In laying out his national security strategy, President Donald Trump sold short the records of his predecessors, speaking as if the energy boom started with him and the gates of America were wide open before he came along.
On Twitter, meanwhile, Trump tweeted a wrong score in the game of politics and got ahead of the facts in the deadly Washington state Amtrak crash.
A look at some of his statements this week:
TRUMP on his predecessors: “They put American energy under lock and key.”
THE FACTS: On the contrary, energy production was unleashed during Barack Obama’s presidency, largely because of advances in hydraulic fracturing that made it economical to tap vast reserves of natural gas. Oil production also greatly increased, reducing imports. Before the presidential election last year, the U.S. for the first time in decades was getting more energy domestically than it imports. The government estimated this year that the U.S. could switch from being a net importer of energy to being a net exporter as early as 2019, depending on what happens to oil prices, energy resources and economic growth.
Trump, a Republican, has rolled back some obstacles for the coal industry, which indeed complained of overregulation by Obama, a Democrat. But coal’s decline in recent years was driven mainly by competition from cheap natural gas.
Despite his rhetoric about U.S. energy production, one of Trump’s most consequential actions as president has been to open the U.S. to another source of foreign oil, with his approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
Obama’s two-term predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, was no adversary of the energy industry. Neither president put energy “under lock and key.”
TRUMP: “Over the profound objections of the American people, our politicians left our borders wide open.”
THE FACTS: Even as literary license, “wide open” does not describe the border enforcement, refugee vetting or deportation record of recent years, however flawed some controls might have been.
Trump’s get-tough push has had some effect: Far fewer people have been trying to sneak across the border and more people already in the U.S. illegally have been arrested. But critics once slammed Obama as “deporter in chief.” Agents deported more than 2 million immigrants during the eight years Obama was in office, more than in previous administrations. They sent back 409,000 in 2012 alone, a record.
More than 240,000 people were deported in Obama’s final budget year. Trump-era deportations have slightly lagged that pace for most of his first year, despite unquestionably aggressive enforcement. One likely factor: With fewer people sneaking in, there may be fewer to send back home. But the gates were far from ajar before Trump took office.
TRUMP tweet, knocking the media for refusing to say “Republicans are 5-0 in Congressional Races this year.”
THE FACTS: That’s because they aren’t. In this year’s House elections, the score is 5-1 for Republicans. Democrats held a California seat.
Add the Alabama Senate election, and the scorecard is 5-2.
Trump has boasted before the Senate race about a 5-0 scorecard this year. He chanted “Five and 0” at an Iowa rally in June — but the real tally then was 4-1.
Also in his tweet, Trump said he knew Republicans would lose the governor’s race in Virginia and Alabama Senate race. Publicly, he’d predicted a Republican win in Alabama.
TRUMP tweet: “The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”
THE FACTS: From what’s known, it’s not at all clear his coming infrastructure plan is relevant to the accident that happened when the train tumbled off an overpass south of Seattle.
It did not occur on a crumbling railway but rather on a section of track that had just been upgraded as part of a $181 million project for a new, faster route. The high-speed train was making its first run on newly constructed tracks when it derailed.
The new route was designed to speed up service by drawing passengers away from the sort of aging system that Trump speaks about: a route with curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.
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