As he traverses the United States for election rallies before the midterm vote on Nov. 6, key details of President Trump’s stump speech have seemed all too familiar: the chants, the red hats, the anecdotes, the fond recounting of his own election victory — and the falsehoods.
Yes, Mr. Trump often speaks off script. But even the famously spontaneous president has stuck largely to the same rhetorical path he has trod in earlier political speeches, embellishments notwithstanding.
A fact-check of multiple “Make America Great Again” rallies has revealed at least 10 central and inaccurate points that Mr. Trump routinely reaches for when urging people to support Republican candidates in the midterm elections. As the president intensifies his campaigning this month, here’s a guide.
Oct. 9, Council Bluffs, Iowa
“The Democrat agenda is radical socialism and open borders. The new platform of the Democrat Party is to abolish ICE.”
Mr. Trump claims to have direct evidence of this Democratic strategy. On Saturday, at a rally in Topeka, Kan., he cited legislation “called the Open Borders Bill,” which he said was written by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and supported by every other Democratic senator.
No such bill exists. Mr. Trump was probably referring to a bill called the Keep Families Together Act, which was sponsored by Ms. Feinstein and has the support of all Democratic senators. The bill seeks to prevent migrant children from being separated from their families at the United States border, except when officials suspect abuse or trafficking.
The bill’s language is not specific to immigration enforcement agencies. That has led some to argue that it could hinder the work of other law enforcement like the F.B.I. or Secret Service. The Republican Party has said the bill is so “loosely written” that it is careless.
Mr. Trump, however, has reduced these criticisms to a nonsensical claim. The bill does not prevent deportations, as he has said, nor does it halt prosecution of migrants for illegally entering the country. It also does not prevent family members from being detained together.
Over all, Democrats oppose Mr. Trump’s border wall but support other border security measures. And while some Democratic lawmakers would abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, others have opposed efforts to do so. Democratic leaders including Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York have called for overhauling ICE, but not outright eradicating it.
(The Democratic Party’s platform, which is updated every four years and most recently in 2016, does not include a call to abolish the agency.)
Sept. 21, Springfield, MO.
“Republicans want to protect Medicare. Democrats want to raid Medicare to pay their socialism.”
The financial outlook for Medicare, the health care program for older Americans, has worsened under Mr. Trump’s watch, in part because of his tax law.
His claim about the Democrats’ strategy refers to — and distorts — progressive proposals to expand “Medicare for all.” None of the “Medicare for all” bills offered by Democratic lawmakers would reduce benefits or cut dollars from the insurance program; in fact, current beneficiaries would receive more health coverage for lower costs.
Oct. 4, Rochester, Minn.
“We will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. We’re going to take care of them. Some of the Democrats have been talking about ending pre-existing conditions.”
Mr. Trump’s promise to “always protect” Americans who have pre-existing medical conditions contradicts actions that have been taken by his own administration and political party.
In June, the Justice Department told a federal court that it would no longer defend provisions in the Affordable Care Act that protect patients with pre-existing conditions. Legislatively, Mr. Trump has supported bills that would have undermined those protections.
There is no evidence that Democrats have suggested taking away protections for pre-existing conditions. Efforts to preserve those safeguards were central to Democrats’ campaign to maintain the Affordable Care Act and the party’s midterm message.
Oct. 9, Council Bluffs, Iowa
“We won’t talk about Da Nang Dick, who tried to convince people for 15 years that he was a great war hero. They were going down left. They were going down right. Right, you know who that is? [Senator Richard] Blumenthal. He said they were going on my left, they were going down, he was in Da Nang Province. Except the one problem. It’s hard to be there, because he was never in Vietnam. But these are minor details.”
This is exaggerated.
Even before Mr. Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, became a vocal opponent of confirming Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the lawmaker was the subject of embellished attacks from Mr. Trump.
In May 2010, The New York Times reported that Mr. Blumenthal had falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam; instead, he obtained at least five military deferments and then joined the Marine Reserve. Mr. Blumenthal acknowledged the misrepresentations and apologized for them that year.
However, The Times has been unable to find evidence that Mr. Blumenthal has told vivid stories set in Da Nang, nor that he has claimed to be a war hero. He also did not — despite Mr. Trump’s assertions to the contrary — drop out of his race or cry while apologizing when his dishonesty was revealed by reporters.
Playing Up His Accomplishments
Oct. 1, Johnson City, Tenn.
“No more Nafta. It’s the largest trade deal the United States has ever negotiated.”
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, trade among the United States and its two neighbors totaled $1.3 trillion in 2017. Last month, the Trump administration replaced it with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But it is still unlikely to be the biggest deal ever made.
In July, the European Union struck a trade agreement with Japan, covering a third of the global economy and 40 percent of international trade. Trade in the European Union itself totaled about $4 trillion in 2017.
Trade talks that culminated in 1994 and created the World Trade Organization involved 123 countries that accounted for 90 percent of international trade. It now includes more than 160 economies and affects nearly all global trade.
Oct. 4, Rochester, Minn.
“Since the election, we have created over four million new jobs. The media will tell you there was no way we could have said that during the campaign. Nobody would have believed it.”
While Mr. Trump’s figure is accurate, his suggestion that the number would have been unbelievable is not. The economy added more jobs in a comparable period before his election.
In the 22 months from December 2016 to September 2018, the economy added over 4.2 million jobs. In the 22 months before Mr. Trump’s election, the economy added 4.7 million jobs.
Aug. 4, Lewis Center, Ohio
“Republicans passed the biggest tax cuts in reform in American history.”
This is one of Mr. Trump’s most repeated talking points and it remains false after dozens of repetitions. Tax cuts signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and President Barack Obama in 2012 would rank higher than the $1.5 trillion tax law Mr. Trump signed in December by several metrics.
Oct. 2, South Haven, Miss.
“We also passed Veterans Choice. Forty-four years they tried to do it.”
Mr. Trump enacted changes this summer to a health care program for veterans, but the program itself has existed since 2014.
The Veterans Choice Program was created after the scandal of hidden waiting lists at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and allowed veterans to seek private health care funded by the government under certain conditions.
In June, Mr. Trump consolidated that and other existing programs, and expanded eligibility requirements.
Sept. 6, Billings, Mont.
“We’ve started the wall. Everybody wants the wall. We’ve spent $3.2 billion on the wall.”
Prototypes for a wall along the United States border with Mexico were unveiled in October 2017. But construction based on those prototypes has not begun, nor has the wall been funded.
A March spending bill signed by Mr. Trump allotted $1.6 billion for projects to replace old along the border barriers with new barriers. But that bill did not allow spending funds on a new border wall.
Sept. 29, Wheeling, W.Va.
“We have a pipeline of some of the greatest products, and we couldn’t get them. We couldn’t use them. Person’s going to die in four months. We couldn’t use them. For 45 years, they’ve been trying to get this passed. Not that easy. Not that easy. I got it passed. Right to Try.”
Mr. Trump signed a law in May that allows terminally ill patients to seek access to experimental drugs that are not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, sponsored an earlier version of the bill in September 2016 — about two years ago.
It is false that patients “couldn’t use” these drugs before the May law. A program known as compassionate use, or expanded access, has been in place since the 1970s. It allows patients with a serious disease or condition to obtain experimental medicines; the F.D.A. says it authorizes 99 percent of the requests for expanded access that it receives.
The new law allows doctors and patients to directly ask drug companies for access rather than go through the government.
The Trump White House
The historic moments, head-spinning developments and inside-the-White House intrigue.
- Hurricane Michael’s Deadly Strike Leaves Florida Panhandle Reeling
- Trapped by the ‘Walmart of Heroin’
- This is 18 Around the World — Through Girls’ Eyes
- Opinion: Goodbye, Political Spin, Hello Blatant Lies
- Trump Attacks the Fed as Stocks Fall and the Midterms Loom
- Kanye West’s White House Rant Steals the Spotlight From Trump
- Hurricane Michael: The Damage in Pictures
- Where in the World Is Denmark’s $2 Billion?
- The Prince and the President: Khashoggi Case Raises Saudi-Turkey Tensions
- Matthew Shepard Will Be Interred at the Washington National Cathedral, 20 Years After His Death