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Fact Check: Trump Continues Dishonest Bombing of Pennsylvania Rally

Trump made numerous false or misleading allegations during Tuesday’s rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, his second fake rally since he was hospitalized with the coronavirus.

We are still reviewing the transcript, but here is a brief summary.

As he did at his rally in Sanford, Florida on Monday, Trump unreasonably claims that Biden supports political positions that the former vice president does not actually hold.
Trump, for example, lied that Biden’s plan would “destroy the defense of existing conditions.” It is Trump who is trying to remove Obamacare, including the protections the law creates for people with pre-existing conditions. On the other hand, Biden is committed to maintaining and strengthening Obamacare, including those protections for existing conditions.
Trump also warned that Biden would “outlaw”
; private health insurance plans. But Biden voicedly rejected proposals to abolish private insurance, instead proposing a “public option” that would allow people to voluntarily join a state insurance plan.

Biden’s childhood

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. But Trump said, “They say he was born in Scranton, but he left, he left. He left you.”

Trump’s claim is misleading. Biden did not make his own decision to leave Pennsylvania. His family moved from Pennsylvania to Delaware, where his father found work when he was 10 years old.

The pandemic

Trump offered another unfair pink assessment of the state of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said we were “rounding off the pandemic” without explaining what that meant. And he said, “My plan: we’re going to crush the virus very quickly. It’s already happening. It’s happening.”

This is not happening. The number of confirmed new cases and hospitalizations in the United States is growing; there were 52,406 new cases on Tuesday, according to data from John Hopkins University. At the time Trump spoke, 33 countries reported an increase in cases this past week.

Production jobs

Trump falsely claims that “we added nearly 600,000 jobs to the industry.”

This would be an exaggeration, even if you stopped the clock in February. (At this point, before the pandemic disaster in March, 483,000 jobs were added to the production during Trump’s presidency.) But now the claim is clearly wrong. As of September, 164,000 jobs in the industry had been lost since Trump took office.
Trump also falsely claims that President Barack Obama has stated that “you will never create productive jobs.” Obama did not say that. At a town hall event in 2016, Obama said that some manufacturing jobs had disappeared from the United States forever – but he also boasted about how many new ones were being created in the United States.


Trump has made a series of false claims about NATO.

He claims to be responsible for providing an additional “$ 130 billion a year” in military spending to other countries. In fact, NATO says the increase is a total of $ 130 billion between 2016 and the end of 2020, not $ 130 billion a year. (NATO is giving Trump credit for the increase, but it’s worth noting that spending has been rising since 2015, before Trump took office.)
Trump said that before him, NATO members “did not pay their bills” and “are criminals.” NATO does not work that way. While the alliance aims for each member to spend 2% of GDP on defense, if it does not achieve this goal, it does not create accounts or debts.

And Trump claimed that “Obama was sending them pillows.” This seemed to be the usual reference to Trump for Obama’s military assistance to Ukraine, not for his contribution to NATO itself – but it is inaccurate regardless. Obama refused to send deadly aid to Ukraine, but he sent armored Humvees, anti-mortar radar, night-vision equipment, drones and other military supplies.

The boundary wall

For the second night in a row, Trump claims that Mexico is paying for its border wall.

“And by the way, Mexico pays for the wall. You know that. I said it. They hate to hear it. But they pay,” he said.

This is simply not true. The US government has paid for the wall – in part with billions of dollars, which Trump is controversially taking away from other programs. The White House declined to comment Tuesday when we sought an explanation for how Mexico is supposed to pay.

Trump vaguely said at Tuesday’s rally, as he did on Monday, that Mexico would effectively cover the cost of the wall because of a “fee” it would impose on cars crossing the border. (He called it a “border tax” on Monday.) But he did not release any details on such a proposal, and again the White House declined to explain on Tuesday.

Minnesota and the National Guard

Trump celebrated how the National Guard quelled violent protests in Minnesota after the assassination of George Floyd. However, he complained that it took “10 days” for the state to call his administration.

Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Waltz himself activated the National Guard – and he did so two days, not 10 days, after the first protest violence. You can read the full chronology here.

The presidential debate and the phrase “law and order”

Trump told the story of how Biden allegedly refused to utter the words “law and order” at their first presidential debate. (Part of the story: “Remember I said, ‘So tell me, say the words law and order, say it, Joe, say it.’ He couldn’t do it, he wouldn’t do it, he wouldn’t do it, he would do it . “) Trump then admitted that Biden did say the words” law and order, “but he suggested not counting because Biden added additional words at the end.

This is ridiculous. During the debate, Biden said “everyone is for law and order.” He then added: “Law and order with justice, where people are treated fairly.”

Trump is free to say that Biden, by adding “fairly,” makes the words “law and order” meaningless. But it is simply incorrect to assume that Biden refused to say the words “law and order” at all.

CNN and its cameras

Returning to one of his favorite rally lies, Trump called CNN a “fake” and then said he saw the CNN camera light go out – hinting that CNN had stopped recording because of his strike.

Trump’s claim was, as usual, pure fabrication. CNN does not turn off its cameras when it insults CNN. And CNN photojournalists at his rallies didn’t even use light to show Trump whether they were recording or broadcasting live.

Selection of veterans

Trump repeated another of his favorite rally lies, saying we “passed the VA VA.” Obama signed the 2014 election bill; it was an initiative of two senators that Trump often criticizes, Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain. What Trump signed was the VA MISSION Act of 2018, which expanded and modified the Choice program.

Trump has made that claim more than 160 times.

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