“There’s no way we lost Georgia, there is no way. This was such a rigged election.”
From his first sentence, Trump starts to lie. He lost Georgia, narrowly, to Joe Biden.
“I’ve had two elections. I won both of them. It’s amazing. And I actually did much better on the second one.”
A signature line of Trump’s rallies is that he only once ran for political office — for president — and he won. (That’s not true, as he briefly sought the Reform Party nomination in 2000.) Here, he’s trying to adjust his line by falsely claiming he won the second election — even though he lost.
“Right here in Georgia, there were tens of thousands of illegal votes cast and counted. You know that.”
There is no evidence this is the case. Georgia election officials insist the count was accurate. The vote was counted, then counted by hand and then recounted again. Officials say there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
“10,315 ballots were cast by individuals whose name and date of birth matches a Georgia resident who died in 2020 prior to the election. And your wacky secretary of state said two people, two people. 66,000 votes in Georgia were cast by people under the legal voting age. At least 15,000 ballots were cast by individuals who moved out of the state prior to the November 3 election.”
These are old chestnuts. Trump is citing claims made by Bryan Geels, a certified public accountant who owns a data analytics firm, and Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer and election data analyst. Geels came up with the first two figures and Braynard the third. But they were rejected by state officials in December and again when Trump raised them in a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday.
“The sworn statements of both analysts contain caveats and disclaimers,” noted the Atlantic Journal-Constitution in December. “They asserted their findings with ‘a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.’ They acknowledged their analyses could have produced ‘false positives’ — cases in which votes were legitimately cast. They admitted they didn’t have access to state data that would allow them to be certain of their findings. … In sworn statements filed in court, election experts and state officials offered withering assessments of the analyses by Braynard and Geels.”
Under questioning at a state hearing, Braynard acknowledged his analyses included apparent errors. “In my affidavit, I don’t believe I specifically accused anybody of committing a crime,” he said. “I said these were indications. Over and over again, ‘potential illegal ballots’ has been my language.”
“Georgia’s absentee ballot rejection rate went from an average of 3 percent in 2016 and then went down very low to almost zero. … If you multiply that out and this is with many, many more ballots pouring, it went to almost zero. … These absentee ballot rejection rates prove that the tens of thousands of illegitimate ballots were counted.”
Trump has been flogging this claim since November. But state officials have explained he’s comparing incorrect data.
“One of the numbers you’re seeing out there is that a 3 percent rejection rate versus this 0.5 percent rejection rate, but they’re comparing it to apples to oranges,” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, said at Nov. 17 news conference. “That is including [all rejected] ballots. The biggest chunk of ballots are rejected or counted as rejected showed up after the 7 p.m. deadline. That is where the majority of rejections come from. But for signature matches always run around 0.15 to 0.2 percent. That is the normal thing we’ve seen in Georgia for years.”
“Officials egregiously violated state laws in order to solicit, facilitate and promote cheating and theft on a scale never seen before. These crooked and incompetent officials suspended signature verification.”
Actually, state officials say they strengthened the signature match process. A signature is checked when a voter requests a mail-in ballot and then again when the ballot is returned.
“Let’s address this disinformation about signature match,” Raffensperger wrote on Facebook in November. “We strengthened signature match. We helped train election officials on GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation] signature match — which is confirmed twice before a ballot is ever cast.”
“I said, I want you to go to Fulton County to check the signatures because hundreds of thousands of ballots came in. I want you to check the signature to see if it compares to somebody that lived there two years, four years or six years ago.”
Trump is making up numbers here. There were only about 147,000 absentee ballots cast in Fulton County, making it impossible for “hundreds of thousands” of forged signatures. In any case, for privacy reasons, the envelope is separated from the ballot once the signature is confirmed.
“They put these drop boxes there and in a number of cases, they’d be gone for three days. … Where are they? Where are they? They were gone.”
The secretary of state’s counsel, Ryan Germany, previously told the state House Government Affairs Committee that video reviews found this to be false.
“Georgia’s secretary of state agreed to a litigation settlement, which is something that nobody’s ever seen. One like this. I want to just tell you that [voting rights advocate] Stacey Abrams took him to the cleaners, that drastically and illegally changed the state’s election procedures.”
The “litigation settlement” refers to a legal settlement signed in March, after a lawsuit by the Democratic Party, that set statewide standards for judging signatures on absentee ballot envelopes. The Democrats had argued that minorities ended up having a larger proportion of their ballots rejected, so the settlement laid out steps to notify voters if there was a potential problem with a signature match. Under the settlement, voters must be contacted the next business day — by phone or email — if their absentee ballot is rejected because of a signature issue.
“The State of Georgia entered a consent decree that essentially did one thing and one thing only … instead of giving three days to inform a voter there was an issue with their ballot, [it] is down to 24 hours when you’re within 11 days of the election,” Sterling said on Nov. 17. “That is the one and only thing that that consent order addressed in any real way.”
Raffensperger, in a Facebook post in November, noted that the rejection rate from 2018 to 2020 was the “exact same. … So, the idea that some settlement agreement that we entered into changed how counties were doing this is basically nonsense.”
“The most unhappy person right now anywhere in the United States is Hillary Clinton, because she’s asking the Democrat Party, why the hell didn’t you do this for me? Through? Why didn’t you do it for me?”
Trump baselessly suggests the Democrats could have stolen the 2016 election but chose not to do it.
“Make sure your vote is counted. Make sure they don’t let you say: ‘I’m sorry. Somebody else has already voted for you.’ ”
This has been a persistent claim by the Trump campaign in various states — that Trump supporters went to vote, only to find their ballot had already been cast (presumably by Democratic operatives) and thus they were given a provisional ballot. No evidence has ever emerged to prove this. “There have no reports of anyone being turned away on Election Day,” Raffensperger told CBS Evening News, noting the situation described by Trump surely would have been reported.
“When you win in a landslide and they steal it and it’s rigged, it’s not acceptable. Not acceptable.”
Not only did Trump lose the electoral college by 306-232 — a result that in 2016 he called a “landslide” — but he lost the popular vote by more than 7 million.
“When we got ballots in from the military with Trump all over it and they got thrown into a river, you saw that. They threw ballots into a river from the military with my name all over it. We want Trump, boom, goes into the river.”
Trump appears to make a Frankenstein-claim out of two separate, previous stories of missing ballots. The president often says a large number of “military ballots” were found in a “garbage can” in Pennsylvania. Luzerne County, Pa., officials explained in a statement that a “temporary seasonal independent contractor … incorrectly discarded [nine ballots] into the office trash” during that person’s three-day period of employment. The county’s top election official caught wind, fired the employee and launched an investigation. The Justice Department at first said all nine ballots were for Trump, violating ballot secrecy, before issuing an unusual correction to note that, actually, seven were for Trump. The department did not, however, say how many — if any — of these ballots were from military personnel.
Sometimes the president claims that Trump ballots were dumped in a river. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany previously explained that this claim was a reference to an investigation in Wisconsin. Some lost mail in Wisconsin was found on the side of a road and in a ditch line in Greenville, a small town of about 12,000 people outside the city of Appleton. The mail was supposed to be in transit to the post office, according to the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office. “Several” absentee ballots were found among three “trays” of mail, according to the sheriff’s office. Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe announced that she’d been informed by post office officials that no Wisconsin ballots were among the lost mail.
Regardless, it is not clear how the president mashed these two false tales together. There is no evidence that military ballots “with Trump all over it” were thrown into a river.
“We won the largest share of non-White vote of any Republican president in 60 years.”
Exit polls only go back to 1972, but this is false. While exit polls indicate Trump received 26 percent of the non-White vote, that still would fall short of the 27 percent share that George W. Bush received in 2004.
“Mexico is paying for the wall. If I were here, that would be because we were going to charge him a nice fee right at the entry points. And they were paying for the wall.”
Saying it does not make it so. Mexico is not paying for Trump’s border barrier. U.S. taxpayers are paying, via money Trump diverted from authorized military construction projects.
This was perhaps Trump’s most famous campaign promise — during the 2016 campaign, Trump more than 200 times said Mexico would pay for the wall — so he simply pretends that Mexico, in some way, is paying for the project or will in the future, in some ill-defined way, such as through a toll. But he has proposed no actual policy to implement this idea — and neither has Mexico accepted it.
At one point, Trump even said the reworking of the North American Free Trade Agreement will earn enough money to pay for the wall. This betrays a misunderstanding of economics. Countries do not “lose” money on trade deficits, so there is no money to earn — or appropriate for the construction of a border barrier or anything else.
“That is, you catch a criminal and you take his name. You say you’re released into our country. I ended it. You’re released. Come back in four years. We’re going to take you to court. So far, nobody’s ever shown up. I mean, literally, they almost don’t show up and turn out. That’s when I had the big debate with Biden. They come back for court. I said, no, they don’t.”
This is a regular complaint of the president’s, but it was not accurate when he debated Biden and is not accurate now.
The chain of events that Trump describes — and calls “catch and release” — applies when someone first appeals for asylum. The United States follows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, which says that a refugee enters and makes a petition, and the government makes a ruling after analyzing the facts.
The vast majority — almost 85 percent of all deportations — in the United States are ordered quickly, without a hearing before a judge. Still, Justice Department data shows the vast majority of non-detained migrants given a court date have returned and attended their immigration court proceedings. For asylum seekers, data suggests the return rate is even higher.
In other words, Trump was wrong and Biden was right.
“It’ll be the largest tax increase in the history of our country.”
Biden has proposed a significant tax increase over 10 years, with about three-quarters of the increase paid by the top 1 percent of households. It was initially estimated at $4 trillion by the Tax Policy Center, a figure often used by Trump, but a more recent analysis pegged it at $2.1 trillion. (Note: an earlier version of this fact check originally linked only to the first estimate.)
But Trump is wrong to claim this would be the biggest tax increase in history. When comparing revenue bills over many decades, percentage of the gross domestic product is the correct measure, not nominal dollars. Calculations by the Treasury Department show that tax increases in 1941 and 1942 were a larger share of the economy. Tax increases in 1951 and 1968 were also larger, but they were designed to be temporary and so are harder to compare to Biden’s proposed tax hike.
“In the first year, Biden’s tax plan would increase federal revenue by 0.68 percent of GDP [gross domestic product], making it the tenth largest tax increase since the 1940s,” according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. “In the second year of Biden’s plan, when the temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit expires, the plan would increase federal revenue by 1.52 percent of GDP, tying for the fourth largest tax increase as a share of GDP since the 1940s.” The biggest tax increase, the Revenue Act of 1942, boosted revenues 5.04 percent of GDP.
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