Fact-checking Donald Trump's 2020 campaign kick-off in Florida

Sat, Jun 22, 2019

U.S. Politics

President Donald Trump kicked off his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando, Fla., a key state in the path to victory. Trump offered a long list of accomplishments, many centered on the economy. But he also revisited old criticisms of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration, and warned the crowd that "the Democratic Party has become more radical, more dangerous, and more unhinged than at any point in the modern history of our country."

While he might exaggerate improvements in the economy, generally those claims had a measure of truth. But not in every case. On other issues, Trump took more liberties.

(We passed) "the biggest tax cut in history."

Wrong.

Trump often repeats this point, but three tax cuts were larger. In inflation-corrected dollars, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 cut $321 billion per year. The Tax Relief Act of 2010 cut them by $210 billion per year. And the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 reduced taxes by $208 billion a year.

The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act cut taxes by $150 billion a year.

"We have among the cleanest and sharpest crystal clean air and water anywhere on earth."

Exaggerated.

It’s not that America’s air and water are particularly polluted, but the country ranks 27th overall on the Environmental Performance Index, a project of the World Economic Forum, and the researchers at Yale and Columbia.

On air it ranks 10th and on water, 29th. Among wealthy democracies, the United States ranks toward the bottom, according to Zachary Wendling, principal investigator at the Environmental Performance Index.

"We’ll have over 400 miles (of the wall) built by the end of the year."

Misleading.

Trump has struggled unsuccessfully to deliver on his signature campaign promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. In recent months, he has spoken of 400 miles of wall that are going up. However, the United States already has about 650 miles of barriers, and at least some of the wall work Trump has pointed to involved replacing existing fencing. Looking at government contracts and requests for proposals, the Trump administration hasn’t laid out how many more new miles of the border will have some sort of barrier by the end of 2020, much less 2019.

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