A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: Trump’s False Trade Claims


In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper looks at two of President Donald Trump’s recent claims about trade.

At an Aug. 2 rally in Pennsylvania, the president falsely claimed the “trade deficit just fell” by $52 billion during the second quarter of 2018. The actual figure is $20 billion, according to the recent federal data on trade in goods and services.

In an Aug. 5 tweet, the president also claimed that his trade policies will help reduce the U.S. debt.

“Because of Tariffs we will be able to start paying down large amounts of the $21 Trillion in debt that has been accumulated, much by the Obama Administration, while at the same time reducing taxes for our people,” Trump tweeted.

In order to reduce the $21 trillion total public debt, the federal government needs to stop running up annual deficits. But the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal deficit this fiscal year will be $804 billion, and the Department of Treasury told CNN that it estimates all tariffs will bring in about $40 billion this year. The $40 billion in revenues from tariffs fall far short of the $804 billion needed to balance the budget.

FactCheck.org and CNN’s “State of the Union” have been collaborating on fact-checking videos since September 2015. Past videos can be found on FactCheck.org.

For more about the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania rally, please see our item, “A Rally Filled with Repeats.