Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims on Agriculture, Trade and Poll Numbers

What Trump Said

“Net farm income, because our economy is doing so well, is forecast to be nearly $8 billion higher than in 2016.”

The Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service recently forecast that net farm income would reach $69.4 billion in 2019, compared with $61.5 billion in 2016. Yet President Trump is omitting that farm income reached $75.2 billion in 2017, before falling to $63.1 billion in 2018.

After adjusting for inflation, net farm income in 2019 will still be among the lowest 25 percent since 1929, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The group noted that “much is up in the air” and that farm income could fall with additional tariffs.

What Trump Said

“Agricultural exports expected to be $10 billion more than in 2016.”

While that figure is accurate — agricultural exports are projected to be $141.5 billion in 2019, compared with $129.6 billion in 2016 — the president is omitting that exports are expected to decline from 2018, when they totaled $143.4 billion. Moreover, agricultural imports are expected to increase in 2019, and the balance in agricultural trade is forecast to be the lowest in seven years.

What Trump Said

“Pelosi does not understand the bill. She doesn’t understand it, even though unions are in favor of it. Farmers, manufacturers, everybody, just about, is in favor of it.”

The president, referring to a broader free trade deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, said that unions favored the pact, but most major unions have not actually voiced support for it.

The A.F.L.-C.I.O., which represents more than 12 million workers, urged its members in April to write to Congress opposing the deal in its current form.

The United Automobile Workers union, after meeting with Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, in March, said in a statement that “some progress has been made” but “more work needs to be done to make this agreement enforceable and meaningful to our members and their job security.”

The president of the United Steelworkers union told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation this week that “we’re not going to be out supporting a trade deal” until it includes labor law overhaul and enforcement mechanisms.

In congressional testimony on Wednesday, a representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said that without additional changes, “we will be forced to oppose the revised agreement.”

When the framework of the new agreement was first reached in October, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America criticized the deal, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters declined to take a position.

What Trump Said

“A strange thing is happening: My numbers are going up. Someday, you’ll explain that to me.”

Mr. Trump did not specify any poll or time period, but his approval ratings have largely remained unchanged throughout his presidency.

During his news conference on Thursday, Mr. Trump complained of Democrats trying to “demean the Republican Party and demean the president of the United States” to sink public opinion of him, which could refer to investigations started in the House or recent chatter about impeachment. But there is little evidence that these actions have caused the president’s poll numbers to rise.

House Democrats began inquiries into a variety of topics in January. At that time, about 54 percent disapproved of him and about 41 percent approved, according to aggregated polls from FiveThirtyEight.

Discussions of impeachment increased after a redacted version of the special counsel’s report was released in April. Still, about 53 percent disapproved of Mr. Trump, compared with about 41 percent who approved.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump’s disapproval ratings were around 54 percent.

Other Claims

In addition, Mr. Trump repeated several claims that The New York Times has previously fact-checked:

  • He falsely claimed assistance provided to farmers is paid for by China through tariffs. (The cost of tariffs are largely passed onto American companies and consumers.)

  • He falsely claimed “we never saw 10 cents from China” before he enacted tariffs. (The United States has collected tariff revenue on imports since the 1700s.)

  • He exaggerated when he said that the special counsel’s investigation cost $40 million. (The investigation has cost about $25 million as of September, and half of those costs would have occurred even without a special counsel.)

  • He exaggerated when he said that his administration was on track to complete 400 miles of his border wall by the end of next year. (The mileage is inflated and relies on counting replacement projects as new wall, and on tenuous funding.)

  • He falsely claimed the military was “depleted” before he took office. (Top military brass raised questions about readiness, but spending was higher than the next seven nations combined.)

  • He falsely claimed that a mass exodus of auto companies leaving the country “all stopped” since he took office. (Announcements from automakers to increase investment or move companies back to the United States peaked in 2016.)