Fact Check: Trump Blasts ‘Fake News’ and Repeats Inaccurate Claims at CPAC
February 25, 2017, 2:38pm

By Linda Qui – The New York Times.

President Trump’s speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference followed a familiar pattern: Blast the news media as “dishonest,” repeat a string of falsehoods and wrap up by promising to change the status quo.

“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s fake, phony, fake. They have a professional obligation as members of the press to report honestly. But as you saw throughout the entire campaign, and even now, the fake news doesn’t tell the truth.”

Here is an assessment of some of the claims Mr. Trump made.

Mr. Trump criticized the news media for distorting his criticism.

“They did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. They dropped off the word fake.”

False. Mr. Trump tweeted on Feb. 17, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

All of the news organizations Mr. Trump named actually quoted the tweet in its entirety or specified the outlets he called “fake.”

Mr. Trump mocked election polls for being wrong.

“Look at CBS, look at ABC, also, look at NBC, take a look at some of these polls. They’re so bad, so inaccurate and what that does is it creates a false narrative.” 

This is misleading. Mr. Trump, who trailed Hillary Clinton in major national polls leading up to the election, ended up winning the Electoral College. But most of the polls Mr. Trump referred to actually reflected the popular vote total within the margin of error.

The day before the election, CBS and ABC projected Mr. Trump trailing Mrs. Clinton by 4 points with margins of error of 3 points and 2.5 points. About 2.9 million more people, or 2.1 percent, voted for Mrs. Clinton than for Mr. Trump. NBC showed Mrs. Clinton with a 6-point lead and a margin of error of 1 point.

Mr. Trump said he got many votes from supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Not that I’m a fan of Bernie, but a lot of Bernie people voted for Trump because he’s right on one issue: trade.” 

No evidence. Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders hold similar positions on global trade, but there’s no evidence that huge swaths of voters who supported Mr. Sanders voted for Mr. Trump.

After the Democratic National Convention, polls indicated that a majority of “Bernie people” would vote for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump’s support among those who preferred Mr. Sanders ranged from 3 percent to 13 percent, depending on whether third-party candidates were also included in the question.

Mr. Trump described the country as having open borders.

“We’ve defended other nations’ borders while leaving ours wide open, anybody can come in.”

False. The United States apprehended 415,816 people in the 2016 fiscal year, so hundreds of thousands of people did not just “come in.”

Under the country’s visa waiver program, citizens from some 30 countries are allowed to enter the United States without a visa for up to 90 days. Citizens from other countries must apply for a visa and could be rejected; waiting times vary. Refugees who are referred to resettlement in the United States typically wait up to two years.

Mr. Trump cited a big price tag for the wars abroad.

“In the Middle East, we’ve spent as of four weeks ago, $6 trillion.”

Needs context. The $6 trillion figure is the high end of credible estimates of the total cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as nation building and personnel costs. But this price also includes costs to come, such as future spending for veterans’ health care and disability.

Estimates for the total spent on the war thus far range from $1.6 trillion to $3.6 trillion. Factoring money appropriated for Homeland Security raises the cost to $4.8 trillion.

Mr. Trump said the Affordable Care Act took health care coverage away from people.

“Obamacare covers very few people. And remember, deduct from the number all of those people who had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them.” 

False. About 20 million people have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the uninsured rate has dropped to a record low of 10.9 percent.

The left-leaning Urban Institute estimated that 2.6 million plans were canceled because they did not meet minimum requirements set by the act. But fewer than one million people ended up with no insurance at all, and it is not clear that this was entirely attributable to health care law.

Mr. Trump deplored the economic costs of a regulatory state.

“We have begun a historic program to reduce the regulations that are crushing our economy, crushing.” 

Needs context. Whether regulations stifle economic growth is the subject of debate. But the economy, by most metrics, is faring quite well.

Unemployment is at 4.8 percent, compared with 7.8 percent eight years ago. Stock markets have been reporting record highs. Retail sales, the Consumer Price Indexand the number of permits for new housing units all rose in January.

As for Mr. Trump’s executive order requiring the repeal of two rules for every one introduced, our colleagues at the Upshot explained why it’s no quick fix.

Mr. Trump suggested that the U.S. military has been weakened.

“We’re very depleted, very, very depleted.” 

False. The size of the Army and number of warships have declined in recent years, but size is no indicator of power.

The number of troops will be reduced by the 2018 fiscal year, a result of pulling out of wars in the Middle East (a position Mr. Trump falsely says that he has espoused since the United States first invaded Iraq). The United States has the most sophisticated naval fleet in the world, with 10 aircraft carriers compared with Russia’s one.

Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, committed billions of dollars to updating the nuclear arsenal. Over all, the United States spends more on its military than the next seven to eight countries combined.

Mr. Trump again invoked Sweden as an example of the detriments of immigration.

“The people over there understand that I’m right. Take a look at what’s happening in Sweden.”

False. Mr. Trump referred to a nonexistent terrorist attack in Sweden during a Feb. 18 campaign rally in Florida, baffling an entire nation.

If he was referring to crime in a country known for taking in large numbers of refugees, the data does not support him, either. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention found no significant increase in overall crime rates from 2015 to 2016.

Mr. Trump suggested that crime and terrorist attacks have hurt tourism to Paris.

“I said, ‘Jim, let me ask you a question, how’s Paris doing?’ ‘Paris? I don’t go there anymore, Paris is no longer Paris.’ That was four years — four or five years, hasn’t gone there. He wouldn’t miss it for anything. Now he doesn’t even think in terms of going there.”

This is misleading. Anecdotes aside, tourism in Paris has not suffered despite the 2015 terrorist attacks. The city reported a “moderate” 1.1 percent drop in hotel arrivals that year.

That is less than the 1.4 percent drop experienced in 2014. Paris did have steady increases in tourism from 2010 to 2013, but that occurred after a 4.4 percent declinein 2009 during the global financial crisis.

Paris was named the third-most-visited city in the world in 2016 by MasterCard.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault tweeted in response, “3.5 million American tourists visited France in 2016, they will always be welcome #Trump #Paris #Nice #Survivor Tree.”