Fact check: Trump’s Fox News town hall peppered with false claims on coronavirus and other topics


Trump was dishonest about both the coronavirus pandemic and his usual range of other issues, from trade with China to his rally crowds. Here's a preliminary list – which doesn't even include all the inaccuracies:

The president kicked off a series of false allegations Sunday night with one he has made several times before, targeting a known target: the Obama administration. Trump accused the previous administration of doing "nothing" to address AIDS.

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He said, "We will be free of AIDS in 8 years. We started, 10 years. Should have started in the previous administration. They did nothing. It began with my administration."

First facts: It's not even close to the fact that previous administrations did nothing to address HIV / AIDS in the United States, experts and budget data say.

Republican President George W. Bush is known for his initiatives led by the administration to fight AIDS, especially in Africa. And the Obama administration spent more than $ 5.5 billion a year on the three primary domestic programs to fight HIV / AIDS, according to numbers provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which closely monitors health care expenses. (In addition, there are billions of spending on international HIV / AIDS initiatives.)

Obama also introduced a comprehensive national strategy to fight HIV / AIDS. And experts note that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, helped people with HIV get health insurance coverage.

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In 2019, Trump released one plan called "Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America," which aimed to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 75% in five years and by at least 90% in 10 years. Experts said Trump's plan is continuing Obama's National HIV / AIDS Strategy for 2010 and a 2015 Update to that strategy.
Before they laid out their own plan, the Trump administration, in fact so, that it was guided by the Obama-era strategy: "The domestic policies and programs of the federal government continue to be guided by the national HIV / AIDS strategy, and we are focused on working towards the 2020 strategy goals."
You can read a longer fact check here.

travel Restrictions

Asked about what his administration did early to respond to coronavirus, Trump praised his decision to impose restrictions on travel from China.

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"I closed the country to China," Trump said, later adding, "I did the China ban."

First facts: It is not true that Trump "completely" closed the country or that he banned travel from China directly. Only foreign nationals who had been to China during the past 14 days were directly banned from entering the United States.

Asked by Fox News Martha MacCallum about the roughly 40,000 people who entered the country from China after Trump announced these travel restrictions, Trump said "they were US citizens by the way." However, residents were not the only exempt group able to enter the country under the Trump administration's travel restrictions. The restrictions also exempted residents, some of the close family members of residents and residents, and some others.

You can read more about the Trump administration's travel restrictions in response to coronavirus here.

Fauci on threat of coronavirus

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Trump announced his travel restrictions on China in late January. At Sunday's City Hall, Trump claimed that a month later, even Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's best communicable disease expert, said the coronavirus should "pass, not be a big deal."

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First facts: Trump is mistaken that Fauci publicly said the virus "is not going to be a big deal" and would "pass." While it is true that Fauci said in late February that Americans did not need to change their behavior at that time, he also made clear that these conditions could change and the coronavirus could develop into a major outbreak.

You can read more about what Fauci actually said here.

An apology from Joe Biden?

Trump stated the restrictions on China, claiming that presumptive Democratic presidential and former Vice President Joe Biden had apologized for previous criticism of the issue.

"Biden has now written an apology letter because I did the right thing," Trump said.

First facts: Biden's campaign announced in early April supporting Trump's travel restrictions on China. But neither Biden nor his campaign apologized for any previous criticism of Trump. The campaign says that Biden's comments Trump described as criticizing the China restrictions – in which Biden said Trump has an overview of "hysterical xenophobia" and "fear mongering" – were not about the travel restrictions.

Biden's campaign says he did not know about the China restrictions at the time of the Jan. 31 speech when he made these remarks, since Biden's campaign event in Iowa began shortly after the briefing where China's restrictions were revealed by Health and Humanitarian Secretary Alex Azar.

Given the timing of the Biden remarks, it is not unreasonable for the Trump campaign to deduce that Biden was talking about travel restrictions. But Biden never took an explicit stance on the restrictions before his April declaration of support – and if you accept the campaign's argument that the "xenophobia" claim wasn't about the restrictions, he certainly has no excuse.

The timing of the Biden campaign statement

Trump went on to suggest that the Biden campaign was trying to bury its declaration of support for travel restrictions against China, claiming the campaign released the supposed letter "on a Friday night."

First facts: The Biden campaign revealed on the day Friday 3. April, not the night that Biden supports the restrictions. Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield made a daytime statement to CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, who submitted his article to the CNN editorial at 4 p.m. (Brave is article was last updated at 4:42. that day shows the CNN site.)

False and misleading claims about hydroxychloroquine

The Fox News anchors asked Trump about hydroxychloroquine, a drug for malaria that Trump spent much of March and April promoting as a potential "game-changer" for Covid-19.

Trump's comments about the drug typically has not been rooted in science. His response at Sunday's City Hall was full of false information.
First facts: Trump made at least five false or misleading claims about hydroxychloroquine in about two minutes. He exaggerated the good results and underestimated the poor results of early medical research. He hinted that the drug was safe, though the Food and Drug Administration says now these are deadly side effects. And he falsely suggested that it was harmless to tell the drug so aggressively, even though his previous promotion led to a shortage for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
First: When asked about studies that found side effects in the heart of Covid-19 patients, Trump said it was "just a study." There have been a handful of studies with similar problematic or little useful results, including one from Brazil, a lawsuit i France, a study of veteran hospitals in the United States and a large study of coronavirus patients in New York, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Second: When Trump said, "There were studies coming out that say it's really good," he doesn't tell the whole story. Some small, early studies found positive results for hydroxychloroquine. But the most influential of the early studies, driven by a controversial doctor in France, was not a randomized trial, and the publisher of the study now says the lawsuit did not meet the standards.
Third: Trump said he recently received "three calls" from "people who took (hydroxychloroquine), and that they give it the credit for saving their lives." He has quoted stories like these in the past. It's good when someone gets better, but these are just anecdotes from some of the 1.1 million Americans known to have the coronavirus. They do not have the same weight as actual scientific evidence.
Fourth: By saying, "we are not losing anything with hydroxy," Trump is throwing away the waiver of his persistent promotion of the drugs back in March and early April. CNN has previously reported that his comments led to a shortage of many chronically ill Americans who have been addicted to this drug for years. The FDA website says hydroxychloroquine is "currently deficient."
Fifth: By saying that "people don't die" by trying hydroxychloroquine, Trump falsely suggests that we know the drugs are safe to treat the virus. He has said this before, and that is not accurate. The FDA gave hospitals emergency authority to use the drug, but gave warnings about fatal side effects. A hydroxychloroquine trial in Brazil was also halted some patients died.

Trade with China

Trump repeated three false allegations of trade with China. He claimed that "we lost $ 500 billion a year to China for years" and that "China never gave 10 cents to our country" until he took office. As for his tariffs on China, Trump said the Chinese "paid for that tax, it wasn't our people. They paid for that tax, devalued their currency."

First facts: Not only do Americans bear most of the cost of Trump's tariffs, but the United States has also had tariffs on China for more than two centuries, generating an average of $ 12 billion a year from 2007 to 2016, FactCheck.org reported. Nor has there been a $ 500 billion deficit with China. (Trump describes trade deficit as "losing," though many economists dispute that characterization.)

You can read a longer fact check on Trump's China tariffs here.

Hunter Biden and China

When he criticized the previous administration's dealings with China, Trump took a shot at Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president.

"President Obama and Joe Biden didn't do anything. China just had a field day with our country. And then you look at his son, who spent $ 1.5 billion – give me a break."

First facts: While Hunter Biden has previously held the board of directors and a financial stake in a private equity fund in which Chinese government-owned Bank of China has invested, there is no evidence that he left the country with $ 1.5 billion. Hunter Biden's attorney, George Mesires, said this in an October 2019 case statement that the company, BHR Partners, was "capitalized with 30 million yuan (RMB), or about $ 4.2 million at today's exchange rates."
As of October 2019, Hunter Biden had a 10% stake in BHR. In December 2013, the same month that the fund was officially established, Hunter traveled with his father on a trip to China. There, Hunter met with Jonathan Li, the foundation's China-based partner. The New Yorker reported that Li met Hunter at his hotel and greeted Joe Biden. However, according to The New Yorker, Hunter claims that the visit with Li was social, not business related.
In July 2019, more than two years after his father passed away, Hunter bought a stake in the BHR fund worth about $ 430,000, according to Mesires.

"So far, Hunter has not received any compensation for being on BHR's board. He has not received any return on investment; there has been no distribution to BHR shareholders since Hunter acquired his equity stake," Mesires said in the October 2019 statement.

US contribution to NATO

Trump claimed that until he significantly increased NATO spending, "They didn't pay. We paid for 100% of NATO."

First facts: The United States did not pay "100% of NATO" until Trump's presidency, though its defense spending represented the majority of NATO's total defense spending.

NATO countries other than the United States spent a total of $ 262 billion on defense in 2016, according to official NATO the numbers released in November 2019 (which used 2015 prices and exchange rates). The United States spent $ 651 billion that year, about 71% of the total. That is a large percentage, but "100%" is a significant exaggeration.
NATO also has its own direct budget to finance its operations. While the United States was also the largest contributor to this budget in 2016, covering around 22%, it was clear, not alone; Germany covered about 15%, France about 11%, the UK about 10%, and so on. Countries' contributions were set based on national income.

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