State of the Union 2018: Donald Trump made 23 claims, 7 of them were false

An analysis of some of Donald Trump's claims during the 2018 State of the Union address

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Wednesday 31 January 2018 04:47
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Donald Trump at the State of the Union: 'Our motto is 'In God we trust''

Donald Trump has touted his administration’s record to Congress — and the American people — in his State of the Union address.

Below are some of his claims that mislead or distort the facts.

“Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone”.

This statement may be technically true but is misleading in attributing the gains to Mr Trump.

While the figure he cites is accurate, the time period since the election also encompasses a few months when Barack Obama was president and Mr Trump had not yet been elected. The number of jobs created during his first year in office stands at roughly 2.1m.

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“After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages”.

This statement also claims credit by omitting the larger context. While wage stagnation has been a genuine issue in recent American history, average earnings have been trending up for years — a development that began during the Obama administration.

“We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history”.

Like Mr Trump’s oft-repeated line that America was the highest-taxed nation in the world, this one simply misstates the facts.

Economists generally agree that there have been multiple larger tax cuts. A 2017 analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated Mr Trump’s tax cut bill was the eight-largest over the last century.

“We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world”.

While America does indeed export some energy to other countries, if this sentence is read as claiming America is now a net exporter — meaning it exports more energy to other countries than it imports — it’s false. The US Energy Information Agency predicts the country could get there in the next decade.

It is true that America has been moving in that direction, an effort buoyed by a natural gas boom. Last year America become a net natural gas exporter for the first time in decades. According to the federal government, during the Obama administration total US crude oil production — which is different from exports — surpassed net crude oil imports.

Visa lottery “hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people”.

While Mr Trump’s is closely associated with his proposal to build a border wall with Mexico, he has also taken aim at legal immigration — including pushing to end the diversity visa lottery.

Despite Mr Trump’s attempt to characterise the lottery as a purely random process, applicants still have to go through a vetting process and must meet educational or work requirements.

“Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives”.

The President has regularly decried what immigration restrictionists call “chain migration”, or the process by which legal immigrants can bring relatives to the country. Saying it allows “virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives” is inaccurate.

Numerical limits on family-based migration make for a long wait for foreign-born relatives of immigrants, meaning in practice that people cannot bring in “unlimited” numbers people.

“Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades”.

The second part of this statement is the inaccurate part. Car companies have built and expanded auto plants in the United States repeatedly in the decades before Mr Trump became President.

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