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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: SOTU and the Democratic Response


We fact-check several claims from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, and one from the Democratic response, in this video:

  • Trump twisted the facts in claiming the economy is “the best it has ever been” after “years of economic decay.” The economy was already experiencing steady growth in output, jobs and incomes in the years before he took office. About 1.3 million more jobs were added in the 35 months before he became president than in the first 35 months since. And the economy isn’t “the best it has ever been.” GDP growth fell to 2.3% last year and economists predict further slowing this year.
  • He claimed the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico “will create nearly 100,000 … auto jobs.” But the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency, puts the job gains at 28,000 over five years.
  • The president cherry-picked border apprehension figures in saying “illegal crossings” at the southwest border “are down 75% since May.” Overall, border apprehensions under Trump are up — 81% higher in 2019 compared with 2016, the year before he was inaugurated.
  • Trump compared apples to oranges in claiming a doubling of insurance premiums in five years before he took office and “less expensive” plans now. The cheaper options under his administration would cost less because they wouldn’t have to cover certain benefits and could vary premiums more widely than the Affordable Care Act allows.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer claimed in the Democratic response that “wages have stagnated while CEO pay has skyrocketed.” Wages, adjusted for inflation, have been rising over the last several presidencies.

For more on these claims and others, see our Feb. 5 story “FactChecking the State of the Union.”