FactCheck.org

Trump’s Address to Congress

The president distorted the facts on jobs, immigration, health insurance, war spending and more.

Summary

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump stuck closely to his prepared remarks, but ran afoul of the facts in some cases.

  • Trump said the U.S. has spent $6 trillion in the Middle East and “with this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country.” The amount spent so far is $1.7 trillion, according to the Defense Department.
  • He cherry-picked the findings of a recent report, saying it found immigration costs U.S. taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.” The report said immigration “has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth.”
  • Trump said “94 million Americans are out of the labor force,” a figure that includes the retired, college students and stay-at-home parents. The vast majority — 88.5 million — said they didn’t want a job.
  • Trump said he would “promote clean air and clean water,” a vague claim that came hours after he had signed an executive order to roll back a 2015 “Clean Water Rule.”
  • And the president repeated claims we’ve fact-checked before on border security, welfare, job creation since he was elected, health insurance and crime. For instance, he said the U.S. left “our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross.” But the border patrol budget and number of agents have both doubled since 2001.

Analysis

The false and misleading claims in Trump’s Feb. 28 address to Congress touched on familiar topics to fact-checkers, including the Middle East, the labor force, immigration and more.

$6 Trillion War?

Trump claimed that the U.S. has spent $6 trillion in the Middle East and “with this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country” two or three times.

Trump: America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the Middle East, all this while our infrastructure at home is crumbling. With this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country — twice. And maybe even three times if

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