National News

15 False or Misleading Claims in Trump’s Georgia and Tennessee Rallies

Posted November 4, 2018 11:16 p.m. EST

President Donald Trump falsely said Democrats “want to take away your health care” and misstated when he appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” among many other dubious remarks in campaign rallies on Sunday.

What Trump Said

“Stacey Abrams wants illegal aliens to vote.”

— This is misleading.

Trump is repeating a misleading claim from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor running against Abrams, a Democrat. Kemp has repeatedly distorted comments Abrams made during an Oct. 9 campaign event, in which she called for the “blue wave,” which Democrats hope will sweep them into power, to be inclusive.

“The blue wave is African-American. It’s white. It’s Latino. It’s Asian-Pacific Islander. It is disabled. It is differently abled. It is LGBTQ. It is law enforcement. It is veterans. It is made up of those who’ve been told that they are not worthy of being here,” she said. “It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented. It’s made up of those who have been told they are successful and those who have been told they are left behind.”

Kemp cited these comments to claim Abrams had “called on illegals to vote for you in this election” during their debate and in an interview with Fox News. But Abrams has repeatedly denied this and said she “never asked for anyone who is not legally eligible to vote to be able to cast a ballot.”

“I only believe that those who have the legal eligibility to vote should cast a ballot,” she said during the debate.

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What Trump Said

“Oprah when she ended her show had her five most important people — I assume — her last week, remember the last week? Well, I was on her full show in the last week. I think they’re trying to burn the tape.”

— This is exaggerated.

Trump appeared on the final season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but not in its last week. Trump and his family appeared on Winfrey’s show in February 2011. The final week of shows concluded May 25, 2011. It included a two-part, star-studded celebration at the United Center in Chicago, and a finale episode that featured Gayle King, Winfrey’s best friend, and the journalist Maria Shriver. Neither event included Trump.

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What Trump Said

“They want to take away your health care.”

— False.

This claim strains credulity, given the Democrats’ yearslong effort to expand health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans, with Trump’s support, attempted to advance several legislative efforts to repeal and replace the health law. Under those plans, the number of insured people was projected to decline. Democrats opposed those bills.

Saving the health care law is central to many Democrats’ midterm campaigns, while other candidates support expanding Medicaid or “Medicare for all” proposals, both of which would expand coverage.

Trump is free to argue for the Republicans’ health care vision as a more vote-worthy alternative, but equating these Democratic positions with wanting to take away coverage is inaccurate and nonsensical.

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What Trump Said

“He will embrace the socialist takeover of health care.”

— This is misleading.

“Socialist takeover of health care” has become Trump campaign parlance for “Medicare for all” proposals. But Trump’s target, former Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democratic running for Senate, does not support such proposals.

Early this decade, Bredesen wrote a book proposing a voucher system of universal health coverage, an idea that Democrats have generally opposed and some Republicans have supported. It’s not the same thing as Medicare for all, in which the government would pay hospitals and health care providers.

Asked about Medicare for all and a single-payer system in an interview with Business Insider in October, Bredesen said: “I’m not ready to sign on to that at this point. I do think we need to take some first steps to just solidify the Affordable Care Act.”

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Other Claims

Trump also made a number of other claims The New York Times has previously fact-checked:

— He falsely accused Democrats of wanting to “totally erase America’s borders.” (Democrats support border security measures.)

— He misleadingly claimed to have started construction on his border wall and to have received $4.8 billion in funding for it. (Construction has not begun, and he has received $1.6 billion for fence repair projects.)

— He claimed Democrats want to “invite caravan after caravan.” (There is no evidence that Democrats are behind the migrant caravan.)

— He falsely claimed House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended the transnational gang MS-13. (Pelosi objected to Trump calling immigrants in general “animals.” She did not mention MS-13.)

— He falsely claimed the “Medicare for all” proposals would “obliterate Medicare.” (The proposals expand coverage and benefits.)

— He falsely claimed that Republicans, unlike Democrats, “will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” (Democrats have consistently supported protections, while Republican legislation and actions by the Trump administration have undermined them.)

— He claimed that “illegal immigration costs well over $100 billion a year.” (The figure comes from an anti-immigration group that has been heavily criticized by other researchers for methodological flaws.)

— He claimed association health plans, which his administration approved in June, will be “frankly better insurance” than those offered under the Affordable Care Act. (The association plans do not have to offer coverage of “essential health benefits” like maternity care, mental health care and prescription drugs.)

— He falsely claimed to have been the only candidate to have promised to protect Social Security from cuts. (Democratic candidates made the same promise, as did one Republican candidate.)

— He falsely claimed terminally ill patients could not gain access to experimental drugs for “many, many years” before he signed the “Right to Try” law this year. (A similar federal program has existed since the 1970s.)

— He claimed that lawmakers were unable to pass Veterans Choice legislation for “44 years” before he signed it into law. (He enacted a bill making changes to the veterans health care program, which has existed only since 2014.)