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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s tall tale on ‘record’ judges, income

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President Donald Trump reacts as he speaks to a crowd at Japanese Kentucky College, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Richmond, Ky. (AP Photograph/Timothy D. Easley)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is exaggerating his document on the subject of federal judges and the financial system.

With midterm elections three weeks away, he’s claiming a “record” 84 judges confirmed to the federal bench and suggests he’ll fill 50 % of the seats within the judiciary. It’s not a document, and he’s nowhere near half.

On median income, Trump boasts to voters that they’re making extra money than ever earlier than. His personal Census Bureau disagrees.

In the meantime, Hurricane Michael has proven that Trump can’t all the time be counted on to provide correct info when a pure catastrophe unfolds. Trump wrongly said that the hurricane moved throughout land with blazing velocity, which stopped a horrible state of affairs from turning into even worse as a result of the storm didn’t linger. He additionally at the very least mildly exaggerated the ferocity of the storm’s winds.

A take a look at the previous week’s claims, additionally masking subjects involving Medicare, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and extra:


TRUMP: “Eight-four judges. Think of that. It’s a record… 84 judges approved. What a difference, it’s going to be, by the time we finish, maybe 50 percent of the court.” — Kentucky rally Saturday.

THE FACTS: No, it’s not a report. Trump is referring to 84 of his nominees who’ve now been confirmed to the federal bench by the Republican-controlled Senate, together with two to the Supreme Courtroom. However at the least two former presidents — Democrats Invoice Clinton and John F. Kennedy — had extra judicial nominees confirmed of their first 21 months in workplace. Clinton at this level had 128 confirmed and Kennedy had 110, in line with an evaluation by Russell Wheeler, an professional on judicial nominations on the Brookings Establishment.

Even with two years remaining in workplace, Trump has an extended strategy to go to call 50 % of the judges within the federal courts. His appointees now occupy roughly 10 % of the judicial seats approved by Congress. That’s in comparison with 28 % for Kennedy and 15 % for Clinton on the 21-month mark. Presidentially appointed federal judgeships are lifetime appointments.



TRUMP: “Median household income has reached an all-time high. …It means you’re making more money than you’ve ever made before.” — Kentucky rally Saturday.

THE FACTS: Trump is claiming credit score for developments in place earlier than he took workplace. The Census Bureau has forged doubt on his assertion.

Median U.S. family income — the extent at which half of the U.S. inhabitants earns extra and half much less — grew 5.1 % in 2015 and three.1 % in 2016, through the Obama administration. It was the quickest two-year progress on document, courting to 1967. In 2017, Trump’s first yr in workplace, median income grew at a slower tempo of 1.eight % to succeed in $61,372 after adjusting for inflation.

The Census Bureau stated in a report final month that after adjusting for modifications in its methodology in 2013, final yr’s determine didn’t attain a brand new excessive. As an alternative, it was statistically no higher than the 2007 degree of $61,421 and 1999’s degree of $61,966.



TRUMP: “The Democrat plan would obliterate Medicare.” — Kentucky rally Saturday.

THE FACTS: Trump is incorrect that it might “obliterate Medicare.” He seems to be referring to Democratic proposals to offer “Medicare for All,” however the choices that permit youthful individuals to purchase right into a Medicare-like plan don’t contain overhauling the present program.

The plan by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont unbiased, can be a elementary change, increasing Medicare to cowl virtually everybody within the nation. However present Medicare recipients would get improved advantages. Sanders would remove Medicare deductibles, restrict copays, and supply protection for dental and imaginative and prescient care, in addition to listening to aids. A Home single-payer invoice requires masking long-term care.

The difficulty is whether or not the U.S. can afford to transform to a brand new government-run well being care system, not that older People can be left uncovered.


TRUMP: “The Democrats’ plan means that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised. By eliminating Medicare as a program for seniors, and outlawing the ability of Americans to enroll in private and employer-based plans, the Democratic plan would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care. Doctors and hospitals would be put out of business. Seniors would lose access to their favorite doctors. There would be long wait lines for appointments and procedures. Previously covered care would effectively be denied.” — op-ed column Wednesday in USA At present.

THE FACTS: He paints a speculative doomsday state of affairs which will seize some unfavorable penalties of Democratic plans whereas ignoring the upside.

America’s well being care system is a hybrid, with employers, federal, state, and native governments, and people sharing the fee. Underneath “Medicare for All,” the federal authorities would take the reins. Seniors are being promised extra well being care from the federal government, not much less.

Sanders’ plan consists of advantages not now coated by Medicare akin to dental, imaginative and prescient, and listening to aids. A Home invoice would additionally cowl long-term care.

The thought is also referred to as “single-payer,” as a result of the federal government would pay almost all of the payments and set charges for hospitals and docs — and for all sufferers, not simply the aged.

“Medicare for All” would additionally get rid of or scale back prices now instantly paid by seniors themselves.

Retirees would not should fork over premiums for supplemental personal insurance coverage to cowl gaps in Medicare. There can be no deductibles. Copayments for many care can be eradicated. The identical advantages would accrue to privately insured individuals. With virtually no out-of-pocket prices, individuals would in all probability search extra well being care providers.

And there lies a possible drawback.

Single-payer would additionally dial again what hospitals and docs now receives a commission for his or her privately insured sufferers, to a degree based mostly on Medicare charges. Medicare usually pays lower than personal insurance coverage. The mixture of larger demand for providers and new limits on reimbursement would put a squeeze on the well being care system.

However wouldn’t it “inevitably lead” to “massive rationing” as described by Trump?

Perhaps. Educational specialists essential of single-payer have been far more guarded, although.

“It is impossible to say precisely how much the confluence of these factors would reduce individuals’ timely access to health care services, but some such access problems almost certainly must arise,” wrote Charles Blahous of the libertarian Mercatus Middle in a current evaluation that identified value issues with Sanders’ plan.

Different specialists and Sanders himself say that may not occur as a result of single-payer would take prices out of the system by eliminating insurers because the middlemen and utilizing authorities’s clout to deliver down drug costs.



TRUMP: “The only thing we can say about Michael with certainty is that it was so fast, it went through like a bullet, but it was a devastating bullet. It was complete.” — remarks Thursday at a gathering about human trafficking.

TRUMP: “The one good thing we can say, we were just discussing, is that it was the fastest hurricane anybody’s seen. It just was speedy. If it wasn’t, there’d be absolutely nothing left.” — remarks Thursday throughout signing of a invoice to scale back sea air pollution.

THE FACTS: No bullet right here. Michael moved throughout land at a comparatively regular tempo.

Michael moved at 13 mph to 17 mph for many of Wednesday, then sped as much as as excessive as 23 mph on Thursday. Colorado State College hurricane skilled Phil Klotzbach notes that doesn’t maintain a candle to Hurricane Hazel in 1954. That one raced alongside at 55 mph.

Atmospheric scientist Brian McNoldy, from the College of Miami, stated Michael’s ahead motion was “perfectly average.”

“Very average forward speed,” agreed meteorologist Jeff Masters, founding father of Climate Underground. In distinction, a 1961 tropical storm hurtled at 69.75 mph from the mid-Atlantic over the Northeast, and a 1938 hurricane hit Lengthy Island whereas touring over 50 mph, he stated.


TRUMP: “It was winds about as big as we’ve ever seen in history. We’ve never had anything like this.” — remarks Thursday at human-trafficking assembly.

TRUMP: “Some of those winds reached almost 200 miles an hour, which is unheard of. People are saying it’s the third most powerful that they’ve seen hit our country anywhere.” — remarks Thursday throughout invoice signing.

TRUMP: “The level of power, people have not seen: the 170-, 180-mile-an-hour winds. At one point, it reached almost 200 miles an hour. So we haven’t seen that before. And I guess you have two or three cases where maybe there might have been slightly stronger wind. But this is in history.” — Fox Information interview.

THE FACTS: This half is true: Michael was the third strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland. However Trump overstated wind speeds.

Michael’s prime measured sustained winds have been 155 mph and that’s from a aircraft, whereas the bottom prime wind velocity measured was 129 mph. In the course of the storm, a prime wind gust of 130 mph was recorded at a College of Florida website earlier than the instrument broke.

Gusts could be 25 % greater than most sustained speeds, Klotzbach stated, a prospect that might nonetheless depart winds significantly in need of 200 mph on the bottom.

Masters says the very best wind gust measured in a U.S. hurricane was 186 mph in Massachusetts in 1938.

Solely 4 reliably recorded wind gusts of 200 mph or higher have been recorded in world historical past, he stated. The world document wind gust is 253 mph at Barrow Island, Australia, throughout Tropical Cyclone Olivia in 1996.



TRUMP: “What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process. …I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.” — remarks Oct. eight at swearing-in of Supreme Courtroom Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

THE FACTS: There’s no proof of innocence or of guilt. The presumption of innocence doesn’t equate to proof.

It’s true that a supplemental FBI background examine didn’t seem to substantiate sexual assault allegations made towards Kavanaugh or present any “hint of misconduct,” in accordance with Republican senators who learn the confidential report. However that doesn’t imply the assessment, which the FBI director described as restricted in scope and lasting every week, proved Kavanaugh was harmless.

One in every of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, alleged that he sexually assaulted her once they have been teenagers within the 1980s. Ford recognized a number of individuals in the home the place the alleged assault occurred; three didn’t refute her account however stated in short statements submitted to senators that they didn’t keep in mind the gathering. That leaves open the likelihood that folks on the small gathering forgot about it or weren’t in place to witness the alleged assault.

Democrats have complained the supplemental FBI evaluation was constrained by the White Home and should not have carried out interviews with quite a few very important witnesses. They’ve additionally argued that Kavanaugh’s nomination ought to be assessed broadly when it comes to his health to be a Supreme Courtroom justice, similar to his truthfulness through the affirmation listening to and judicial temperament.

FBI Director Christopher Wray advised Congress on Wednesday that the FBI’s further evaluate of Kavanaugh was restricted however in line with earlier background checks of nominees. He stated that in contrast to felony or nationwide safety investigations, the FBI’s authority in background investigations is decided by the company that requested it — the White Home on this case.

Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has praised Kavanaugh’s affirmation as affirming the “presumption” of innocence.



TRUMP: “Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has signed up for the open borders, and it’s a bill, it’s called the open borders bill. What’s going on? And it’s written by, guess who? Dianne Feinstein.” — Kansas rally on Oct. 6.

THE FACTS: It’s not referred to as the “open borders” invoice. Extra on level, nothing within the textual content directs borders to be extra porous than now.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is sponsoring a invoice that has the help of each Democratic senator, nevertheless it’s referred to as the “Keep Families Together Act.” The invoice’s purpose is to cease the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” coverage of criminally prosecuting all adults caught crossing the border illegally and placing their youngsters underneath Division of Well being and Human Providers custody and care.

The invoice seeks to restrict household separations by barring federal brokers and officers from eradicating a toddler from a mum or dad inside 100 miles of U.S. borders. Exceptions would apply in instances the place a toddler is hazard of trafficking or abuse or neglect, or when there’s a robust probability the grownup is just not the mum or dad.

Whereas Trump fees that the invoice would spur “open borders” and alter immigration regulation, nothing within the laws would prohibit the removing or detention of immigrants who arrive within the U.S. illegally if the households are stored collectively.



TRUMP: “I have directed the Attorney General’s office to immediately go to the great city of Chicago to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave. We want to straighten it out. We want to straighten it out fast. There’s no reason for what’s going on there.” — remarks Oct. eight to police group in Orlando, Florida.

THE FACTS: In pointing to a “terrible shooting wave,” Trump suggests an insupportable crime state of affairs in Chicago that requires strict measures, corresponding to use of the controversial “stop and frisk” policing technique. The truth is, in response to Chicago officers, the crime state of affairs has been enhancing. Chicago police stated this month that there have been 102 fewer homicides and almost 500 fewer capturing victims within the metropolis this yr, in contrast with the primary 9 months of 2017.



TRUMP: “As a candidate, I promised that we would protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and create new health care insurance options that would lower premiums. I have kept that promise.” — op-ed column revealed Wednesday in USA As we speak.

TRUMP: “If you listen to my speeches, pre-existing conditions, I’m saying it’s being covered 100 percent and Republicans are doing that.” — Fox interview broadcast Wednesday.

THE FACTS: It’s a stretch for Trump to say he’s defending well being protection for sufferers with pre-existing medical circumstances, or that Republicans are “doing that.” His Justice Division is arguing in courtroom that these protections within the Obama-era well being regulation ought to fall. And the short-term well being plans Trump typically promotes as a discount various supply no assure of overlaying pre-existing circumstances.

Authorities legal professionals stated in authorized filings in June that they may not defend key elements of the Reasonably priced Care Act, together with provisions that assure entry to medical insurance no matter any medical circumstances. Lawyer Basic Jeff Periods wrote in a letter to Congress that Trump accepted the authorized technique.

The choice was a uncommon departure from the Justice Division’s customized of defending federal legal guidelines in courtroom, even when the administration in energy doesn’t like them. It got here after Texas and different Republican-led states sued to strike down the whole regulation as a result of Congress repealed a provision that folks with out medical insurance should pay a wonderful.

The Trump administration stated it gained’t defend the supply shielding individuals with medical circumstances from being denied protection or charged larger premiums.

The well being overhaul requires insurers to take all candidates, no matter medical historical past, and sufferers with well being issues pay the identical normal premiums as wholesome ones. Payments supported final yr by Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the regulation might have pushed up prices for individuals with pre-existing circumstances.


Related Press writers Seth Borenstein and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.


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