Our list of fact checks about Trump’s address

January 9, 2019
Category: Fact-Checking

In the lead-up to Donald Trump’s immigration address on Tuesday night, fact-checking was front and center.

After major networks decided to air the speech, media critics quickly called on them to do live fact-checking — which (Poynter-owned) PolitiFact explained more deeply in a Twitter thread. BuzzFeed News shied away from fact-checking altogether, instead opting to preempt Trump by publishing stories about the U.S.-Mexico border. And after U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) questioned how fact-checkers produce their verdicts, fact-checkers had a high-profile discussion about how their jobs work. (More on that in our fact-checking newsletter tomorrow.)

And, as fact-checkers always do during major political events, there was a lot of debunking going on.

The Washington Post Fact Checker published a cheat sheet before Trump even took the podium. PolitiFact reporters live fact-checked the speech. And the Associated Press published a myriad of pieces about the occasion — including one tweet that attracted the ire of Twitter users.

Below is a sample of the coverage that independent American fact-checkers have done related to Trump’s immigration address, with verdicts in line where applicable. Have another fact check you think we should include, or something you’re unsure is true? Email dfunke@poynter.org.

AP Fact Check

Trump and the disputed border crisis

Do ex-presidents back Trump wall? They say no

Trump’s mythical terrorist tide from Mexico

Trump’s false claim about drug smuggling

Visa overstays outpace border crossings

Defending border wall, Trump misstates facts

Trump’s political spin on migrant deaths



FactChecking Trump’s Immigration Address

Misleading Border Crime Statistic

Democratic Spin on Border Security Funds

False Claim of Immigrant Children Deaths Under Obama

Trump’s Border Blunders



Live fact-checking President Donald Trump’s immigration address

No, Mexico isn’t paying for border wall through USMCA trade deal, despite Donald Trump’s claims

Verdict: False

No, 18 children didn’t die in U.S. border protection custody under Obama

Verdict: Pants on Fire



Does Lack of Affordable Healthcare Kill More People in America Than Terrorism and Illegal Immigration?

Verdict: Mixture

Did Ted Nugent Announce a ‘Build the Wall’ Benefit Concert?

Verdict: False

Were 17,000 ‘Criminal Aliens’ and 6,000 MS-13 Gang Members Arrested in 2018?

Verdict: Mixture

Did Illegal Border Traffic Drop by 90% in Areas Where Physical Barriers Were Expanded?

Verdict: Unproven

Did These Politicians Build Walls Around Their Homes?

Verdict: Mixture

Did Nancy Pelosi Offer a Border Wall in Exchange for a Full Gun Ban?

Verdict: False


The Washington Post Fact Checker

Fact-checking President Trump’s Oval Office address on immigration

Your fact-checking cheat sheet for Trump’s immigration address

President Trump’s nonsensical claim that Mexico is paying for the wall

Verdict: Four Pinocchios

The Trump administration’s misleading spin on immigration, crime and terrorism

Verdict: Three Pinocchios