Accuracy in Media

Following the president’s campaign kickoff speech in Orlando, the Washington Post’s Salvador Rizzo offered “Fact-checking President Trump’s reelection campaign kickoff,” which featured some of the claims of Trump lies that were among the 1,400 claims of “false and misleading statements” that were debunked in Accuracy in Media’s 10,000 Lies in 10 Days series.

It continued to claim, among other things, that special counsel Robert Mueller is a “lifelong Republican,” even though Mueller lives in Virginia and thus does not register by party and has not participated in any activities that could be determined to be support for the party.

It also misleads in saying, “Mueller said he declined to reach a decision on whether to bring obstruction charges in part because of a Justice Department policy not to indict the sitting president and in part because he didn’t want to get in the way of a potential impeachment process in Congress, among other reasons.”

Attorney General William Barr said he asked Mueller on numerous occasions whether he would have charged the president with obstruction absent the Justice Department legal opinion that sitting presidents can’t be indicted, and Mueller repeatedly assured him this was not the case.

The Post took issue with Trump’s claim that his tax cuts and reforms were the largest in American history.

“This is a Bottomless Pinocchio claim, our worst rating,” Rizzo wrote. “Trump’s tax cut amounted to nearly 0.9 percent of gross domestic product, meaning it was far smaller than President Ronald Reagan’s tax cut in 1981, which was 2.89 percent of GDP. Trump’s tax cut is the eighth-largest on record – smaller eve, than two tax cuts passed under Obama.”

But as pointed out in “10,000 Lies in 10 Days,” Trump’s tax cuts were the largest in whole dollars in U.S. history, and whole dollars is a credible metric.

Rizzo attempted to take down Trump’s claim that “the U.S. auto industry, which by the way is doing great. Many, many plants are now under construction in Michigan and Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida. They hadn’t built one in decades, and now they’re all over the place.”

Rizzo’s response: “What a coincidence. These are all swing states in the 2020 presidential election, save for South Carolina. But it’s a three-Pinocchio claim.”

It’s true, Rizzo admitted, that new car plants or expansions have been announced in Ohio, Michigan and South Carolina since Trump took office. But in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, what has been announced is not new car plants but new car parts plants. To the Post, this means Trump is lying.

It also claims Trump was lying when he said, “In the eight years before I took office, on average we lost 2,000 manufacturing jobs a month. Since my inauguration, we’ve added 16,000 manufacturing jobs a month. That didn’t happen by accident.”

Rizzo’s response was that Trump was lying because he chose January 2009 – the month President Obama took office – as his baseline, and that at this point, the U.S. was “smack-dab in the middle of the longest U.S. recession since World War II.”

Rizzo says manufacturing employment began a “slow but steady recovery in April 2010, during Obama’s second year in office. That steady rate of growth has continued and accelerated under Trump.”

This is false. In June 2016, President Obama gave a speech in which he accused Trump of having a “magic wand” because manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back.” The U.S. had lost 31,000 manufacturing jobs from January 2016 till June of that year, and manufacturing jobs grew by 96,000 over the last 26 months of his presidency.

But the first 26 months under Trump brought 479,000 more manufacturing jobs – 399 percent more than Obama’s record.  

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