Trump’s Inaccurate Claims on Mueller, Health Care and the Great Lakes

What Mr. Trump Said

“By the way, we’re bringing a lot of those car companies back.”

This is exaggerated.

Mr. Trump’s claims of a “decimated” automobile industry before he took office and its revitalization since are not rooted in fact.

Employment in the auto industry declined during the Great Recession, but has been steadily increasing since mid-2009. Similarly, domestic auto production increased during the economic recovery before declining in mid-2016, while domestic new car sales grew for seven straight years until 2017.

His examples of the auto companies “pouring” into Michigan and other Midwestern states were a $4.5 billion investment in Detroit by Fiat Chrysler, a $1 billion investment by Ford in Chicago, and a $300 million investment in Michigan by General Motors.

Chrysler’s plans would reopen a car plant, while Ford and G.M. are increasing production capacity at existing plants.

In contrast, G.M. said it would idle five car factories in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and Canada while Chrysler is cutting jobs at an Illinois plant. According to the Reshoring Initiative, a group that encourages companies to move back to the United States, announcements to increase investment or move companies back to the United States peaked in 2016.

What Mr. Trump Said

“The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction. … Total exoneration, complete vindication.”

This is false.

While the investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III did not conclude that Mr. Trump or his campaign coordinated with Russia, according to a summary of Mr. Mueller’s report by Attorney General William P. Barr, the special counsel stopped short of absolving Mr. Trump on obstruction.

Mr. Barr quoted the special counsel as stating that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” and wrote that Mr. Mueller did not draw conclusions about whether Mr. Trump’s conduct amounted to obstruction of justice.

What Mr. Trump Said

“I’m going to get, in honor of my friends, full funding of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which you have been trying to get for over 30 years.”


The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program for restoring the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, was first implemented by the Obama administration in 2010. Federal funding ranged from nearly $300 million to $450 million every year under Mr. Obama.

Mr. Trump requested no funding at all for the initiative in his 2018 budget request, effectively eliminating the program, though Congress ended up appropriating nearly $300 million. His latest budget proposes a 90 percent cut to the program, reducing funding to $30 million.

What Mr. Trump Said

“The deductibles on Obamacare are so high, on average $7,000.”

This is exaggerated.

An analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that average deductibles for plans offered on the federal marketplace in 2019 greatly varied based on the type and tier of plan and the income of the enrollee.

Of plans that included both prescription drugs and medical spending in the deductible, those in the bronze tier (which have lower premiums but higher out of pocket costs) had the highest average deductible, at $6,259, while platinum plans had the lowest, at $48.

For silver-tiered plans, the most common choice, the average deductible was $4,375. For consumers whose incomes fell below 250 percent of the federal poverty line, deductibles ranged from $239 to $3,169 after cost-sharing reductions.

What Mr. Trump Said

“We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”

This is misleading.

Currently, Mr. Trump’s administration is seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in court, including provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions. In 2017, Mr. Trump also backed several bills to repeal the health care law, some of which would have also undermined protections for pre-existing conditions.

In his budget. Mr. Trump renewed his call to repeal the law and instead called for the enactment of legislation similar to a 2017 bill sponsored by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. That bill prohibits insurers from denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions, but it does permit states to obtain waivers that allow insurers to charge more based on health status.


Mr. Trump also repeated more than a dozen claims The Times has previously fact-checked:

He misstated the results of the Electoral College in the 2016 election as 306 votes to 223 votes. (He won 306 to Hillary Clinton’s 232, though after defections by electors, the count was 304 to 227.)

He falsely claimed that wages were rising for the first time “after years of stagnation.” (Wages began rising under Mr. Obama.)

He claimed “we did really well with women” in the 2016 election. (Exit polls indicate that just 42 percent of women voted for him, which was less than for Mrs. Clinton and the two Republican nominees who preceded him.)

He claimed that the United States had become the largest oil and gas producer in the world “very recently.” (This has been the case since 2013.)

He falsely said his tax cuts are “the biggest in the history of our country.” (Several others are larger.)

He exaggerated when he claimed to have eliminated the estate tax. (The 2017 tax law increased the threshold, but did not eliminate it.)

He misleadingly claimed to have passed Veterans’ Choice after 40 years of failed efforts. (He signed reforms to the health care program, but it has existed since 2014.)

He falsely claimed “you couldn’t fire anybody” from the Department of Veterans Affairs before he signed V.A. Accountability into law. (He signed a law that would make it easier to remove bad employees, but the department had been able to fire people before.)

He said the Green New Deal calls for “no more airplanes, no more cows, one car per family.” (A now-deleted summary of the plan did refer to eliminating cows and air travel, but the legislation itself does not.)

He falsely claimed that other countries “are giving us their worst people “ through the diversity visa program. (Applicants enter of their own volition, and must pass background checks that bar criminals and the indigent.)

He exaggerated the United States’ trade deficit with Mexico as $100 billion per year over the last several years. (It was $78 billion in 2018, up from $69 billion in 2017 and $62 billion in 2016.)

He claimed Immigration and Customs Enforcement made “266,000 arrests of criminal aliens” including those who had committed murders, sexual assaults and kidnapping. (The most common offenses were immigration, traffic and drug violations.)

He misleading accused Democrats of allowing for the execution of newborn infants. (Infants are rarely born alive after abortion procedures, and if they are, doctors do not kill them.)

Curious about the accuracy of a claim? Email [email protected]

Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to The Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact. @ylindaqiu

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