The Trump tax cut was the biggest in history

Trump repeated some version of this claim 127 times

Hover over Pinocchio to read a claim

Even before President Trump’s tax cut was crafted, he promised it would be the biggest in U.S. history – bigger than Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut. Reagan’s tax cut amounted to 2.9 percent of the gross domestic product and none of the proposals under consideration came close to that level. Yet Trump persisted in this fiction even when the tax cut was eventually crafted to be the equivalent of 0.9 percent of GDP, making it the eighth largest tax cut in 100 years. This continues to be an all-purpose applause line in the president’s rallies. Read more

No, President Trump's tax cut isn't the 'largest ever'

Overstating the impact of U.S. trade deficits

Trump repeated some version of this claim 126 times

President Trump frequently overstates the size of trade deficits. But he tips into Four-Pinocchio territory with his repeated use of the word “lost” to describe a trade deficit. (Alternatively, he sometimes says China “made” or “took out” $500 billion.) Countries do not “lose” money on trade deficits. A trade deficit simply means that people in one country are buying more goods from another country than people in the second country are buying from the first country. Trade deficits are also affected by macroeconomic factors, such as currencies, economic growth, and savings and investment rates. Read more

Fact-checking Trump's tough trade talk

The U.S. economy has never been stronger

Trump repeated some version of this claim 112 times

In June 2018, the president hit upon a new label for the U.S. economy: It was the greatest, the best or the strongest in U.S. history. The president can certainly brag about the state of the economy, but he runs into trouble when he repeatedly makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson or Bill Clinton — or Ulysses S. Grant. Read more

Is this the 'best economy ever'?

The U.S. has started building the wall

Trump repeated some version of this claim 104 times

President Trump has sought $25 billion to fund his long-promised wall along the southern border. But Congress has not given it to him. There was nearly $1.6 billion included in the appropriations bill he signed early in 2018 for border protection, but the legislative language was specific: None of the funds could be used for Trump’s border wall prototypes. Instead the money was restricted to fencing, and it was generally used for replacement fencing. He also frequently overstates the amount of money he has obtained for the nonexistent wall. Read more

Has construction of Trump's border wall started?

Inflating our NATO spending

Trump repeated some version of this claim 95 times

During the presidential election, Trump consistently inflated the U.S. contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Once he became president, his inaccuracy has persisted, but with a twist. He often claims that “billions and billions” of dollars have come into NATO because of his complaints. All that is happening is that members have increased defense spending as a share of their economies — a process that was started before Trump even announced his candidacy. Read more

President Trump's ongoing misunderstanding of NATO funding

The border wall will stop drug trafficking

Trump repeated some version of this claim 71 times

In demanding a wall on the southern border, Trump has asserted that it would stop the flow of drugs. But the Drug Enforcement Administration says that most illicit drugs enter the United States through legal ports of entry. Traffickers conceal the drugs in hidden compartments within passenger cars or hide them alongside other legal cargo in tractor-trailers and drive the illicit substances right into the United States. Meanwhile, fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, can be easily ordered online, even directly from China. Read more

Will a border wall stop drugs from 'pouring in?'

The U.S. has the loosest immigration laws in the world — thanks to Democrats

Trump repeated some version of this claim 54 times

Trump repeatedly claims that the United States has the loosest immigration laws, but that’s simply not true. In fact, the United States has among the world’s most restrictive laws, placing it 25th among developing nations in welcoming immigrants, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The president frequently blames Democrats for the current legal system but that’s wrong, too — much of current immigration policy was decided either under a Republican president or through court cases. Read more

Is there a law that requires families to be separated at the border?

Other countries give the U.S. bad people through the diversity visa lottery

Trump repeated some version of this claim 47 times

Trump grossly misrepresents of the diversity visa program, saying other countries deliberately choose bad people to apply. Individuals apply for the visa system, and must have at least a high school diploma or work in specific industries to be eligible for the program. As the term "lottery" implies, applicants are selected via a randomized computer drawing. The selected applicants undergo a background check before entering the country, and some applicants undergo an additional in-depth review if they are considered a security risk. Read more

President Trump's incomplete history of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Robert S. Mueller III is biased because of conflicts of interest

Trump repeated some version of this claim 42 times

Trump has often misleadingly claimed the “witch hunt” is tainted because of conflicts of interest, such as an unverified (and denied) dispute over golf fees when Mueller was a member of a Trump golf club. Eleven out of 16 attorneys on Mueller's team have contributed to Democrats, including Clinton and Obama; 13 are registered Democrats. Under federal law, Mueller is not allowed to consider the political leanings of his staff when hiring them, but he took action against a former team member when texts expressing anti-Trump sentiments were discovered. Read more

Fact Check: Do the political preferences of Mueller's team risk its independence?

Democrats colluded with Russia during the campaign

Trump repeated some version of this claim 42 times

Throughout the special counsel’s investigation of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump has sought to deflect attention by asserting that the Democrats colluded with Russia. But he has little evidence to make his case, which largely rests on the fact that the firm hired by Democrats to examine Trump’s Russia ties at the same time was working to defend a Russian company in U.S. court. In fact, U.S. intelligence agencies found that Russian entities hacked Democratic leaders' email during the campaign. Read more

Did Hillary Clinton collude with the Russians to get ‘dirt’ on Trump to feed it to the FBI?

Thousands of MS-13 members have been removed from the country

Trump repeated some version of this claim 39 times

Within six months of becoming president, the president began claiming that his administration had deported thousands of members of the violent MS-13 gang. There had been a crackdown, but the count is in the hundreds. Then, he expanded the claim to say thousands had been deported or imprisoned. But there is nothing that supports these claims. For most of the country, MS-13 is not a threat; the estimated 10,000 members are concentrated in a few Hispanic communities, primarily around Long Island, Los Angeles and the Washington area. Read more

The U.S. has spent $6 trillion (or more) on Middle East wars

Trump repeated some version of this claim 37 times

Trump started making a version of this claim shortly after taking office, first claiming $6 trillion but then quickly elevating it to $7 trillion. Trump acts as if the money has been spent, but he is referring to a study that included estimates of future obligations through 2056 for veterans' care. The study combines data for both George W. Bush's war in Iraq (2003) and the war in Afghanistan (2001), which is in Central/South Asia, not the Middle East. The cost of the combined wars will probably surpass $7 trillion by 2056, when interest on the debt is considered, almost four decades from now. Read more

Has the U.S. spent $7 trillion in the Middle East?

U.S. Steel is building many new plants

Trump repeated some version of this claim 37 times

This is one of Trump’s strangest claims. Since he imposed tariffs on steel, the president has repeatedly claimed that U.S. Steel was building new steel plants. Depending on his mood, the number has ranged from six to nine plants. But U.S. Steel made no such announcement. It merely stated that it would restart two blast furnaces at the company’s Granite City Works integrated plant in Illinois — one in March and the other in October, for a total of 800 jobs. The company in August also said it would upgrade a plant in Gary, Ind., but without creating any new jobs. Read more

Inflating gains from a 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia

Trump repeated some version of this claim 34 times

Trump has repeatedly inflated the gains from his 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, upping the amount from $350 billion to $450 billion when he came under fire for defending crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to the CIA, Mohammed ordered the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The administration, with double-counting, could only document $270 billion in tentative agreements. Separately, Trump inflated the jobs said to be created from the purported investments. Many are in Saudi Arabia, indicating few jobs would be created for Americans. Read more

Fact Check: The Trump administration’s tally of $350 billion-plus in deals with Saudi Arabia

McCain’s vote was the only thing that blocked repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Trump repeated some version of this claim 33 times

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) dramatically refused to advance in the Senate a limited repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but Trump has repeatedly used that vote as his all-purpose excuse for the failure to eliminate the health-care law. This oversimplifies the precarious state of Obamacare repeal at the time. The Senate version of full repeal had failed, with nine “no” votes from Republicans. Even if McCain had supported the "skinny" repeal, lawmakers still would have had to negotiate a compromise agreement and passage was not assured. Read more

Obama gave $150 billion to Iran

Trump repeated some version of this claim 31 times

Trump often makes it sound like the United States cut a check to Iran. He also always uses too high an estimate, $150 billion, for the assets involved. But this was always Iran’s money. Iran had billions of dollars 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. The Central Bank of Iran said the number was actually $32 billion. Read more

Fact Checker | President Trump's claims on the Iran nuclear deal

About this story

Source: Washington Post reporting. Reporting by Glenn Kessler, Meg Kelly, Salvador Rizzo, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Nicole Lewis. Bottomless Pinnocchio graphic created by Aaron Steckelberg.

Originally published Dec. 10, 2018.

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