Democracy Dies in Darkness

Fact Checker | Analysis

President Trump's bushel of false claims in his Fox Business interview

By Glenn Kessler, Michelle Ye Hee Lee

April 12, 2017 at 4:51 PM

(Evan Vucci/AP)

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network, President Trump made a number of factually inaccurate and dubious claims. Here’s a roundup of the lowlights.

“It’s been very much misreported that we failed with health care. We haven’t failed.”

The House Republican legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act was pulled from a looming House vote on March 24 after congressional leaders realized that it would fail to pass by a large margin. There’s no way to spin this except as a failure, especially since passage in the House would only be the first step on a long legislative journey. Senate Republicans generally are cool to the House proposal and are likely to pursue their own path. Then the two versions must be reconciled and pass both chambers before success could be declared.

But Trump failed to advance even to first base. It’s true he might get another chance at-bat, but the effort is indeed a failure so far.

“We will save perhaps $900 billion. … I’m saving a tremendous amount — hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars we’re saving on health care.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report on the Republican bill said it would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next decade. Trump appears to be referring to a $900 billion reduction in revenue from the repeal of Obamacare taxes, but that’s actually money lost to the federal government. The proposed law would have reduced federal spending on health care by $1.2 trillion but the repeal in taxes means the impact on the budget is significantly smaller.

“They’ll say, why isn’t Trump doing this faster? You can’t do it faster, because they’re obstructing. They’re obstructionists.”

Trump suggests that he isn’t filling administration posts because of Democratic obstruction. Democrats have slow-walked many of his cabinet nominees, but Trump has been much slower than his predecessors in filling sub-cabinet posts and other positions.

Out of 553 key positions requiring Senate confirmation, 478 still have no nominee, according to the Partnership for Public Service. Another 29 have been announced but not formally nominated; only 22 positions have been confirmed. Republican senators have said they are growing impatient with the White House’s slow pace. So Trump really should be pointing the finger at his own staff.

“When he was reading those charges, she was guilty on every charge. And then he said, she was essentially okay. But he — she wasn’t okay, because she was guilty on every charge.”

Trump has it backward.

On July 5, 2016, Comey issued a tough statement about Clinton’s actions concerning her private email server, saying she was “extremely careless” in the handling of classified information, but he said it is “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

Comey added that the FBI looked back at previous cases involving the handling of classified information. “We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” he said. “All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”

“When you look at Susan Rice and what’s going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now. They’re saying you know, you were right when you said that. Perhaps I didn’t know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it.”

Trump continues to grasp on slim reeds to claim he was correct when he falsely tweeted that former president Barack Obama “tapped” his phones at Trump Tower. No evidence has emerged to support that claim and it was denied by Comey.

But in recent days he has claimed former national security adviser Susan Rice may have violated laws because she requested the identities of U.S. citizens who were incidentally recorded or referenced in surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency. Numerous former national security officials said that Rice had every right to make those requests. CNN reported that a review of classified documents by both Republican and Democratic documents found no evidence that Rice and other Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal.

“’The New York Times’ said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.”

This is false. Trump is mixing up headlines written for the print and Internet versions of the article. The headlines were not changed in any nefarious manner, as Trump suggests.

The headline for the story published online on Jan. 19, 2017, read: “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates.”

That headline has not changed since it first published. The headline for the print version, published Jan. 20, read: “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.” Writing separate headlines for print and online versions is a common practice.

The difference in headlines is always noted at the bottom of the article on nytimes.com, and that note was there since the story first appeared in the print newspaper.

In any case, the text of the Times article under either headline was identical.

“What I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it and you would have had a much better — I think Syria would be a lot better off right now than it has been.”

This is a flip-flop. In 2013 and 2014, Trump repeatedly tweeted against Obama launching air attacks against Syria for allegedly deploying chemical weapons. Trump repeated this in more than a dozen tweets, saying Obama should “stay the hell out of Syria,” and that it would be “stupid” and that “very bad things will happen.” He urged Obama to instead “fix U.S.A.” and “focus on making our country strong and great again.”

“They had a big attack right after he drew the red line in the sand. They had a very big attack and everybody waited, what’s going on, and nothing happened.”

Again, this is a flip-flop. Trump now criticizes Obama for inaction after declaring a “red line,” or Obama’s threat to take U.S. military action if Syria used chemical weapons.

In September 2013, Trump mocked Obama’s announcement and warned against attacking Syria:

“Look at what’s going on in Michigan with the expansion of the plants by Ford, by General Motors, yesterday Toyota announced that they’re going to spend $1.3 to $1.9 billion in Kentucky.”

Trump continues to falsely claim credit for a host of corporate decisions that had nothing to do with his election or his policies. This Four-Pinocchio claim is Trump’s most repeated claim logged in Fact Checker’s database tracking the first 100 days of Trump’s false or misleading claims.

We’ve been keeping a running list of corporate decisions that Trump falsely credits to his election or inauguration.

Ford’s decision to expand in Michigan rather than Mexico more to do with the company’s long-term goal — particularly its plans to invest in electric vehicles — than with the administration.

In January and March, General Motors announced plans to add or keep jobs, rehire workers, and invest $1 billion in the United States. Trump took credit, but the company did not attribute the decisions to Trump’s election.

On April 10, Toyota announced a $1.3 billion investment. Asked whether Trump’s policies played a role in the company’s investment decision, Toyota’s spokesman told the New York Times: “No, but we do share his goal of growing the economy and jobs in the U.S.”

“Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.”

Not true. The campaign to reclaim the Iraqi city of Mosul was expected to be a slog. Officials from the U.S.-led coalition had predicted from the beginning of the operation that it likely would take weeks, possibly months.

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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.

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

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