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AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrong on judges, ‘plummeting’ poverty

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Associated Press Photo

On this Sept. 19, 2017 file photograph, U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations Basic Meeting, at U.N. headquarters. Trump will probably be joined by different populist leaders on the 73rd Common Meeting, together with Poland’s President Andrej Duda and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte together with the overseas ministers of Hungary and Austria. (AP Photograph/Richard Drew, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Because the midterm elections draw close to, President Donald Trump’s tendency to declare his marketing campaign guarantees fulfilled once they aren’t has come into starker aid.

He insists poverty within the U.S. is “plummeting,” regardless that the variety of poor individuals has barely declined underneath his watch and revenue inequality is climbing.

Jousting with Democrats prematurely of the November midterms, Trump additionally declares a untimely victory from his tariffs by pointing to a producing renaissance that has but to be and boasts of guarantees stored on “full” funding for enhancements on the Division of Veterans Affairs. In reality, long-term financing for a key VA well being care program stays unsure.

On judges, Trump’s feedback about Supreme Courtroom nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser betrayed a misunderstanding of how FBI investigations work. And his declare to be within the league of George Washington with regards to putting judges on the federal bench is refuted by the report.

A take a look at a number of the rhetoric over the previous week from Trump and members of Congress:


TRUMP: “Poverty is plummeting.” — rally Thursday in Las Vegas.

THE FACTS: He’s overstating it.

The poverty fee dropped solely modestly beneath Trump’s watch, to 12.three % in 2017 from 12.7 % in 2016. On the similar time, almost 40 million People remained poor by the Census Bureau’s rely, statistically unchanged from 2016.

Wealthier People, in the meantime, pulled farther forward final yr. Even regular progress over the earlier eight years hasn’t been sufficient to counter long-running developments to higher financial inequality. Revenue progress was strongest for the richest 5 % of households, rising three % to $237,034. For the poorest one-fifth of the inhabitants, incomes rose simply zero.5 %.

Consequently, the wealthiest 5 % acquired three.9 occasions the revenue earned by the median U.S. family. That’s the very best on document, courting again to 1967.

It’s true that within the final three years, the poverty fee has dropped steadily by 2.5 proportion factors, from a current peak of 14.eight % in 2014. The most important chunk of that drop occurred from 2014 to 2016, through the Obama administration.

The Census Bureau additionally considers the impression of varied authorities help packages on decreasing the ranks of the poor. The company discovered that the meals stamp program, formally referred to as SNAP, lifted three.four million individuals out of poverty. Rental subsidies did the identical for two.9 million. Trump and Home Republican leaders have proposed cuts in these packages.



TRUMP: “Just today I signed a new bill fully funding Veterans Choice for our great veterans.” — rally Friday in Springfield, Missouri.

TRUMP: “Promises Kept for our GREAT Veterans!” — tweet Friday.

TRUMP: “We are delivering the resources needed to fully implement crucial VA reforms … to deliver for our great veterans.” — remarks Friday in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

THE FACTS: He isn’t telling the complete story. The private-sector health-care program lacks a long-term supply of presidency funding that would put it or different home packages topic to price range caps susceptible to main shortfalls subsequent yr.

Trump signed laws in June to increase the Veterans Selection program as an alternative choice to medical care offered by the Division of Veterans Affairs. The brand new program will give veterans wider entry to private-sector physicians outdoors the VA if they need to endure prolonged wait occasions or the remedy wasn’t what that they had anticipated. The federal government-paid program is projected to face escalating prices, together with a $1 billion shortfall subsequent summer time.

A bipartisan group of senators had sought to deal with long-term funding by including new cash to cowl the personal care program, however the White Home opposed that as “anathema to responsible spending.” It maintained that added prices ought to be paid for by chopping different home packages, together with probably some at VA.

Congress included within the VA spending invoice a one-year cash repair for the expanded Selection program, placing apart dialogue till subsequent yr on find out how to pay its estimated added prices of $eight billion subsequent fall and $9 billion in 2020. Trump signed that invoice final week.

The Selection program has already concerned excessive ranges of spending, main to 2 sudden finances shortfalls throughout Trump’s first yr in workplace.



TRUMP, on Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a celebration within the 1980s: “The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?” — tweet Friday.

THE FACTS: The FBI wouldn’t have been the quantity to name. The conduct alleged by Ford isn’t a federal crime however one which may have been investigated by native authorities if reported. She stated he pinned her on a mattress and tried taking off her garments throughout a highschool get together in Maryland within the 1980s; Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

Democrats need the FBI to become involved now as a result of the bureau conducts background checks on presidential nominees. The FBI background verify of Kavanaugh was accomplished earlier than the allegations emerged. Democrats and numerous advocates, not simply “radical left lawyers,” need the FBI to reopen its investigation in mild of the accusation. The FBI can solely achieve this if the White Home requests that step.

Trump is making an attempt to forged suspicion on Ford’s credibility by questioning why the then-teenager “or her loving parents” didn’t go to the police “if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says,” as he put it in one other tweet. It has lengthy been the norm for sexual assaults to go unreported to authorities.

A Justice Division report estimated that from 1992 to 2000, barely greater than one-third of rapes or tried rapes have been reported to police, solely 26 % of sexual assaults and fewer than 10 % on school campuses.


TRUMP, on Democratic requires the FBI to reopen its background investigation: “Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that. They’ve investigated about six times before, and it seems that they don’t do that.” — remarks Wednesday.

DEMOCRATIC SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN of California: “Fact check: The FBI can investigate Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations as part of its background investigation – that is their job. To say otherwise is FALSE. It investigated Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas. It should investigate this too.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Neither Trump nor Feinstein is solely right.

Solely the White Home can order the FBI to look into the declare as a part of Kavanaugh’s background investigation as a result of Ford isn’t accusing Kavanaugh of a federal crime.

The FBI might interview Ford, Kavanaugh and others concerning the allegation if Trump requested the bureau to reopen its background investigation. However Trump stated the FBI has already accomplished its work.

All sides’s take on the propriety of a reopened FBI probe has political calculations. Republicans are in search of to wrap up Kavanaugh’s affirmation shortly whereas they’re nonetheless answerable for the Senate, and Democrats view it as extra advantageous to delay a vote till after the November elections, once they hope to realize a majority.

As for Feinstein’s level that the FBI investigated Hill’s accusations towards Thomas, that’s true nevertheless it was as a result of Republican President George H.W. Bush requested the bureau to take action. On Sunday, Democrats renewed their request for Trump to direct a FBI investigation of Ford’s claims.



TRUMP: “I don’t think we’ve ever had an economy like this.” — remarks Wednesday on White Home’s South Garden.

THE FACTS: The president is right so far as that assertion goes, however not completely within the favorable methods he suggests.

It’s true that the U.S. financial system is comparatively wholesome with strong hiring positive aspects and a robust inventory market. Progress received an adrenaline increase this yr due to the deficit-financed tax cuts that Trump signed into regulation final yr. However financial progress has hardly ascended to a brand new peak. The four.2 % annual progress within the second quarter was bested twice, as just lately as 2014 beneath President Barack Obama.

As an alternative, what makes the U.S. financial system distinctive underneath Trump are main tendencies that aren’t very constructive:

—By no means has the U.S. financial system been concerned in a commerce battle equal to the magnitude of its present showdown with China. The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and China’s retaliations have opened up a battle between the world’s two largest economies that would final for weeks or many years, in line with commerce specialists.

—By no means has the federal deficit been set to climb so excessive throughout a interval of financial stability. When Trump minimize taxes final yr, he piled on roughly $1.5 trillion of debt over the subsequent decade. Further spending in his price range solely added to the imbalance. Publicly held authorities debt can be equal in measurement to the whole U.S. gross home product in 2028, in response to the Congressional Price range Workplace. That’s probably the most since 1946, when the USA was popping out of World Warfare II and the Nice Melancholy.

—Revenue inequality has worsened. Somebody within the prime 5 % of earners makes three.86 occasions greater than the median U.S. family with an revenue of $61,372, in line with the Census Bureau. That’s the highest hole ever tracked by Census knowledge going again 50 years. In 1967, the highest 5 % earned 2.66 occasions the median.

These forces have helped lead the financial system into seemingly unprecedented territory underneath Trump.



TRUMP: “We’ll have more judges put on than any other president other than one. Do you know who the one is? George Washington. Percentage wise.” ”You recognize I’ve 145 (judges nominated), plus hopefully two Supreme Courtroom judges. And that’s assuming no one leaves the bench which they’ll over the subsequent time period.” ”I typically say, ‘Who has highest percentage of federal judges.’ They are saying, ‘You do.’ I’ll say, ‘No, no. I got killed.’ They stated, ‘George Washington’ … as a result of he appointed 100% of the judges.” — interview launched Wednesday with Hill TV.

THE FACTS: Not so quick. His declare of appointing extra judges than another president apart from maybe Washington is very questionable, based on an evaluation of judicial appointment knowledge carried out for The Related Press.

Up to now Trump has appointed 68 judges who’ve been confirmed to the federal courts. That interprets to about eight % of the full federal judgeships on the 20-month mark in his presidency. That lags at the least 4 earlier presidents when it comes to each uncooked numbers and percentages, stated Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow on the Brookings Establishment and professional on judicial appointments.

Wheeler, a former deputy director of the Federal Judicial Middle, crunched historic knowledge from the middle and the Administrative Workplace of the U.S. Courts. He discovered that Trump trails Republican presidents George W. Bush (77) and Ronald Reagan (78), in addition to Democrats Invoice Clinton (85) and John F. Kennedy (109) at comparable factors of their presidencies.

Wheeler additionally put collectively a rating based mostly on the variety of appointees in 20 months as a proportion of “authorized judgeships,” or the full seats created by Congress. Trump lagged a minimum of 17 different presidents, together with Washington, who as the primary president appointed 100 % of the federal judges. On the 20-month mark, for example, Kennedy appointees occupied roughly 27 % of the judicial seats then approved by Congress, far greater than Trump’s eight %.

Trump seems to be together with in his cited determine these he has nominated to the federal bench, however who haven’t but been confirmed.

Even when accounting for that, Trump’s complete of confirmed judges and present nominees represents 16 % of the full judgeships. Kennedy and Grover Cleveland reached larger percentages based mostly on their confirmed judges alone.

“It’s hard to comprehend what President Trump exactly meant by his statement,” Wheeler advised the AP. “He does have a strong record so far in appointments to the U.S. Court of Appeals — 20 months in, Trump appointees occupy 15 percent of authorized circuit judgeships — but on that score he still trails Kennedy and Eisenhower, and Grover Cleveland, for that matter.”



TRUMP: “Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be ‘Tariffed!’” — tweet Sept. 17.

THE FACTS: In commerce talks with China, Canada and Mexico, it’s not totally clear how a lot of a bonus america has gained from the tariffs. The import taxes imposed on metal and aluminum have been strain factors. So are the tariffs on $50 billion value of Chinese language items, with the president suggesting he’s ready to tax a further $467 billion of imports from China. However People should see a remaining cope with Canada or China to evaluate whether or not these taxes are delivering a greater discount.

Nonetheless, have tariffs introduced in billions of dollars and jobs with out growing inflation?

Sure, the tariffs have introduced in barely extra income. It’s exhausting to know in the event that they’ve helped create jobs. And the businesses closest to the tariffs say that, sure, inflation is a danger.

In concept, the tariffs ought to add cash to federal coffers. The 25 % tax the Trump administration slapped on $50 billion of Chinese language imports ought to increase $12.5 billion if the movement of products continues with out interruption.

And despite the fact that many tariffs haven’t been in place lengthy sufficient to find out whether or not they’re serving to attract considerably extra income, the Treasury Division stated there was a $5.four billion bounce within the assortment of customs and duties up to now this fiscal yr. A few of this improve is because of extra imports. However customs and duties account for simply 1.2 % of federal revenues, so any improve from tariffs does little to deal with the ballooning price range deficit.

The U.S. financial system was including jobs earlier than the tariffs have been introduced, and it has been including jobs since. It’s exhausting to know at this stage how the tariffs have influenced the tempo of job creation, since any evaluation would wish to think about the entire of the nine-year enlargement and the stimulus from Trump’s deficit-funded tax minimize.


TRUMP: “Our Steel Industry is the talk of the World. It has been given new life, and is thriving. Billions of Dollars is being spent on new plants all around the country!” — tweet Sept. 17.

THE FACTS: Trump has definitely helped steelmakers, however up to now it’s not the dramatic turnaround that he portrays.

Analysts at Citibank stated this month that metal corporations have accredited greater than $three billion in funding following the tariffs. Some metal mills have restarted closed mills and added new capability.

Producers targeted on main metals have added 7,100 staff up to now 12 months for a complete of 381,700 jobs, in response to the Labor Division. However that complete nonetheless lags the 402,600 jobs with main metallic producers on the finish of 2014. A stronger greenback and decrease oil costs harm the demand for metal merchandise, inflicting manufacturing and employment to fall. And Trump is a great distance from the greater than 450,000 jobs on this sector at first of 2008.

Extra importantly, metal is a modest element of U.S. job progress. Main metals represented simply zero.three % of the two.33 million job good points up to now yr.


Related Press writers Josh Boak and Christopher Rugaber contributed to this report.


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