Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

On Twitter, at rallies and in interviews, U.S. President Donald Trump has been ramping up his rhetoric to make sure Republicans prevail at the midterm elections on Nov. 6 – and sometimes defying the facts in the process. Below are some of the Associated Press’s fact checks of statements the President has made in the leadup to the election. You can also check The Globe and Mail’s midterms primer for an in-depth look at the issues.


On immigration and citizenship

The context: With his eyes squarely on the Nov. 6 elections, Mr. Trump is rushing out hard-line immigration declarations, promises and actions as he tries to mobilize supporters to retain Republican control of Congress. His own campaign in 2016 concentrated on border fears, and that’s been his final-week focus in the midterm fight. One thing in particular that’s caught his rhetorical ire is a migrant caravan that started in Honduras, bringing thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution in Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border. The caravan is still hundreds of kilometres away from the border, and moving slowly on foot, but the Trump administration has deployed more than 5,000 military troops to confront the refugees.

Oct. 30, 2018: A man holds up a stroller as hundreds of migrants hitching a ride accommodate themselves on the back of truck between Niltepec and Juchitan, Mexico. The group is part of a large caravan making its way from Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border.

Rebecca Blackwell/The Associated Press


Speech on Nov. 1:

At this very moment, large well-organized caravans of migrants are marching towards our southern border. Some people call it an invasion. …These are tough people in many cases; a lot of young men, strong men and a lot of men that maybe we don’t want in our country. …This isn’t an innocent group of people. It’s a large number of people that are tough. They have injured, they have attacked.

Nov. 2: Claudia Estrada, 27, from El Salvador, part of a migrant caravan travelling to the U.S., carries her three-year-old daughter Adriana in front of riot police as she tries to get into Mexico near the border in Tecun Uman, Guatemala.

UESLEI MARCELINO/Reuters

The facts: He suggests without evidence that people in the caravans are, by and large, dangerous, hardened criminals.

Story continues below advertisement

The migrants in the caravans are mostly from Honduras, where it started, as well as El Salvador and Guatemala. Overall, they are poor, carrying the belongings that fit into a knapsack and fleeing gang violence or poverty. It might be true there are some criminals mixed in with the throngs, given the sheer number of migrants. Mr. Trump did not substantiate his claim that members of the MS-13 gang, in particular, are among them.

Some migrants in one of the caravans clashed with Mexican police at the Mexico-Guatemala border, hurling stones and other objects as they tried to cross the international bridge. Caravan leaders said they had expelled a number of troublemakers from the procession, exhibiting some self-policing. The caravan otherwise has been overwhelmingly peaceful, receiving applause and donated food from residents of the towns they pass.

Speech on Nov. 1:

President Obama separated the children from parents and nobody complained. When we continued the exact same law, the country went crazy.

The facts: Actually, President Barack Obama did not do the same thing as a matter of policy. While it’s true the underlying laws were the same, the Trump administration mandated anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted. That policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings, and their children were separated and sent into the care of the Health and Human Services Department, which is tasked with caring for unaccompanied migrant children. The so-called zero tolerance policy remains in effect, but Mr. Trump signed an executive order June 20 that stopped separations.

Speech on Nov. 1:

Asylum is not a program for those living in poverty.

The facts: He’s largely right. Poverty may play a role in the complex decision process granting asylum, but the status is reserved for people who have a justifiable fear of persecution in their own country based on factors such as their race, religion or political views. According to the Homeland Security Department, about 20 per cent of claimants are granted asylum. Currently, there is a backlog of about 700,000 cases, and it can take years for claims to get resolved.

Tweet on Oct. 31:

So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many legal scholars agree.....

Excerpt of interview with Axios on HBO, released Oct. 30:

It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t. … Well, you can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.

A boy is held by his mother at a special Halloween-themed ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Washington District Office in Fairfax, Va.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The facts: Most scholars on the left and right share the view that it would take a constitutional amendment to deny automatic citizenship to children who were born in the United States but whose parents came to the country illegally. Scholars widely pan the idea that Mr. Trump could unilaterally change the rules on who is a citizen. It’s highly questionable whether an act of Congress could do it, either, though it is conceivable that legislators could change the rules.

Peter Schuck of Yale University’s law school is perhaps the most prominent advocate of the idea that birthright citizenship is not conveyed by the Constitution to children of parents who are living illegally in the U.S. Prof. Schuck and colleague Rogers Smith of the University of Pennsylvania have argued since the mid-1980s that Congress can set the rules for providing citizenship to U.S.-born children of parents who came illegally. Even Prof. Schuck says “Trump clearly cannot act by” executive order. “I feel confident that no competent lawyer would advise him otherwise,” he told Associated Press by e-mail Tuesday. “This is just pre-election politics and misrepresentation and should be sharply criticized as such.”

The Constitution’s citizenship clause was part of the post-Civil War amendments that enshrined the rights of African-Americans. The citizenship clause, in particular, was intended to overturn the Supreme Court’s notorious Dred Scott decision of 1857 that held African-Americans were not citizens. The Supreme Court has never ruled squarely about the clause’s application to children of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. But an 1898 Supreme Court decision held that the U.S.-born son of legal Chinese immigrants was a citizen under the 14th Amendment; a footnote in a 1982 decision suggests there should be no difference for children of foreign-born parents whether they are in the U.S. legally or illegally.


Excerpt of interview with Axios on HBO, released Oct. 30:

We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.

The facts: That’s flat-out wrong. The U.S. is among about 30 countries where birthright citizenship – the principle of jus soli, or “right of the soil” – is applied, according to the World Atlas and other sources. Most are in the Americas. Canada and Mexico are among them. Most other countries confer citizenship based on that of at least one parent – jus sanguinis, or “right of blood” – or have a modified form of birthright citizenship that may restrict automatic citizenship to children of parents who are on their territory legally.

The 29 countries other than the U.S. which

offer birthright citizenship

Canada

United States

Atlantic Ocean

Mexico

Belize

Cuba

Jamaica

Guatemala

Honduras

El Salvador

Venezuela

Nicaragua

Panama

Guyana

Ecuador

Brazil

Peru

Fiji

(11,000 km

from Lima, Peru)

Bolivia

Paraguay

Chile

Pacific Ocean

Uruguay

Argentina

Antigua and

Barbuda

Saint Kitts

and Nevis

Dominica

Saint Vincent and

the Grenadines

Saint Lucia

Barbados

Grenada

Trinidad

and

Tobago

Venezuela

SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The 29 countries other than the U.S. which

offer birthright citizenship

Canada

United States

Atlantic Ocean

Mexico

Belize

Cuba

Jamaica

Guatemala

Honduras

El Salvador

Venezuela

Nicaragua

Panama

Guyana

Ecuador

Brazil

Peru

Fiji

(11,000 km

from Lima, Peru)

Bolivia

Paraguay

Chile

Pacific Ocean

Uruguay

Argentina

Antigua and

Barbuda

Saint Kitts

and Nevis

Dominica

Saint Vincent and

the Grenadines

Saint Lucia

Barbados

Grenada

Trinidad

and

Tobago

Venezuela

SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The 29 countries other than the U.S. which offer birthright citizenship

Canada

United States

Antigua and

Barbuda

Atlantic Ocean

Saint Kitts

and Nevis

Mexico

Belize

Cuba

Jamaica

Guatemala

Honduras

Dominica

El Salvador

Venezuela

Nicaragua

Guyana

Panama

Saint Vincent and

the Grenadines

Saint Lucia

Ecuador

Brazil

Peru

Fiji

Bolivia

Pacific Ocean

Barbados

Paraguay

Chile

Grenada

Uruguay

Argentina

Trinidad

and

Tobago

Venezuela

SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

On political violence

The context: On Oct. 26, police arrested a Florida man who is a fervent Trump supporter and accused him of sending more than a dozen mail bombs to prominent Democrats including Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, and his opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump hailed law enforcement for acting swiftly against “terrorizing acts” he called “despicable.” But he also faced criticism, including from some of the mail bomb’s targets, for inflaming American political discourse with his own angry rhetoric. Then on Oct. 27, a gunman shouting anti-Semitic threats stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people. Mr. Trump denounced the attack and visited Pittsburgh to pay his respects on Oct. 30, but was met by thousands of protesters who said he wasn’t welcome there until he more clearly denounced the white nationalism behind the attack.

Story continues below advertisement

Oct. 30, 2018: Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial for the 11 people killed there over the weekend.

Matt Rourke/The Associated Press


Remarks at an Illinois rally on Oct. 27:

With what happened early today, that horrible, horrible attack in Pittsburgh, I was saying maybe I should cancel both this and that. And then I said to myself, I remembered … the New York Stock Exchange on September 11th, and the New York Stock Exchange was open the following day. …We can’t make these sick, demented, evil people important.

Remarks to reporters in Illinois on Oct. 27:

I remember what Dick Grasso did with the New York Stock Exchange and what happened on Sept. 11 and I said, you can’t let these evil people change your life, change your schedules, change anything.

No, the NYSE did not reopen the day after 9/11. In fact, the NYSE and Nasdaq exchanges remained closed until Monday, Sept. 17, the longest shutdown since 1933.

Tweet on Oct. 26:

Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!

The facts: His use of “bomb” in quotation marks lent weight to conspiracy theories that Democrats and CNN were targeted as part of a liberal plot to drum up voter anger at Mr. Trump and fellow Republicans. There’s no evidence of that. Mr. Trump’s tweet bemoaned the diversion of attention away from the campaign by news organizations that shifted priority to the attack. Given Mr. Trump’s vow that no effort would be spared to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice, it’s questionable whether the president actually believed the theory he seemed to be subscribing to in the tweet.

On voter fraud

The context: Mr. Trump – who won the Electoral College in the 2016 presidential election, but lost the popular vote – often asserts that voter fraud is a significant issue, but has not provided evidence of consequential fraud. After his election victory, the President convened a commission to investigate potential voting fraud, after alleging repeatedly and without evidence that fraud cost him the popular vote. But he disbanded the panel in January, blaming the decision on more than a dozen states that refused to comply with the commission’s demand for reams of personal voter data.

Nov. 8, 2016: A lone voter fills out a ballot at a polling station in the Terrace Park Community Building in Cincinnati during the U.S. presidential election.

John Minchillo/The Associated Press


Remarks at a Texas rally on Oct. 22:

The illegals — and by the way, I hate to tell you, you go to California, you go — they vote anyway. They vote anyway. And they’re not supposed to. ... Voter ID, folks. Voter ID. Voter ID.

Tweet on Oct. 20:

All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!

The facts: He’s exaggerating the extent of voting fraud. The actual number of fraud cases is very small, and the type that voter IDs are designed to prevent – voter impersonation at the ballot box – is virtually nonexistent. In court cases that have invalidated some ID laws as having discriminatory effects, election officials could barely cite a case in which a person was charged with in-person voting fraud.

Democrats have opposed voter-ID laws as unnecessarily restricting access for nonwhites and young people, who tend to vote Democratic. Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting non-citizens to be able to vote in U.S. elections.


On medicare

The context: A year ago, health care was at the top of the President’s policy agenda, but his plan to repeal the signature “Obamacare” policy of his predecessor suffered narrow defeat in Congress. Ahead of the midterms, Mr. Trump has hardly mentioned health care for months, while the Democrats have been making health reform a key plank of their platforms.

Story continues below advertisement

Rally in Florida on Nov. 3:

The Democrat plan would obliterate Medicare.

The facts: He’s incorrect that Democrats would seek to “obliterate Medicare.” Mr. Trump appears to be referring to Democratic proposals to provide “Medicare for All,” but the options that allow younger people to buy into a Medicare-like plan don’t involve overhauling the current program.

The plan by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, would be a fundamental change, expanding Medicare to cover almost everyone in the country. But current Medicare recipients would get improved benefits. Mr. Sanders would eliminate Medicare deductibles, limit copays and provide coverage for dental and vision care, as well as hearing aids. A House single-payer bill calls for covering long-term care.

The issue is whether the U.S. can afford to convert to a new government-run health care system, not that older Americans would be left uncovered. The Democratic proposals call for new taxes to help pay for expanded Medicare coverage.

Remarks to reporters on Nov. 2:

What we’ve done for the military and the vets — we’ve gotten them Choice, where they can now go to a doctor and the United States pays for it instead of waiting in line for two months and three months and not being able to see a doctor, and literally dying — dying while they were waiting on line to see a doctor. After 44 years they’ve been working on it, I got it approved. And that’s Choice for veterans.

The facts: No, he is not the first president in 44 years to get passed in Congress a private-sector health program for veterans. More broadly, he exaggerates VA improvements under his watch by suggesting the newly expanded program will have immediate effect.

Congress first approved the Veterans Choice program in 2014 during the Obama administration in the wake of a scandal at the Phoenix VA medical centre in which some veterans died while waiting months for appointments. The program allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility. Mr. Trump signed legislation in June to expand the Choice program by giving veterans even wider access to private-sector doctors at government expense, subject to yet-to-be-completed rules that will determine eligibility as well as available money. The VA has yet to resolve long-term financing due to congressional budget caps that could put funding for VA or other domestic programs at risk next year.

On taxation

The context: Last December, the U.S. passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which slashed corporate tax rates from 35 per cent to 25 per cent. Individual tax rates were also cut, but those cuts expire in 2026 to avoid additional pressure on the national deficit. The law was a major comeback for the “trickle down economics” of the Reagan era.

Story continues below advertisement

Dec. 20, 2017: U.S. President Donald Trump celebrates with congressional Republicans on the White House's south lawn after the passage of sweeping tax overhaul legislation.

Carlos Barria/Reuters


Remarks at a Texas rally on Oct. 22:

We’re going to be putting in a 10 per cent tax cut for middle-income families. It’s going to be put in next week, 10 per cent tax cut. Kevin Brady is working on it. We’ve been working on it for a few months, a 10 per cent brand-new — and that is in addition to the big tax cuts that you’ve already gotten. But this one is for middle income.

His suggestion that he can soon secure a tax cut for middle-class families is highly questionable. Congress is out of session as lawmakers campaign for the Nov. 6 midterm elections. When pressed about when a bill can be approved, Mr. Trump insisted that “we’ll do the vote after the election.” But he’s making a big assumption that Congress can act in a lame-duck session this year or that Republicans will keep control of the House and Senate next year.

Coming so close to critical elections, the tax proposal appeared to be more a tacit acknowledgement by the Trump administration that the US$1.5-trillion package of tax cuts passed last year failed to deliver the political traction that Republicans had hoped for. So he’s dangling the prospect for more.

Remarks at a Texas rally on Oct. 22:

We’ve saved your family farms, ranches and small businesses from the estate tax, also known as the death tax. …There’s no tax. …That was in our tax cuts.

There is so an estate tax. The Republican-controlled Congress did not eliminate the estate tax as part of its 2017 law. Rather, it increased the tax exemption – temporarily – so fewer people will be subject to those taxes. There also wasn’t much that Trump “saved” since very few farms or small businesses were subject to an estate tax even before the 2017 law.

Previously, any assets from estates valued at more than $5.49-million, or nearly $11-million for couples, were subject to the estate tax in 2017. The new law doubled that minimum for 2018 to $11.2-million, or $22.4-million for couples. Those increased minimums will expire at the end of 2025. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only about 50 small farms and closely held businesses were subject to the estate tax in 2017. Those estates represent about 1 per cent of all taxable estate tax returns.

On the judiciary

The context: Weeks before the midterms, the U.S. Senate saw a tense political showdown over Mr. Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Several women have accused the judge of sexually assaulting them in the 1980s, which he denies. One of those women, Christine Blasey Ford, gave tearful testimony to the Senate judiciary committee in September. The hearings, and Judge Kavanaugh’s eventual confirmation to the court, rekindled memories of 1991′s Anita Hill hearing and 1992′s “Year of the Woman” that brought more female legislators into Congress.

Oct. 8, 2018: Mr. Trump listens as retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, ceremonially swears in Justice Brett Kavanaugh, left, in the East Room of the White House. Mr. Kavanaugh's wife, Ashley, was there with daughters Margaret, left, and Liza.

Susan Walsh/The Associated Press


Remarks at a rally in Wisconsin on Oct. 24:

You know, many presidents don’t get a chance to put a Supreme Court justice on. Here we are, less than two years, we’ve put two of them on. Right? So if we go at this clip, we’ll put eight of them on. How do you like that idea? Eight! One a year. We’ll do one a year.

He’s wrong. Almost every U.S. president in fact has had a chance to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court; only four haven’t. Mr. Trump also does not particularly stand out among presidents for having appointed two justices by the 21-month mark in his term. At least nine other U.S. presidents besides Mr. Trump had already appointed two justices by that point.

Story continues below advertisement

Only four U.S. presidents failed to nominate a justice. Two of them, William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor, died during their first term in office, while Jimmy Carter served one term as president. Andrew Johnson also was deprived of a chance after Congress in 1866 shrunk the size of the Supreme Court from 10 justices to seven.

Associated Press • Compiled by Globe staff

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies