US Election 2020: Donald Trump’s Convention Speech Fact-Checked
Accepting his party’s nomination to run for a second term, he listed his own achievements and criticised his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
Claim 1: “If you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will defund police departments all across America”
Since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, there have been calls to “defund the police”.
In June, he told CBS News: “I don’t support defunding the police”.
Mr Biden repeated this view in an opinion piece for USA Today, calling for reform of the police.
“I do not support defunding police. The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms,” he wrote.
He’s also said he would provide “an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing”.
Claim 2: “We have already built 300 miles of border wall”
However, most of that was to replace existing structures.
A total of 245 miles of wall has been built in place of old barriers.
But only 30 miles of new wall has actually been built.
Most of this (25 miles) is what’s called “secondary wall”, which is constructed to reinforce the primary border barrier.
The border with Mexico is about 2,000 miles long.
Claim 3: “Over the past three months, we have gained over 9 million jobs, a new record”
But what Mr Trump didn’t mention was that this rise followed a much bigger loss of 22 million people from the payroll in March, when measures to tackle the pandemic were introduced.
Claim 4: “The United States has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country in the world”
Instead, he highlighted the case fatality rate – the ratio of deaths to confirmed cases. Of those who tested positive for coronavirus, how many have died?
It’s true the US rate is relatively low on this measure compared with most major European countries, including the UK.
It’s not the lowest in the world – Norway, Japan, and South Korea are all lower, for example.
But different countries are testing to find coronavirus cases in different ways, so direct comparisons are difficult.
A low case fatality rate could mean that widespread testing identifies lots of mild cases who were unlikely to die in the first place.
Claim 5: “He [Joe Biden] has pledged a $4 trillion tax hike on almost all American families”
Trump is correct that the Biden plan would lead to $4 trillion in revenues (over a decade), according to analysis by the Tax Policy Centre.
However, this claim is misleading as the taxes would target the wealthiest Americans – not “almost all American families”.
The Tax Policy Centre found that 93% of the tax increases would be paid by taxpayers in the top fifth of households.
High earners would see “substantially larger tax increases than households in other income groups, both in dollar amounts and as a share of their incomes.”
Claim 6: “We obliterated 100% of the ISIS caliphate”
It’s true the Islamic State group’s territory – a “caliphate” it declared in 2014 across parts of Iraq and Syria – came to an end during Mr Trump’s period in office.
The US-led alliance overcame the group in its last stronghold in Syria, March 2019.
But “despite the demise of its physical caliphate, IS remains a battle-hardened and well-disciplined force whose “enduring defeat is not assured.”
On 12 August, a top US military official laid out what was needed to score an enduring defeat against IS, noting the group still posed a threat.
Claim 7: “We will always, and very strongly, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and that is a pledge from the entire Republican Party”
This refers to a requirement that health insurance companies can’t charge people more if they have pre-existing conditions.
It became law with President Obama’s signature domestic policy – the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare”.
Donald Trump and the Republican party want to repeal Obamacare and replace it, but have failed to do so despite pushing for it in Congress.
In June, the administration asked the US Supreme Court to permanently end Obamacare – which includes those provisions for people with pre-existing conditions.
If successful, it’s not clear what the Trump administration would replace it with. President Trump has signalled that he may make insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions, but there’s no detail yet.
Claim 8: “Our Nato partners, as an example, were far behind in their defence payments. But at my strong urging, they agreed to pay $130bn more a year”
The current defence spending target for Nato members is 2% of gross domestic product (GDP), to be reached by 2024.
The US spent roughly 3.4% of its GDP on defence in 2019, according to Nato estimates, while the average in European Nato countries and Canada was 1.55%.
The figure that the president mentioned – $130 billion – is the amount that has been added since 2016, not per year.
“Since 2016, Canada and European allies have added $130 billion more to the defense budgets, and this number will increase to 400 billion US dollars by 2024,” said Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in December 2019.