Fact-checking Trump's SOTU claims

CNN's Tom Foreman fact-checks several claims made by President Trump during his first State of the Union address.

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 9:55 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 9:55 AM

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1. State of the Union

President Trump mixed calls for unity with the tough talk he's known for during his first State of the Union address. Here's how it all went down:

What he said: The President talked up the booming economy, the soaring stock market (more on that below) and the big tax cuts he signed into law. He also offered up his hard-line views on immigration, touted his executive order keeping open the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, doubled down on the ISIS fight and called on Congress to pass an infrastructure package.

What he didn't say: Trump made no mention of the Russia investigation (he only said the word "Russia" once, when he talked about rivals, like China). He didn't talk about recent school shootings and only brought up the Las Vegas mass shooting once.

Emotional moments: Trump honored a police officer who adopted a baby from a heroin-addicted mom, the parents of a student killed in North Korea and the parents of teens killed by MS-13 gang members.

The reaction: A CNN Instant poll gave Trump the least positive reaction for a State of the Union speech in two decades. Republicans in Congress heaped on the praise, though Dems were not impressed. A former assistant to President George W. Bush said Trump seemed to be the only grown-up in the room, while CNN's Van Jones said the President was selling candy with "poison" in it.

Reality check: The President was wrong about the size of his tax cuts but right about the number of jobs created since his election. And the speech was just too much for PolitiFact. The popular fact-checking site crashed during the 80-minute address.

What's next: Most presidents hit the road to sell the proposals they tout during the speech, but it doesn't look like Trump's going to do that.

2. Iran

It's a powerful image: Iranian women with their heads uncovered holding their hijabs on sticks. Women in Iran have been removing their headscarves to protest the law that forces them to wear a veil in public. A woman who did this during the recent wave of anti-regime protests was arrested, but she was released this week and the demonstrations spread. The veil law was enacted after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 but has been relaxed in recent months.

3. FBI

The FBI is having to explain how one of its agents ended up killing a man he was trying to rescue. An FBI SWAT team raided a home last week north of Houston, trying to find a man who had been kidnapped. One agent tried to enter the house by breaking a window with his rifle. The kidnapped victim inside the house grabbed the gun with his bound hands. The agent, thinking he was losing control of his weapon, fired, killing the man. The agent is on leave; Houston's police chief calls it "a tragedy all the way around."

4. Puerto Rico

FEMA is stopping shipment of food and water to the island today, four months after Hurricane Maria. The news blindsided officials in the US commonwealth, who said they were still talking with FEMA about when the Puerto Rican government could take over supply distribution. One official said they'd need at least two weeks to get ready. FEMA, which still has 5,000 personnel in Puerto Rico, said it will continue to help the island's residents and could resume the food and water shipments, if needed.

5. Hawaii alert

The employee who set off that false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii this month was fired. Turns out he thought an actual attack was underway when he sent out the warning, which went to cell phones and TV sets and triggered absolute panic in paradise. Another employee was suspended, while a third quit before disciplinary action was taken. Recommendations from a pair of reports on this fiasco call for better training, stopping practice drills during shift changes and creating more clear confirmation prompts for those sending out an alert.


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