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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Trump’s Campaign-Style Exaggerations

President-elect Donald Trump kicked off his “victory tour” in Cincinnati, delivering a campaign-style speech that contained campaign-style exaggerations:

  • Trump took credit for saving “1,100 jobs” at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis “from going to Mexico.” But the company told us that the agreement prevents 800 factory jobs from going to Mexico. Another 300 jobs in “headquarters and engineering” at the plant were never going to be shifted to Mexico.
  • Trump said in “many cases” people have two jobs and “some of that is because of Obamacare.” In fact, the percentage of all U.S. workers holding multiple jobs has declined on an annual average basis under President Obama.
  • Trump claimed his percentage of the black vote was “higher than all of the Republican candidates for years.” That’s true when compared with Republicans who ran against Barack Obama, the first black president. But Trump did about the same or worse, as a percentage, than every other previous Republican since 1968.

The president-elect also repeated some claims we have already debunked on the size of this election victory and the impact of his tax cut on middle-income wage earners.

Carrier Deal

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence had a busy day on Dec. 1. First they stopped at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis to announce a deal with the company to save jobs that were scheduled to move to Mexico, and then they traveled to Cincinnati for the first of what will be several stops on their “victory tour.”

In Cincinnati, Trump and Pence both said that the president-elect negotiated a deal that would allow Carrier, a heating and air condition company, to keep 1,100 jobs at its plant in Indianapolis from being shipped to Mexico. But 300 of those jobs were never scheduled to leave the U.S.

Pence, Dec. 1: … because of the bold leadership and vision of President-elect Donald Trump, a company that announced back in February that they were closing their doors and moving to Mexico, announced that now that more than 1,100 good-paying jobs will stay right here in America and the president-elect made it happen.

Trump: But as I said, just today, I was in Indianapolis to announce that we’re saving the jobs at the Carrier plant from going to Mexico — 1,100 jobs.

Carrier had announced in February that it would close its manufacturing plant in Indianapolis and move operations near one of the company’s existing plants in Mexico. The move, scheduled to take place over three years, would have affected 1,400 factory workers.

But on Nov. 30, Carrier announced that the company “will continue to manufacture gas furnaces in Indianapolis, in addition to retaining engineering and headquarters staff, preserving more than 1,000 jobs.”

“Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate,” Carrier said in a prepared statement. “The incentives offered by the state” of Indiana, which reportedly include $7 million in tax breaks over 10 years, “were an important consideration.”

But according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and ABC News, 300 of those 1,100 jobs were never intended to move to Mexico.

A representative for Carrier confirmed to FactCheck.org that 300 jobs in “headquarters and engineering” were never going to be shifted from Indiana to Mexico. The other 800 jobs that will remain at the Indianapolis plant belong to factory workers, the official told us. Had the Indianapolis plant closed, those 300 positions in “headquarters and engineering” would have been moved to another facility in Indiana, the company representative said.

While the deal negotiated by Trump keeps 800 of the factory jobs in Indianapolis, another 600 factory jobs will still move to Mexico. And Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies Electronic Controls, will still close its manufacturing plant in Huntington, Indiana, shifting another 700 factory jobs to Mexico.

Multiple Jobs

Trump mentioned twice that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he referred to as “Obamacare.” In one instance, Trump blamed the health care law for forcing people to hold two jobs.

Trump, Dec. 1: And today, you’re older and you’re working harder. And in many cases, you have two jobs. Some of that is because of Obamacare. And, by the way, we are repealing and replacing Obamacare.

It is no doubt true that some people are working harder and holding down two jobs. But anecdotes are not evidence. In fact, the percentage of all U.S. workers holding multiple jobs has declined on an annual basis under President Obama, irrespective of the health care law, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

BLS tracks multiple jobholders as a percentage of all U.S. workers, using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The annual average was 5.2 percent in 2008, the year before Obama took office, and it remained at 5.2 percent in Obama’s first year in 2009.

Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010 and under the law individuals were required to obtain coverage or pay a tax penalty, beginning in January 2014. Yet, there has been little or no change in the annual average since 2010.

The average percentage of  U.S. workers holding multiple jobs fell to 4.9 percent in 2010 and has remained at that level every year since then. The average over the first 11 months of this year is 5 percent, which is a slight increase from last year but still below the annual average for all the years before Obama took office.

In April 2015, the BLS published an analysis of the trend in multiple jobholding from 1994 to 2013, concluding that “[m]ultiple jobholding has become less common in the United States over the past two decades.”

The BLS chart below shows the downward trend from January 1994, when BLS began to collect the data, to October 2016.

Multiple job holders
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

African American Vote

Explaining his victory, Trump claimed that his support among black voters steadily rose “up to a number that’s higher than all of the Republican candidates for years.” Trump got a higher percentage of support among black voters than the Republican presidential candidates who faced Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. But he did about the same or worse, as a percentage, than every other previous Republican going back to 1968.

Trump, Dec. 1: The African-American community was so great to me in this election. They were so great to me. Amazing. I couldn’t believe it. I started off at a low number and every week boom, boom, boom. And I got it up to a number that’s higher than all of the Republican candidates for years, and it was great.”

Trump is correct that he started with abysmally low support among black voters, according to many early polls. For example, polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and McClatchy-Marist in August showed Trump getting just 2 percent support among registered black voters.

On the day of the election, however, exit polls from CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post all showed Trump garnering 8 percent of the black vote, while Clinton got 88 or 89 percent.

That 8 percent for Trump is considerably lower than the “almost 15” percent support among African American voters that he wrongly boasted about during an interview with the New York Times interview on Nov. 22.

It is better than what Republican nominees Mitt Romney (6 percent in 2012) and John McCain (4 percent in 2008) got when those they squared off against Obama. But it’s a little less than George W. Bush got in 2004 (11 percent), and about the same as Bush got in 2000 (8 percent). But prior to that, you’d have to go back nine presidential elections, to Barry Goldwater (6 percent) in 1964, to find a Republican presidential candidate who garnered a lower percentage of support from black voters than Trump.


‘Landslide’ Election: Trump continued to insist that he won the presidential election “in a landslide,” even though his margin of victory actually ranks among the closest in the Electoral College history (46th in 58 elections). And  the latest vote tally from David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report shows Clinton leading the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes. As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump noted, the electoral vote was swung by a mere 80,000 voters in three states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. You can read more on the topic in our story, “Trump Landslide? Nope.”

Taxes: Trump said he was going to “reduce taxes … for the middle class, in particular.” We don’t know what tax plan Trump may propose as president. Indeed, Steven Mnuchin , Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary, told CNBC on Nov. 30, “Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions, so there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class. There will be a big tax cut for the middle class, but any tax cuts we have for the upper class will be offset by less deductions that pay for it.” That may be so, but we haven’t seen such a plan. Under the plan that Trump proposed as a candidate, the biggest tax cuts would go to the very wealthy “in particular” (as Trump put it), according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. The Tax Foundation found that, on average, Americans at every income level would get a tax cut under Trump’s plan, but the largest cuts, both in dollar amounts and as a percentage of after-tax income, would go to the wealthiest Americans, particularly those in the top 1 percent.