In a speech before Congress that sought to reset relations with his opponents President Donald Trump promised a “new chapter of American greatness”. However, he was swiftly condemned for inaccurate claims and a lack of detail. Let’s do a little fact-checking on Trump's first presidential address to Congress.
1.“Since my election, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Walmart and many others have announced they will invest billions and billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”
Fact: These corporations announced jobs and investment before the election. Yes, Ford did credit the President with its decision to create 700 jobs and make a $700m investment in Michigan, but General Motors had committed $2.9bn and Walmart had announced an expansion before any votes were cast.
2. “Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.”
Fact: The unemployment rate in January was 4.8%, which means that roughly 7.5 million people who are looking for work but can’t find it.
3. “We will create massive tax relief for the middle class.”
Fact: Trump’s tax plan helps the wealthiest Americans. Half of Trump’s tax cuts would go to the top 1% of earners and most families below the top 20% of earners would have income gains of less than 1%.
4. “Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world.”
Fact: The US is not even in the top 30 highest-taxed nations in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
5. “We’ve defended the borders of other nations while leaving our own border wide open for anyone to cross and for drugs to pour in and at a now unprecedented rate.”
Fact: The US has extremely strict vetting for visa applicants and refugees, forcing people to go through multiple rounds of interviews, background checks and medical screenings.
6. “Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison.”
Fact: This anecdote suggests a link between violence and immigrants and does not paint an accurate picture of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in America, the vast majority of whom are not violent offenders.
I know that all presidents deserve the respect that belongs to the office of the commander-in-chief. Even orange ones who trash the media, hide their business interests from public view, and praise Russian foes. Even Donald Trump deserves something more than “you lie!” Especially when he lies!
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