WASHINGTON – Donald Trump on Wednesday gave a major speech attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and CNN’s Reality Check Team put the billionaire’s statements and assertions to the test.
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
Reality Check: Trump criticizes leaders for offshoring, but Trump brands also did it
By John Newsome, CNN
Trump criticized politicians and business leaders, arguing that they created policies that allowed and encouraged the offshoring of American jobs to America’s competitors.
“We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism — focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class — to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move wealth and workers to foreign countries, all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy itself,” Trump said.
A CNN investigation shows that Trump and his businesses offshored jobs to a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, and even China.
Trump cut a deal with the global apparel giant PVH to manufacture his clothes in 2004, the company told CNN. And ever since, the Donald J. Trump Collection has been produced by factories in Central America and Asia, then shipped to the U.S. for sale in stores and online.
CNN purchased several of Trump’s clothing items in 2016, whose tags indicated they were manufactured throughout Asia.
We rate Trump’s claim that policies allowed and encouraged offshoring as accurate, but Trump left out his own role in that process with his businesses. For that reason, we rate his claim as true, but misleading.
Reality Check: Trump started off with a ‘small loan’
By Jeremy Diamond and Sonam Vashi, CNN
“I started off in Brooklyn, New York, not so long ago, with a small loan and built a business that today is worth well over $10 billion,” Trump said.
We reported on this claim last October.
That small loan from Trump’s father was worth $1 million, probably given before Trump entered the Manhattan real estate market in the early 1970s.
If Trump’s father made the loan in 1968, the year his son graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, that $1 million would be worth $6.8 million in today’s dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index inflation calculator.
Trump has built up a multi-billion-dollar net worth, expanding his father’s lucrative real estate business to new heights. But while much of Trump’s success is a credit to his work, he was born into a successful, wealthy family, inheriting part of his father’s more than $200 million net worth.
Trump’s narrative of self-making his entire fortune doesn’t quite hold up either — The Washington Post Fact Checker found that he profited from loans, loan guarantees, his father’s connections and trusts to help create his empire.
Trump has boasted over and over that his net worth is $10 billion, but it’s unclear how true that really is. Last year, Forbes rated his net worth as $4.5 billion — less than half of what Trump claims. We’ve only gotten a glimpse of Trump’s financial details, especially as Trump has refused to release his tax returns (because he’s being audited, he claims), but we know he’s worth at least a billion.
Given that for almost all Americans, $1 million is hardly a small loan, especially back in 1968, we rate his claim that he started his business with a “small loan” as false.
Reality Check: Trump on Clinton’s landing in Bosnia
By Laura Koran, CNN National Security Producer
Near the top of his speech, Trump raised an incident from 1996, when Clinton was first lady and traveled to Bosnia in the aftermath of the Bosnian War.
“I remember landing under sniper fire,” Clinton told a crowd at George Washington University in 2008 when she was running for the Democratic presidential nomination against then-Sen. Barack Obama. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
Trump called that account “phony” in his speech Wednesday, adding, “The attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers … a total self-serving lie.”
Clinton acknowledged that she “misspoke” shortly after she told the story, responding to accusations by Obama campaign officials that she exaggerated the story.
In fact, news footage of Clinton’s arrival showed her walking calmly from her Air Force plane with her then-teenage daughter Chelsea, stopping to talk with several people at the airport, including an 8-year-old Bosnian girl.
Reality Check: Clinton allowed China to steal intellectual property
By CNN Political Reporter Tal Kopan
Trump hit Clinton on China on a number of points. He alleged that she was responsible for the theft of “billions and billions of dollars in our intellectual property, and China has taken it. And it’s a crime which is continuously going on, and it’s going on right now.”
His prepared remarks were even more direct: “She let China steal hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property — a crime which is continuing to this day.”
While it is true that China has stolen intellectual property from United States entities for years, he offered no explanation for his assertion that Clinton let it go on.
China has waged a steady campaign to take trade secrets and intellectual properties from American companies both through traditional espionage and cyberespionage. The Justice Department has gone after Chinese individuals on both accounts, charging five Chinese military officials in 2014 for hacking American companies and stealing intellectual property, a case that took years to build, and have charged other individuals with infiltrating companies as employees to steal information for China.
In 2012, former National Security Agency director and Cyber Command chief Keith Alexander called Chinese hacking “the greatest transfer of wealth in history,” a line that has often been repeated by top officials.
President Barack Obama himself has called out this behavior, pressing Chinese President Xi Jinping in face-to-face talks in 2013 in California on the topic of cybersecurity and continuing the pressure today.
In a report this week, cybersecurity firm FireEye found that successful Chinese hacking against U.S. companies has decreased since the two countries signed an agreement in September to not engage in cybertheft of intellectual property — but found that it still continues at a substantial level.
The State Department is not responsible for stopping Chinese hacking. The Treasury Department ultimately decides on sanctions, the Justice Department brings legal actions, and the White House and State Department work together to apply diplomatic and public pressure. Clinton engaged in this process as secretary of state, issuing a statement after a hack of Google in 2010 that they suspected originated in China, saying, “We look to the Chinese government for an explanation.” And the Chinese behavior also started before the Obama administration and has vexed the U.S. government for years.
For these reasons, we rate Trump’s claim that Clinton let China steal intellectual property as false.
Reality Check: Trump claims Orlando shooter’s father is a Taliban supporter
By Tony Marco, CNN
“The father of the Orlando shooter was a Taliban supporter from Afghanistan, one of the most repressive anti-gay and anti-women regimes on Earth,” Trump said.
Seddique Mateen, the father of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, is from Afghanistan but is not a supporter of the Taliban. In fact, he says he is a longtime opponent. He strongly condemned the group in an interview with CNN.
CNN also carefully translated and analyzed numerous commentary videos Seddique Mateen posted on YouTube over the years and found no evidence of Taliban support — in fact, the opposite. (One particular quote has been mistranslated by some news organization as support for the Taliban. Close review by CNN’s translators makes it clear that the word “Talib” he used referenced support for young people, not the terror group.)
The elder Mateen lumps ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban all together as terrorists that are allowed to breathe and grow and must be eliminated. In his interview with CNN, he calls these groups “the enemy of humanity.”
Reality Check: Trump on trade deficit increasing 40% while Clinton was secretary of state
By Chris Isidore and Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
Trump said Clinton should be “scorned” because the nation’s trade deficit with China soared 40% while she was secretary of state.
“Our trade deficit with China soared 40% during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state — a disgraceful performance for which she should not be congratulated, but rather scorned,” he said.
Actually, the trade deficit rose only 12% if you look between 2008 and 2012, which is the most accurate way to measure what happened under her tenure, which ran from early 2009 until early 2013, according to federal trade data.
However, if you cherry-pick the data from 2009 to 2012, the deficit jumped 34%. But that’s because the trade gap narrowed during the depths of the recession in 2009.
Either way, Trump’s assertion is exaggerated. Therefore, we rate it as false.
Reality Check: Trump on losing nearly 1/3 of manufacturing jobs since NAFTA and China admitted to World Trade Organization
By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
Trump lashed out at Clinton’s support of trade agreements that he said were “among the most destructive ever signed.”
Specifically, Trump cited the North American Free Trade Agreement, which then-President Bill Clinton signed in 1994, and China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in late 2001, for which the former president smoothed the way.
“We’ve lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements were signed,” Trump said.
The presumptive Republican candidate is exaggerating the figures a bit. The nation has lost 27% of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was signed in 1994. The sector, which employed 16.9 million people back then, now has 12.3 million workers.
But that masks the fact that the industry actually expanded it payrolls slightly under the remainder of Bill Clinton’s term.
The bleeding really began in the early 2000s and continued through and immediately after the Great Recession.
Manufacturers, however, have been adding jobs since early 2010. Employment is up 7.3% since then.
Yet it’s not clear how much free trade deals drove the decline in manufacturing employment. Corporate America was already shifting jobs to lower-wage countries, and technology already made it more costly for U.S. companies to produce goods here. Also, today’s factory jobs require more education and skills, leaving many less-educated Americans on the sidelines.
Trump also said that the nation will lose millions more jobs if Hillary Clinton is elected because she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which the former secretary of state had supported but now opposes. His comments here are misleading, too, because only Congress has the power to ratify trade agreements.
We therefore rate Trump’s statement as true, but misleading, because there were many other factors beyond trade that led to the decline in manufacturing employment after China entered the WTO.
By CNN’s Reality Check Team
CNN’s Katelyn Newman contributed to this report.