Political News

AP FACT CHECK: The trophies in Trump's display Cabinet

Posted June 13

President Donald Trump, accompanied by, from left, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, smile during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

— President Donald Trump showed off a few too many trophies in his display Cabinet.

Trump opened part of a Cabinet meeting to the press Monday and filled that time with self-congratulation as well as praise from his team. On multiple fronts, that celebration of achievement was unearned.

A sampling of his comments:

—"Great success, including MS-13. They're being thrown out in record numbers and rapidly. And they're being depleted. They'll all be gone pretty soon."

THE FACTS: There's no publicly available information to back up Trump's claim that this violent gang is about to disappear.

Deportations are actually down slightly compared with the same time last year, as arrests of people caught crossing the Mexican border have dropped to historic lows. More than 100 MS-13 gang members have been arrested in recent weeks, though the government hasn't said how many of those people have been deported.

In any event, deportations alone cannot eradicate MS-13, a homegrown gang with ties to El Salvador that includes U.S. citizens. The government has not said how many of the estimated 7,000 to 10,000 gang members are Americans, who cannot be "thrown out." The group's roots in the U.S. go back more than 20 years to Los Angeles.

The gang was in decline in Southern California long before Trump was elected. During a recent raid of MS-13 members in Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck said the gang's membership has been declining for several years in part because of law enforcement crackdowns.

MS-13 has been in the crosshairs of federal law enforcement since at least 2012 when the group was designated a transnational criminal organization and subjected to financial sanctions by the Treasury Department. Three leaders of the gang were targeted for sanctions in 2015.

___

— "I recently returned from a trip overseas that included deals for more than $350 billion worth of military and economic investment in the United States. These deals will bring many thousands of jobs to our country and, in fact, will bring millions of jobs ultimately and help Saudi Arabia take a greater role in providing stability and security in that region."

THE FACTS: Trump's $350 billion figure includes hundreds of billions of dollars in aspirational deals with Saudi Arabia that have not been signed yet and could be revised or eliminated. He's relying on a 20- to 30-year projection of what the government believes will be the contracts' long-term value because of the cost of sustaining them. When he visited Riyadh, agreements on more than $110 billion in foreign military sales were pledged, according to the State Department. But many of those — along with a significant amount of the $80 billion in announced commercial civilian sales — were memoranda of understanding or letters of intent and not sales contracts.

Arms sales make up the vast majority of Trump's total, but those must be approved by the State Department and Congress.

Since Trump's trip, the State Department has notified lawmakers of only a small fraction of the total — $1.7 billion, mainly in naval and air force training contracts, and some Democrats say they want to hold those up over human rights concerns and Saudi Arabia's conduct in the war against rebels in Yemen. And while U.S. officials say further approvals, including large-ticket items such as a high-altitude missile defense system, could be approved in the coming weeks, there is no guarantee Congress will go along.

In addition, some of the business he's claiming to have generated was agreed to during the Obama administration.

___

—"I will say that never has there been a president -- with few exceptions; in the case of FDR, he had a major Depression to handle — who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than what we've done, between the executive orders and the job-killing regulations that have been terminated. Many bills; I guess over 34 bills that Congress signed. A Supreme Court justice who's going to be a great one ...We've achieved tremendous success."

THE FACTS: He has little to show for his first five months in office, in concrete ways, other than the confirmation of a justice.

Trump's two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, accomplished more in their early months. Trump has achieved no major legislation. The bills he is counting up are little more than housekeeping measures — things like naming a courthouse and a VA health care center, appointing board of regents members, reauthorizing previous legislation. He has indeed been vigorous in signing executive orders, but in the main they have far less consequence than legislation requiring congressional passage.

Trump's big agenda items, like his promised tax overhaul, have yet to pass or even reach Congress. His attempt to secure the borders from people from terrorism-prone regions is so far blocked by courts.

By contrast,  Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law in his first month, while also achieving a law expanding health care for children and the Lilly Ledbetter bill on equal pay for women in that time.

Bush got off to a slower start, in part because he did not take office in a deep recession requiring quick action, as Obama had done. But by this point in his presidency, Bush had signed a huge tax cut into law.

___

Find all AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

8 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • John Jones Jun 13, 12:55 p.m.
    user avatar

    A liberal news agency fact checking a Republican president. How comical.

    Wish they were equally interested in julian Assange's claim that Seth Rich was the whistle blower and not the Russians. Wiki Leaks has NEVER NEVER once been proven wrong or caught lying. HHMMMM

  • James Marley Jun 13, 12:24 p.m.
    user avatar

    Not defending Trump, but the AP fact checking anything his comical. Edward Bernays would be so proud.

  • Raleigh Rose Jun 13, 11:54 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    John-what part of this article is false?

  • Robert Richardson Jun 13, 11:15 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    You actually believe that don't you? Of all the things in this article, please explain which ones are wrong. Same question I asked another person who commented here defending Trump.

    Bet you can't do it.

  • Robert Richardson Jun 13, 11:13 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    I dare you to explain which one of these are actually attacks and lies. With an explanation of why. We will wait, although we know you won't respond with any truthful information.

  • John Jones Jun 13, 11:10 a.m.
    user avatar

    Trump's twitter account would be less active if the media wasn't blatantly targeting him and would publish 100% true story lines instead of all the witch hunt articles. I don't trust them either and don't blame him for exercising his right to defend himself. The liberal media has ran more what if, could it be illegal, maybe's, did the break the law, than they did in 8 years of Obama's shameful rein. It would be refreshing if they were as adamant about his anti white, anti christian, pro muslim , anti American tirade over the past 8 years.

    Fortunately it shows the true character of the left and it showed during the last election. Especially in the house and senate. Keep destroying your party guys. I'm loving it.

  • Raleigh Rose Jun 13, 9:59 a.m.
    user avatar

    If Trump would worry more about his job and less about his Twitter account, maybe he could get something done. Nothing has been done because he has no idea what he is doing. He even admitted that being POTUS is a lot harder than he thought it would be. And that means he was in no way prepared for this job and responsibility. And to have the members of his cabinet go around like that smacks of either Russia or N. Korea. Everyone praising their dear leader. Mattis is the only one that came out of that meeting with any dignity.

    But go ahead-attack the media for telling the truth. That makes sense.

  • Wayne Hill Jun 13, 8:53 a.m.
    user avatar

    Here is my fact check Alicia Caldwell and Matthew Lee have never created any jobs at AP. However they have not been objective or fair minded in their constant sniping. At this point they need to realize people are getting very tired of the constant negativity. There is a known fact in Psychology that attacks from outside of the group on a group, will make the group unify and become stronger. So Thanks AP for unifying the Conservative movement in America. OR....................has President Donald Trump now gone rogue and has his own deep State apparatus and it is the AP? LOL!