immigration executive order is about 90,000, according to State Department statistics — and that does not count potentially tens of thousands of dual-citizens.

The 109 number only refers to people who were traveling at the time the order was signed. After we issued Four Pinocchios, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted the number did not refer to people who were detained and held.

Moreover, Trump inaccurately blames Delta. Trump’s order, signed on the evening of Friday, Jan. 27, sparked delays, confusion and protests in airports that night and throughout the weekend. Delta’s computer glitch on the night of Sunday, Jan. 29, led to cancellations that night and into Monday morning — days after the first protests and delays due to Trump’s order.

It typically takes weeks or months to get a tourist visa to enter the United States. It certainly would take months for “bad guys,” presumably with records that would take longer for background checks, to receive a tourist visa.

Trump and his administration have quibbled with the news media’s use of the word “ban” to describe the executive order. But Trump himself — see the previous tweet — called it a ban.

Trump is referring to the estimated 1,250 (not “thousands”) refugees and asylum seekers that the United States, under President Barack Obama, agreed to accept from an Australian detention center. Refugees and asylum seekers who arrive illegally by boat in Australia are called “illegal maritime arrivals.” They can apply for two types of temporary visas, and some may qualify to apply for permanent residency.

Trump threatened to pull federal funds from the University of California at Berkeley, after the public university canceled a talk by conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos. But that’s not how federal funding for public universities works, The Washington Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel wrote:

The vast majority of federal dollars that flow to colleges and universities arrives in the form of student loans and grants to cover the cost of attendance. That money, which is dispensed through what’s known as the Title IV program, does come with conditions that schools must meet, mainly involving the quality of the education.

To remain in the program, schools, for instance, can’t have scores of students defaulting on their loans year after year. Or, in the case of career colleges, they can’t lie about the number of students landing jobs after graduation. Trampling on First Amendment rights, as Trump has accused Berkeley of doing, are not grounds to be kicked out of the program.

Trump always uses too-high an estimate, $150 billion, and makes it sound like the United States cut a check to Iran. But this was always Iran’s money. Iran had billions of dollars in assets that were frozen in foreign banks around the globe, because of international sanctions over its nuclear program. The Treasury Department estimated that once Iran fulfilled other obligations, it would have about $55 billion left. (Much of the other money was obligated to illiquid projects in China.) For its part, the Central Bank of Iran said the number was actually $32 billion, not $55 billion.

The international sanctions concerning Iran’s nuclear program did significantly harm Iran’s economy, but it’s a stretch to say Iran was “ready to collapse.”

Trump seems to be citing a segment of Sean Hannity’s show, during which Hannity questioned whether there was a paid effort to galvanize protesters showing up at airports in the wake of Trump’s immigration executive order. But there’s no evidence there were paid protesters at airports. There were reports that a group called “Demand Protest” was paying people to protest against Trump on the day of his inauguration, but debunked that claim.

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Michelle Ye Hee Lee is a national political enterprise and investigations reporter for The Washington Post.

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