Fact-checking Trump’s claims about the coronavirus during his trip to Wisconsin

President Donald Trump made several claims about COVID-19 in a campaign stop in Wisconsin last week.

July 1, 2020
Category: Fact-Checking

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Resuming campaigning after an extended hiatus for the pandemic, President Donald Trump made Wisconsin one of his first stops.

On June 25, Trump made stops in two locations, tackling an array of topics — the wave of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the coronavirus response, the economy and mail-in voting. But his descriptions often strayed from reality. Here’s what PolitiFact found fact-checking the president.

Before the pandemic, “We were going through the single greatest year we’ve ever had” for employment, stock market

There’s a lot of truth to this claim. The stock market, based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, was at historic highs in late 2019, even when adjusted for inflation.

The employment element is more nuanced. PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Mostly True a Trump claim from a January 2020 visit to Milwaukee that the 160 million people working at the time were the most in history. But examining employment as a rate instead — that is, as a percentage of the population — shows the U.S. was actually at its peak around 2000.

“If we didn’t test, we wouldn’t have cases.”

This statement is wrong. Conducting fewer tests doesn’t reduce the number of cases, it just reduces the number we know about. This is a claim Trump has recycled frequently, including May 14 and 15.

PolitiFact has rated variations of the claim False and Pants on Fire.

Trump walked back this line of reasoning in another town hall, saying: “Sometimes I jokingly say or sarcastically say, if we didn’t do tests we’d look great. You know what? It’s not the right thing to do.”

Though, the president has also said he wasn’t joking when he made them.

Click here to read the full fact-check.

Wisconsin assembly speaker Robin Vos claims Wisconsin was the last state to pay out federal unemployment benefits

Wisconsin did have trouble getting the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments to Wisconsinites, and was the last to do so. But the state started making federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments at about the same time as most other states. Get the facts»

TikTok video claims there are two ways to wear a mask to control COVID-19

A TikTok user claimed that when wearing a mask, you should put the blue side against your face if you don’t have coronavirus and want to avoid contracting it — but the opposite way if you are sick with COVID-19. Government sources prove that this is Not Legit. Watch the fact-check»

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Alex Mahadevan is a senior multimedia reporter at MediaWise. He can be reached at amahadevan@poynter.org or on Twitter at @AlexMahadevan. Follow MediaWise on TikTok.