Fact-Checking Trump’s Montana Rally

What Trump Said

Tester joined every other Senate Democrat in supporting open-borders legislation from the now-legendary Dianne Feinstein.


A bill sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, did receive the support of all Senate Democrats, including Jon Tester of Montana. But it did not open the border; rather, it sought to stop the separation of children from their families at the border.

The bill does not prevent deportations, as the president has said, nor does it halt prosecution of migrants for illegally entering the country. It also does not prevent family members from being detained together.

The Republican Party criticized the bill for being careless, because it was not specific to immigration enforcement. Mr. Trump’s characterization, however, distorts what the bill actually proposes.

What Trump Said

It was heading down when I took over. They like to say, “Well, Obama helped.” He didn’t help. We were going down.


Regardless of which president deserves more credit for the healthy economy, Mr. Trump is wrong that the economy was declining until he took over.

Since the peak of the Great Recession, metrics show the economy had steadily improved under President Barack Obama’s second term. Unemployment declined to 4.8 percent in January 2017, when Mr. Trump took office, from 10 percent in October 2009. Gross domestic product has risen every year for the past nine years. And the stock market climbed steadily, too.

Other Claims

Mr. Trump also repeated a number of other claims The New York Times has previously debunked:

He misleadingly claimed to have eliminated the estate tax for small farmers and ranchers. (The tax law raised the threshold for the tax, which affected only about 80 small farms and businesses a year.)

He falsely claimed Democrats “want to impose socialism on the United States” and turn it into Venezuela, referring to “Medicare for all” proposals. (Venezuela’s health care system was not a major contributing factor to its economic and political crisis.)

He falsely accused Democrats of supporting “open borders.” (Democrats support border security measures.)

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

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

He falsely claimed “the other side is fighting” protections for pre-existing conditions, while Republicans will always support those protections. (Democrats have consistently supported protections, while Republican legislation and actions by the Trump administration undermine them.)

He falsely claimed “everybody disagreed with me” during the presidential election when he promised to protect Social Security benefits. (Democratic candidates made the same pledge, as did one Republican candidate.)

He misleadingly said “Democrats will not allow us to change” immigration laws. (Immigration overhaul legislation supported by the White House was defeated in part because of no votes from Republican lawmakers.)

He falsely claimed terminally ill patients could not access experimental drugs “for decades and decades” until he signed the “right to try” law. (A similar federal program has existed since the 1970s.)

Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to The Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact. @ylindaqiu

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