President Trump repeated several inaccurate statements at tonight's rally in Pennsylvania, including his most-repeated claims about the Veterans Choice Program and the Democrats' position on immigration reform.
Trump slid in a false claim about Veterans Choice Program. "Look what we did for our vets with choice," he said.
- Facts First: President Barack Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014; in 2018, Trump signed the VA MISSION Act, that expanded and modified the program.
Trump said under his administration median household income went up $5,000 in less than three years, "and then when when you add energy savings and you add tax savings, you have almost a $10,000 gain in three years."
- Facts First: There is no basis for Trump adding $2,000 or $3,000 for “regulatory and energy cuts” over and above the “$5,000” income growth he is asserting. The figures Trump is citing for income growth came from a company called Sentier Research, not the Census Bureau. Sentier is run by former Census Bureau officials, so its figures should not be dismissed out of hand, but it’s important to note that the Census Bureau, which uses a different methodology, has found a smaller increase in Trump-era growth. We won’t get into the debate about which numbers are better. What we can say for sure is that it does not make sense to add $2,000 or $3,000 for the supposed impact of Trump’s loosening of regulations. Trump has not provided a source for these numbers. (Sentier confirmed they did not come from the firm.) Regardless: Sentier’s income numbers are for pre-tax household income. Those pre-tax income numbers would include any income benefits from Trump loosening red tape on businesses. In essence, Trump is trying to double-count the impact of his regulatory reductions. In addition, it is entirely unclear what Trump is referring to when he talks about “energy savings.” Household energy costs have increased since Trump took office, as have gasoline costs. (Gasoline costs are lower than they were for most of Obama’s presidency, but higher than they were in 2016.)
When talking about former 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke, Trump claimed that O’Rourke wanted to “get rid of religion — the Bible.”
- Facts First: Beto has not talked about getting rid of the Bible or religion. He did answer “yes” when asked by CNN’s Don Lemon if he thought “religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” But O’Rourke has never said he wanted to get rid of the Bible, or religion.
Trump said "Mexico is now giving us 27,000 soldiers on our border."
- Facts First: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Trump exaggerated how many are being stationed near the US border in particular. On Nov. 2, CNN reported that nearly 15,000 troops were deployed to Mexico’s northern border, where they set up 20 checkpoints, Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said at the time. At the southern border, 12,000 troops were deployed and 21 checkpoints were set up. Acting US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan has offered similar numbers, telling reporters in September that 10,000 of approximately 25,000 troops were on Mexico’s southern border.
Trump claimed that Democrats “are now the party…of open borders.”
- Facts First: Even 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump suggests.
Trump claimed, “we haven’t taken in money from China, ever. And it’s coming in now by the billions."
- Facts First: It’s not true that the US has never received any money from China. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries. FactCheck.org reported that the US generated an “average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the US International Trade Commission DataWeb.” That's in addition to China’s hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases of US goods – more than $300 billion during Trump’s presidency alone.