AP Fact Check: Trump Brings Puerto Rico Fiction to Florida - NBC Connecticut
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's presidency

AP Fact Check: Trump Brings Puerto Rico Fiction to Florida

Trump laced his speech in Panama City Beach with a recitation of falsehoods that never quit

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Learn How Doctors Are Treating Elbow Injuries With Metal Prosthetics
    AP
    President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at Aaron Bessant Amphitheater, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Panama City Beach, Fla.

    President Donald Trump brought his enduring fiction about hurricane aid for Puerto Rico to a rally crowd in Florida on Wednesday.

    Pledging unstinting support for more hurricane recovery money for Floridians, he vastly exaggerated how much Puerto Rico has received.

    Trump laced his speech in Panama City Beach with a recitation of falsehoods that never quit, touching on veterans' health care, the economy, visas and more. A sampling:

    TRUMP: "We gave to Puerto Rico $91 billion" — and that's more, he said, than any U.S. state or entity has received for hurricane aid.

    Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments

    [NATL] Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments, Says Would Turn Over to Authorities
    President Trump is flipping the script on foreign election interference, after telling ABC News that he’d consider taking foreign dirt on a political opponent. The president clarified his previous statement on Fox News, saying that “there isn’t anything wrong with listening” to such intelligence, and that “of course” he’d contact the authorities if a foreign power offered it to him.”
     
    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    THE FACTS: His number is wrong, as is his assertion that the U.S. territory has set some record for federal disaster aid. Congress has so far distributed only about $11 billion for Puerto Rico, not $91 billion.

    He's stuck to his figure for some time. The White House has said the estimate includes about $50 billion in expected future disaster disbursements that could span decades, along with $41 billion approved.

    That $50 billion in additional money is speculative. It is based on Puerto Rico's eligibility for federal emergency disaster funds for years ahead, involving calamities that haven't happened.

    That money would require future appropriations by Congress.

    Even if correct, $91 billion would not be the most ever provided for hurricane rebuilding efforts. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost the U.S government more than $120 billion — the bulk of it going to Louisiana.

    ___

    Congress Takes on 'Deepfakes' Leading Up to 2020 Election

    [NATL] Congress Takes on 'Deepfake' Videos s Leading Up to 2020 Election

    Deepfakes, doctored videos with one face realistically superimposed on another, gained attention and alarm from lawmakers leading up to the 2020 presidential elections in an era that saw instant fallout from other altered videos of celebrities and politicians. 

    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    TRUMP, boasting that his economic record has delivered the "highest income ever in history for the different groups — highest income."

    THE FACTS: Not so. He did not achieve the best income numbers for all the racial groups. Both African Americans and Asian Americans had higher income prior to the Trump administration.

    The median income last year for a black household was $40,258, according to the Census Bureau. That's below a 2000 peak of $42,348 and also statistically no better than 2016, President Barack Obama's last year in office.

    Many economists view the continued economic growth since the middle of 2009, in Obama's first term, as the primary explanation for recent hiring and income gains. More important, there are multiple signs that the racial wealth gap is now worsening even as unemployment rates have come down.

    As for Asian Americans, the median income for a typical household last year was $81,331. It was $83,182 in 2016.

    ___

    Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    [NATL] Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be leaving her post at the end of June.

    (Published Thursday, June 13, 2019)

    TRUMP, claiming countries are taking advantage of the U.S. diversity visa lottery program: "They're giving us some rough people."

    THE FACTS: A perpetual falsehood from the president. Countries don't nominate their citizens for the program. They don't get to select people they'd like to get rid of.

    Foreigners apply for the visas on their own. Under the program, citizens of countries named by the U.S. can bid for visas if they have enough education or work experience in desired fields. Out of that pool of qualified applicants, the State Department randomly selects a much smaller pool of tentative winners. Not all winners will have visas approved because they still must compete for a smaller number of slots by getting their applications in quickly.

    Those who are ultimately offered visas still need to go through background checks, like other immigrants.

    ___

    TRUMP, describing how veterans used to wait weeks and months for a VA appointment: "For the veterans, we passed VA Choice. ... (Now) they immediately go outside, find a good local doctor, get themselves fixed up and we pay the bill."

    Biden, Trump Hold Dueling Events in Iowa

    [NATL] Biden, Trump Hold Dueling Events in Iowa

    Former vice president and current Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and President Donald Trump held dueling events in Iowa on Thursday.

    (Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019)

    THE FACTS: No, veterans still must wait for weeks for a medical appointment.

    While it's true the VA recently announced plans to expand eligibility for veterans in the Veterans Choice program, it remains limited due in part to uncertain money and longer waits.

    The program currently 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. Under new rules to take effect in June, veterans will have that option for a private doctor if their VA wait is only 20 days (28 for specialty care) or their drive is only 30 minutes.

    But the expanded Choice eligibility may do little to provide immediate help.

    That's because veterans often must wait even longer for an appointment in the private sector. In 2018, 34 percent of all VA appointments were with outside physicians, down from 36 percent in 2017. Then-Secretary David Shulkin said VA care was "often 40 percent better in terms of wait times" compared with the private sector.

    Choice came into effect after some veterans died while waiting months for appointments at the Phoenix VA medical center.

    Jon Stewart Blasts Congress Over 9/11 Victims Fund

    [NATL] Jon Stewart Blasts Congress Over 9/11 Victims Fund

    Watch comedian Jon Stewart’s full statement at a congressional hearing on the 9/11 victims fund Tuesday, June 11.

    (Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019)

    ___

    TRUMP, on the Choice program: "That's a great thing for our veterans. They've been trying to get it passed for 44 years. We got it passed."

    THE FACTS: He's incorrect. Congress approved the private-sector Veterans Choice health program in 2014 and President Barack Obama signed it into law. Trump is expanding it.

    ___

    TRUMP, on Democrat Beto O'Rourke's crowd size at a Texas rally before he launched his presidential campaign: "He had like 502 people."

    THE FACTS: Trump sells short O'Rourke's crowd, though it has grown in his mind since he claimed the Democrat only got 200-300 at his El Paso gathering in February. Trump had a rally there the same day.

    House to Hold First Hearing on Mueller Report

    [NATL] House to Hold First Hearing on Mueller Report

    Sixty Democrat lawmakers and one Republican say they are ready to impeach President Trump after the report released by special counsel Robert Mueller said there was evidence that the president tried to obstruct his investigation. The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on the report Monday.

    (Published Monday, June 10, 2019)

    O'Rourke's march and rally drew thousands. Police did not give an estimate, but his crowd filled nearly all of a baseball field from the stage at the infield to the edge of outfield and was tightly packed.