In Farewell Video, Trump Repeats Familiar Falsehoods

President Trump released a farewell video on Tuesday that was replete with inaccurate claims that have become staples of his remarks.

In the 20-minute speech, Mr. Trump listed — and embellished — what he considered to be his accomplishments in office.

Here’s a fact check.

What Mr. Trump Said

“We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world.”

False. Before the coronavirus pandemic struck nearly a year ago, the United States economy was certainly strong, but even excluding 2020, the metrics do not show a historical record. From 2017 to 2019, the economy grew at an annual average of 2.5 percent. That’s lower than the growth rates under Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and far from the 4 percent Mr. Trump himself promised as a candidate.

What Mr. Trump Said

“We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history.”

False. The 2017 tax cut ranks below several others. The 1981 Reagan tax cut is the largest as a percentage of the economy and by reduction in federal revenue, while the deal agreed to by President Barack Obama at the end of 2012 to make permanent elements of the Bush-era tax cut was the largest in inflation-adjusted dollars.

What Mr. Trump Said

“Our trade relationship was rapidly changing. Billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the U.S.”

This is exaggerated. Mr. Trump certainly had an aggressive approach to international trade, and he did not hesitate to impose tariffs and wage trade wars. Exports did increase in his term, but so did imports and over all, the United States’ trade deficit actually increased under him.

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What Mr. Trump Said

“The whole world suffered but America outperformed other countries economically.”

This is exaggerated. Economic recovery in the United States has outperformed many peer nations, but not all.

What Mr. Trump Said

“We also unlocked our energy resources and became the world’s number one producer of oil and natural gas by far.”

This is misleading. According to the Energy Information Administration, the United States became the world’s top oil producer in 2013 under Mr. Obama and overtook Russia as the world’s leading gas producer as far back as 2009.

What Mr. Trump Said

“We rebuilt the American manufacturing base, opened up thousands of new factories and brought back the beautiful phrase ‘Made in the U.S.A.’”

This lacks evidence. Manufacturing employment did rise by just under 500,000 before the pandemic, but by December, it had fallen by more than 75,000 from when Mr. Trump took office. Manufacturing output also increased modestly, before plummeting to lower than when Mr. Trump took office. The number of manufacturing establishments has increased under Mr. Trump, but the bulk of those employ five people or fewer.

What Mr. Trump Said

“We passed V.A. Choice, V.A. Accountability, Right to Try, and landmark criminal justice reform.”

This is misleading. The Veterans Choice health care program was created in 2014; Mr. Trump signed an update to that law. Similarly, the “right to try” law of 2018 allows terminally ill patients to seek access to experimental medicine that is not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but a similar program has been in place since the 1970s.

What Mr. Trump Said

“NATO countries are now paying hundreds of billions of dollars more than when I arrived just a few years ago. It was very unfair. We were paying the cost for the world.”

This is exaggerated. Four years in office has not altered Mr. Trump’s incorrect understanding and characterization of the military spending obligations of members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Member countries make direct contributions to the organization’s relatively small central fund, based on national income, and also agree to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Mr. Trump’s complaints prompted the alliance to reduce the United States’ contribution to the common fund, which covers headquarters’ operations and some joint exercises, to 16 percent of the total from 22 percent. NATO’s strength, though, comes from the military budgets of each member nation. The number of countries meeting the 2 percent guideline increased from five to 10 in recent years. Mr. Trump can claim some credit for increased spending, but it is worth noting that in 2014, before he took office, countries pledged to meet that goal within a decade.

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