Fact check: Donald Trump made 115 false claims in the last two weeks of February – CNN

Trump made 67 false claims from February 17 through February 23; that was the 11th-highest total of the 34 weeks we've fact checked at CNN. He added 48 false claims from February 24 through March 1; that week ranked 25th out of 34. As usual, many of the false claims were ones he has uttered before.

Trump made 55 of the 115 total false claims at the four rallies: 19 in Las Vegas, 17 in Phoenix, 10 in Colorado Springs and nine in North Charleston, South Carolina. He added 13 false claims in his speech to CPAC, nine in his press conference in New Delhi and six apiece at three events -- one of which was a press conference on the coronavirus.

As concerns about the possible economic impact of the virus mounted, Trump made 27 false claims about the economy. He made 16 about health care, 15 about trade, 14 about China.

Trump is now up to 1,990 false claims since July 8, when we started our counting at CNN. He is averaging about 59 false claims per week.

The most egregious false claim: "Russia, if you're listening"

Trump was at a press conference at his Doral resort in Florida in 2016 when he made his "Russia, if you're listening" request for help obtaining Hillary Clinton emails. The journalists in the room were silent as he spoke.

The most revealing false claim: The flu mortality rate

It is not. Trump, though, has preferred during the coronavirus crisis to own the spotlight himself, while frequently providing inaccurate or incomplete information, rather than cede airtime to experts who could convey accurate information.

The most absurd false claim: Ronald Reagan's crowds

Here is the full list of 115 false claims, starting with the ones we haven't included in one of these roundups before:


Awareness of Ebola in 2014

Ebola mortality

On two occasions, Trump contrasted the fatality rate for the coronavirus with the fatality rate for the Ebola outbreak of 2014 to 2016, saying "in the other case (Ebola), it was a virtual hundred percent" and that "with Ebola -- we were talking about it before -- you disintegrated. If you got Ebola, that was it."

"It was never 100%. That is just patently untrue," Fischer said.

The flu death rate

Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, told Trump at a press conference, "Mr. President, you talked about the flu and then in comparison to the coronavirus. The flu has a fatality ratio of about 0.1%." Trump said, "Correct." But Trump later disputed the figure, saying, "And the flu is higher than that. The flu is much higher than that." -- February 26 coronavirus press conference

Apple and China

"When you look at the parts that are done in China, we have reopened factories, so the factories were able to work through the conditions to reopen. They're reopening. They're also in ramp, and so I think of this as sort of the third phase of getting back to normal. And we're in phase three of the ramp mode," Cook said.


Who is paying for the border wall

Bernie Sanders and deportations

Facts First: Sanders has not said he will "never do a deportation." He is calling for a temporary deportation freeze, not a permanent ban. While he is also proposing a permanent end to deportations of undocumented immigrants who have been in the US for five or more years, this is just one portion of the undocumented population.

Crowds and rallies

The time of Trump's Las Vegas rally

Trump's 2015 rally in Phoenix

President Ronald Reagan's crowds in Las Vegas

"There's never been this. You know, Ronald Reagan was great. I thought he was a great guy, great president, didn't like his policy on trade, that's OK ... but if he came to Las Vegas, you know, they'd have a ballroom. They'd have 500, maybe a thousand people." -- February 21 campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

Russia, the Russia investigation and criminal justice

"Russia, if you're listening" and the media

"Remember this thing, 'Russia, if you're listening'? Remember, it was a big thing -- in front of 25,000 people. 'Russia if you're ...' It was all said in a joke. They cut it off right at the end so that you don't then see the laughter, the joke. And they said, 'He asked. He asked for help.' Right? 'Russia, if you're listening ...' A very famous -- they cut that thing so quick at the end because they didn't want to hear the laughter in the place and me laughing. It was just 'boom.'" -- February 29 speech at Conservative Political Action Conference

Facts First: Trump's story was comprehensively inaccurate. Trump did not make his famous 2016 "Russia, if you're listening" request -- for help obtaining deleted Hillary Clinton emails -- at an event with "25,000 people," nor did he laugh after he said it; he made the comment at a July 2016 news conference, with a straight face, and there was no audible laughter in the room. News outlets did not deceptively edit the footage.

Roger Stone and the Trump campaign

The jury foreperson in the Roger Stone trial

Trump accused the foreperson of the jury in Roger Stone's trial of bias. He added, "And you know how they caught her? When he was convicted and then a statement was made, she started jumping up and down screaming, 'Yes, yes.'" -- February 21 campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

Navy sailor Kristian Saucier

The FBI and "go get him"


Bloomberg's endorsers and campaign finance law

"And there are a lot of campaign finance violations there. There's no way you can do what he's doing. You know, you go into a town, you give somebody a contribution, two days later the guy comes, 'I'd like to support Mini Mike Bloomberg.' There's something strange with that whole deal." -- February 29 speech at Conservative Political Action Conference

"So long as we are talking about campaign contributions within statutory limits made without an explicit promise to do or not do something, there is nothing illegal going on," said Richard Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine and an expert on elections law.

Chuck Schumer and Trump's deal with China

Trump claimed on three occasions that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had falsely claimed Trump's "phase one" trade deal with China involved Trump taking off tariffs.

After Trump made a previous version of this accusation on January 15, Schumer responded the same day: "I know what's in the deal. I'm not sure the president does. If he knows what's in the deal -- he should throw it away and take China back to the negotiating table. I will cheer him on if he does."

Biden's debate claim about guns

Hunter Biden

Trump claimed Hunter Biden, the son of Biden, "didn't have a job until his father became vice president." -- February 21 campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

At the time Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings in 2014, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.

Tom Steyer's performance in New Hampshire

Mark Kelly

Trump said of Mark Kelly, a Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona: "He wants to raise your taxes, open your borders, give away free health care to illegal immigrants, and he wants to obliterate your Second Amendment." -- February 19 campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona

Facts First: Trump was misrepresenting Kelly's immigration positions.

Media coverage of Trump donating his salary

California water rules

When Qasem Soleimani was killed

"So we took out Al-Baghdadi, and then, we just took out two weeks ago, the world's top terrorist Qasem Soleimani of Iran and his evil reign of terror forever." -- February 21 campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

A labor dispute in 2016

"Last time I had a strike in my building during the election. The only reason -- we would've won this state. Like brilliantly -- to save three cents. I could have settled the strike before the election. I wanted to save two dollars. Total. That was a brilliant move ... But we almost won the state despite I had a big strike." -- February 21 campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

Facts First: There was a dispute between Trump and labor unions in Las Vegas during the 2016 election, and workers did picket his hotel, but there was not a strike; workers did not walk off the job, and Trump's company had not recognized the union in the first place.

Waivers for military athletes

The Muslim population of India

Trump's 200 million figure for the present Muslim population is about right.

The ratings of 'The Apprentice'

Trump claimed that "The Apprentice," his reality television show, steadily climbed in ratings all the way to the very top: "And then the show goes -- started at 10, went to eight, went to seven, went to five, went to four, went to two, it went to one. I had the number one show in all of television. Number one." -- February 21 campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

There are various ways to slice and dice television ratings, so Trump might be able to point to some specific night, time slot, show category or viewer group in which "The Apprentice" was number one. But it certainly wasn't the top-rated show in all of TV, as he has long suggested.


Here are the repeat false claims we have previously included in one of these roundups:


The estate tax

Trump claimed four times that he had eliminated the estate tax.

Apple and factories

The steel industry

Energy production

Wage growth

Median usual weekly warnings went from $330 per week in the second quarter of 2014 to $349 per week in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The Dow's starting point under Trump

Facts First: The Dow didn't start the Trump era at 16,000 points -- whether you're looking at its level on Trump's first day in office or whether you go back to the day after his election, as he sometimes argues we should. The Dow opened and closed above 19,700 points on Trump's inauguration day in January 2017; the Dow opened above 18,300 the day after Trump's election in November 2016.

Women's unemployment

Trump claimed three times that the women's unemployment rate is the lowest in "71 years."

The unemployment rate

Trump claimed three times that the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in "over 51 years."

Ivanka Trump and jobs

Trump claimed twice that Ivanka Trump is responsible for "15 million jobs" or more through the Pledge to America's Workers initiative.

The Waters of the United States and puddles

Venezuela's wealth

Facts First: Venezuela was not the wealthiest country in Latin America or South America either 15 or 20 years ago.

"Venezuela was one of the richest countries in the world 60 years ago. The richest in Latin America 40 years ago. But not 20 years ago," Ricardo Hausmann, a former Venezuelan planning minister and central bank board member, said in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. Hausmann, now a Harvard University professor, was chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1994 to 2000.

Venezuela's per capita gross domestic product in 2005 ($5,420) was lower than that of Mexico ($8,189) and Chile ($7,600), according to International Monetary Fund figures from 2019. Venezuela's per capita gross domestic product in 2000 ($4,824) was lower than that of Argentina ($8,387), Mexico ($7,016), Uruguay ($6,817) and Chile ($5,072).

Trade and China

Who is paying for Trump's tariffs on China

Trump claimed three times that the revenue from his tariffs on Chinese imports "came from China."

The trade deficit with China

On two separate occasions, Trump claimed that the US used to have a trade deficit with China of $500 billion or "more than $500 billion."

Facts First: The US has never had a $500 billion trade deficit with China.

China's peak agricultural spending

Trump said three times that China had never spent more than $16 billion on US agricultural products in a year.

Facts First: China spent $25.9 billion in 2012, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.

The size of Trump's trade agreement with China

Trump claimed that his trade agreement with China was the "biggest trade deal ever made."

The US record at the World Trade Organization

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Fact check: Donald Trump made 115 false claims in the last two weeks of February - CNN

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