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Fact Checker

What Trump got wrong on Twitter this week (#5)

By Glenn Kessler

February 10, 2017 at 3:00 AM

(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Welcome to the fifth installment of Fact Checker's series highlighting what President Trump got wrong on Twitter in a given week.

Here's a look at what Trump got wrong in 11 tweets this week, listed in chronological order.

Trump in the past has made this complaint specifically about China. But analysts have been puzzled about what he is exactly talking about. Many countries — but not the United States — have a value-added tax, in which tax is collected at each stage in the production or distribution of a product or service. But with refunds, the burden is really paid by the final consumer. Moreover, the VAT also affects domestic producers. In terms of tariffs, it is incorrect the United States charges "nothing or little." The United States imposes tariffs on Chinese goods, but they are not as high as Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods.

Trump appears to referring to a news story he posted on his Facebook account — that Kuwait had issued "its own Trump-esque visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries." Trump added: "Smart!" But it turned out this was fake news. Kuwait "categorically denies these claims," the country's foreign ministry said. Trump's Facebook post has not been taken down.

As we have repeatedly noted before, 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.

Trump tweeted a number of critical comments about the "so-called judge" who halted the president's travel ban of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. The judiciary was established in the U.S. Constitution as a third branch of government (along with the executive and legislative branches), part of the complex system of checks and balances that ensures the continuation of democracy. Marbury v. Madison, a Supreme Court case decided more than 200 years ago, helped establish the notion of judicial review and cemented the notion that the judiciary was equal in power to the president and Congress.

There is little evidence that the ruling halting Trump's order has allowed "very bad and dangerous people" to pour into the country. The practical effect of the order was to restore visas and refugee admissions. Being accepted as a refugee in the United States is a difficult, lengthy process. Obtaining a U.S. visa generally requires an in-person interview, unless you are a citizen of one of 38 countries which participate in the visa waiver program. Under a 2015 law, however, four of the seven countries covered in the ban require even dual citizens to have an in-person interview.

This odd tweet appeared aimed at reassuring Trump supporters after polls from CBS News, CNN/ORC, Gallup and Quinnipiac University showed majorities of Americans opposed to the order and its various provisions. (Other polls indicated support for Trump's order.)

In the 2016 presidential election, while polls played down Trump's chances of winning the electoral college, most nationwide polls actually were close to mark. The RealClearPolitics average showed Clinton ahead by 2.1 percentage points — exactly the margin she achieved in her popular-vote victory.

Nope, the New York Times did not apologize for its coverage of Trump. (See above.)

Trump now claims he doesn't know Putin, but in the past, he had claimed he has spoken to him. (Our colleague Philip Bump put together a chronology showing the various ways Trump has played up or played down the relationship.) Trump's assertion he has "no deals in Russia" is misleading at best, since Trump has actively pursued deals there and has relied on Russia investors. (A former federal prosecutor has alleged that "Russian money is the lifeblood of the Trump organization" and any sharp removal of Russian support "would exact a heavy financial toll" on his company.)

As for the nuclear agreement with Iran, that agreement was forged with the assistance of diplomats from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union. Former president Barack Obama did not negotiate it alone.

This is false. Bill Clinton did not have a cabinet in place until March 11, George H.W. Bush had to wait till March 17 and Obama did not get a full cabinet until April 28. Trump would have grounds to complain that at this point he has fewer Cabinet members confirmed than his predecessors. While Democrats have put up roadblocks, part of the reason for the delay is because paperwork has been slow in coming from some of Trump's wealthier nominees.

We examined this tweet in full fact check. There is no evidence that Nordstrom acted out of political considerations, and so Trump earned Four Pinocchios.

Trump lashed out at Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who had told reporters that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch had told him that he found Trump's attacks on the federal judiciary "disheartening" and "demoralizing." But Trump is wrong that Blumenthal had misrepresented Gorsuch's remarks.

Blumenthal's account was immediately confirmed by Ron Bonjean, a member of the group guiding the judge through his confirmation process on behalf of the Trump administration. Moreover, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Gorsuch was "pretty passionate" about Trump's attacks on judges. Sasse said that Gorsuch told him "any attack on … brothers or sisters of the robe is an attack on all judges."

Trump's reference to Blumenthal's "major lie" concerning Vietnam refers to a controversy that arose during Blumenthal's 2010 Senate race. Blumenthal had served in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1970-1976, after receiving five deferments, but never served overseas. But a damaging report in the New York Times showed how he often used ambiguous language that suggested to audiences he may have served in Vietnam — and at times flatly said he did.

Trump is the same age as Blumenthal — 70 — and never served in Vietnam either. He received four deferments for college — where he played sports such as football, tennis and squash — before receiving a diagnosis of a bone spur in his heels that led to a medical deferment that kept him from the war. Trump later said the bone spurs healed with no need for surgery.

As PolitiFact noted, in labeling this tweet as false, Cuomo's first question to Blumenthal was: "What is your response to the president of the United States saying you should not be believed because you misrepresented your military record in the past?" Blumenthal ducked the question, but contrary to Trump's tweet, the issue was raised.

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Glenn Kessler has reported on domestic and foreign policy for more than three decades. He would like your help in keeping an eye on public figures. Send him statements to fact check by emailing him, tweeting at him, or sending him a message on Facebook.

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