Trump, Pence kick off 2020 race with cavalcade of claims that need closer look
Speaking to a crowd in Orlando, Fla., both of them issuing statements that inflated or otherwise misrepresented what’s really happening.
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Here are a series of statements by Trump and Pence that require further analysis:
Mike Pence: ‘Thanks to the president’s stand, Mexico has done more to secure the border in the last 10 days than the Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years’
Mexico has agreed to deploy 6,000 of its National Guard personnel at its own southern border with Guatemala. The last 10 years have actually seen comparatively low numbers of undocumented immigrants try to cross the U.S. border, having seen over 870,000 apprehensions in 2007 and just over 310,000 in 2017.
The Democrats, however, took plenty of action to control the border when Barack Obama was president.
In 2010, Obama announced a $600-million bill to heighten security along the border, which included money for 1,000 new border patrol agents, as well as 250 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and 250 Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers. The money also funded two additional aerial drones.
Deportations also increased in each of Obama’s first four years as president — overall, he oversaw more of them than both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did, NPR reported.
Trump has said that millions of undocumented immigrants are set to be removed from the U.S., but ICE hasn’t announced any operations to that effect.
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The most recent statistics around removals show that there were just over 256,000 ICE removals in the 2018 fiscal year, and just over 226,000 the year prior, according to ICE.
Mike Pence: ‘Under this commander in chief, our armed forces captured every last inch of ISIS territory’
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured ISIS territory. The SDF is composed of people from Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian groups, who had U.S. backing.
Mike Pence: ‘[Donald Trump] promised to revive the American economy by rolling back red tape, fighting for fair trade deals… 5.8 million new jobs, and the unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low’
The Trump administration has indeed overseen strong economic gains, especially in manufacturing — some of which have been attributed to a mix of tax cuts and deregulation, according to the New York Times.
But Trump can’t necessarily take credit for reviving the American economy, as it was already growing when he entered the White House.
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Donald Trump: ‘1.4 million pages of documents, 500 search warrants, 500 witnesses, 2,800 subpoenas and 40 FBI agents working around the clock, what did they come up with? No collusion, and the facts that led our great attorney general to determine no obstruction’
In his four-page summary of Robert Mueller’s report, Attorney General William Barr said that he and his deputy “concluded that the evidence developed during the special counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offence.”
That’s how Barr saw it — Mueller didn’t quite see it the same way.
The special counsel looked at 10 instances in which Trump may have committed obstruction and declined to prosecute the president because he didn’t feel he had the authority. Mueller’s report suggested the president may have tried to interfere on numerous occasions but that staff prevented him from doing so.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report said.
The special counsel did not so state.
Donald Trump: ‘They spent $40 million on this witch hunt, $40 million’
The full cost of the Mueller investigation is not yet known but the most recent estimates have it at just over $25 million, according to Politifact.
A full accounting of expenditures is still forthcoming, the special counsel’s office told the website.
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Donald Trump: ‘We’re going to have over 400 miles of wall built by the end of next year. It’s moving very rapidly’
The Trump administration has issued contracts to build 247 miles of wall and that length alone has become bogged down in court.
Much of the work done already has involved replacing barrier along the border. The president really hasn’t added much.
Donald Trump: ‘Companies are leaving China because they want to avoid these large tariffs’
The U.S. has levied tariffs of up to 25 per cent on billions of dollars worth of goods from China.
And firms are, indeed, moving manufacturing operations out of China, or considering doing so, according to a poll by the American Chamber of Commerce.
Those moves, however, have to do with more than the U.S.-China trade dispute, Fortune reported.
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Labour costs have already started to drive factories out of the People’s Republic and that happened well before Trump’s tariffs came into force.
Wages have been growing in the country and companies are looking to cheaper labour in other nations, such as Malaysia and Vietnam, Fortune added.
Donald Trump: ‘The biggest tax cut in history’
No. The Trump administration cut taxes to the tune of $1.5 trillion, though it could eventually add up to $2.2 trillion over a decade.
The economic share represented by Ronald Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981? That was 2.89 per cent, according to the federal treasury.
- With files from The Associated Press
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