“The U.S. 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 – not even close.”
Trump accurately says the most recent numbers, showing 3.4 percent GDP growth in the third quarter of 2018, are roughly twice the 1.8 percent rate from his first quarter in office. But GDP growth fluctuates, going up and down and into negative territory and then up again since the end of the Great Recession.
GDP growth has averaged 2.8 percent per quarter so far in Trump’s presidency, not much higher than President Barack Obama’s average of 2.1 percent for his two terms in office. Trump has seen growth top 4 percent in one quarter, but Obama topped it three times during his term and in one quarter topped 5 percent.
“To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.”
Trump did withdraw the United States from the deal, though the other countries that signed it are still in it.
Although some parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) sunset over time, gradually allowing Iran to pursue more nuclear energy research, the deal includes this permanent restriction: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” CIA Director Gina Haspel last month testified to Congress that Iran was technically in compliance with the terms of the deal.
Other international agreements to which Iran has committed itself also prohibit the development of such weapons. Iran also has agreed to let international monitors peer closely into its nuclear activities.
However, critics of the JCPOA have voiced concerns that — despite these strictures — Iran could keep working toward nuclear weapons capability under the guise of pursuing peaceful goals, such as a nuclear energy program.
Trump is alluding to the fact that the JCPOA gradually lifts restrictions on the types of nuclear activities and the level of uranium enrichment Iran may conduct. These and other provisions sunset over 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.
The president argues that easing these restrictions over time would open the door to Iran’s attaining nuclear weapons capability, rendering the JCPOA ultimately ineffective. But supporters of the Iran deal dispute that and say the JCPOA at least buys time, subjecting Iran to strong constraints on its nuclear activities for 10 to 25 years. Without the JCPOA, Iran could hasten its development of nuclear weapons on an even shorter timeline than the one Trump found unacceptable, they say.
“The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs — and to protect patients with preexisting conditions.”
The Trump administration has refused to defend the Affordable Care Act against a lawsuit that would end protection for patients with preexisting conditions. When the district court ruled against the law, Trump celebrated the ruling.
“We have spent more than $7 trillion dollars in the Middle East.”
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.
President Trump will give his second State of the Union address starting at 9 p.m. Tuesday. He’s expected to call for Congress to pass his immigration policies, and talk about infrastructure, health care, China and Venezuela. The president also is expected to make appeals to “heal old wounds,” according to an excerpt of his prepared remarks.
Here’s a summary of key proposals, pledges or priorities announced by Trump last year and what happened to them.