Fact Checks

Republican Convention Opening Night
  • Several speakers at the convention misleadingly portrayed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which President Donald Trump signed, as exclusively benefiting the middle class, while criticizing Biden’s tax plan as hurting “working families.” The Republican law largely benefited the wealthy, while the Biden proposed tax increases would fall mainly on the top 1% of taxpayers.
  • Trump claimed Democrats want to get rid of postal workers, when Democrats have repeatedly tried over Trump’s objections to get $25 billion in emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Trump wrongly claimed, “It used to take 17 years, 18 years, 20 years, 21 years … to get approval to build a highway,” but that under his administration, “we have it down to two years.” The latest statistics show the same or a bit longer median time in fiscal 2019 for projects to complete the environmental impact process than it took during the last five years of the Obama administration.
  • Donald Trump Jr. said his father “built the greatest economy our country has ever seen.” Not true. Economic growth and job growth have been faster under previous presidents.
  • A number of speakers falsely claimed that Biden supported defunding the police, part of a campaign to depict the Democratic nominee as soft on crime.
  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel claimed that Democrats support policies “like banning fossil fuels” and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suggested that a Biden-Harris administration would “ban fracking.” While some Democrats back such proposals, Biden has only called for prohibiting new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters.
  • Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones claimed that Trump “ended — once and for all — the policy of [mass] incarceration of Black people … caused by no other than Joe Biden.” But just as Biden’s 1994 crime bill alone isn’t responsible for mass incarceration, neither did Trump’s 2018 crime legislation end it.
  • Sen. Tim Scott also made the misleading claim that “revenues to the Treasury increase[d] after we lowered taxes in 2017.” That’s true in raw figures, but according to a Brookings Institution analysis, revenue in fiscal year 2018 was lower than in 2017 in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  • McDaniel also misleadingly said that Democrats support “[p]olicies that … allow abortion up until the point of birth.” Democrats generally back abortion rights, but Biden isn’t pushing to allow abortions for any reason up until birth. Only 1% of abortions occur after 21 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Donald Trump Jr. overstated the reach of the travel restrictions imposed by his father, saying he “shut down travel from China.” That ignores the exemptions that allowed tens of thousands of people to travel on direct flights from China to the U.S. in the months after the restrictions were imposed.
  • A Trump campaign advisory board member made the unfounded claim that if not for Trump’s “China travel ban, millions would have died.” The body of research on travel restrictions shows they can, if they’re very strict, delay the path of the spread of diseases but do little to contain them.
  • Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Trump Victory Finance Committee Chair Kimberly Guilfoyle, falsely described Biden as an advocate for “open borders.” Biden says his border security focus would be on “high-tech capacity” and the ports of entry “where all the bad stuff is happening.”
  • Haley drew a false comparison in saying Biden “is good” for ISIS but Trump “took on ISIS and won.” About half of the territory held by ISIS, or the Islamic State, had been regained under the Obama administration, according to Trump’s own administration.
  • Missouri resident Patty McCloskey falsely suggested that Trump eliminated a federal regulation that “forced rezoning” in the suburbs. The 2015 Housing and Urban Development fair housing rule that Secretary Ben Carson announced he will terminate said it “does not impose any land use decisions or zoning laws on any local government.”

Republican Convention Night 2
On the second night of the Republican National Convention:
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow falsely claimed that Trump inherited a “stagnant” economy on the verge of recession. Actually, economists were predicting continued growth, and very few saw any risk of a downturn.
  • President Donald Trump’s son Eric claimed wages “went through the roof” under his father. Not quite. Weekly earnings after inflation are up — but still well below the 1973 peak.
  • Eric Trump misleadingly claimed that under Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tax plan, “82% of all Americans will see their taxes go up significantly.” Biden’s plan does not call for direct tax increases for anyone making less than $400,000, but independent tax analysts say raising corporate taxes will indirectly affect employees. The reduced income would be relatively small for low- and middle-income earners.
  • First Lady Melania Trump made the dubious claim that the president “has built an administration with an unprecedented number of women in leadership roles.” One source shows Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton appointed more women to Cabinet-level positions in one term.
  • Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky didn’t give the whole story when he said Biden “voted for the Iraq War, which President Trump has long called the worst geopolitical mistake of our generation.” In a 2002 radio interview with Howard Stern, Trump said “I guess so” when asked if he supported going to war.
  • Eric Trump repeated the false claim that Biden “pledged to defund the police” (he didn’t) and falsely added Biden would “take away our cherished Second Amendment.”
  • As proof of the Trump administration’s success in battling the opioid epidemic, a police officer from New Mexico misleadingly said that drug overdose deaths “decreased in 2018 for the first time in 30 years.” While that’s almost correct, it ignores the fact that drug overdose deaths increased in 2019 to the highest level on record.
  • Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi falsely implied that Biden abused his office as vice president to improperly intervene in a Ukrainian investigation of a Ukrainian gas company that employed his son, Hunter. This is a false narrative that has been pushed by Trump for more than a year and resulted in the president’s impeachment.
  • Eric Trump made the meaningless boast that his father “increased wages for our incredible men and women in uniform.” In fact, Trump was just following the automatic cost-of-living formula required by federal law.
  • Bondi said Trump “can’t be bought” and “won’t even take a paycheck from the American people,” which he donates to “charities across this country.” Actually, Trump has donated his quarterly paychecks to various government agencies and he still profits as president because of payments made to his businesses, including from the federal government.

This image has been digitally manipulated to show a Hindu God on a Times Square billboard
An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows a Hindu God displayed on billboards in New York’s Times Square "this morning". The claim is false; the photo has been digitally manipulated to include an image of a Hindu God.

Headline was digitally altered, does not come from a Nigerian TV channel
Multiple social media posts in Nigeria have shared a screenshot purportedly taken from a Nigerian TV station which -- if it were real -- would be embarrassing, as its redundant headline reads “Breaking News: 40 dead bodies died as mortuary collapsed in Benin”. However, this is not from Nigerian television; it was fabricated by using images from several sources, including an old photo of a damaged building in Syria.

South African rugby bosses did not fire eight players who declined to kneel before a match
A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims that eight white members of South Africa's national rugby team, the Springboks, were fired for not kneeling in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement before a club match in the UK. The claim is false; Springboks bosses have denied axing the players who chose not to kneel in line with an anti-racism campaign before their game. A club director also defended them.

Misleading Claim Swirls Over Pledge of Allegiance at DNC
The prime-time programming for the Democratic National Convention every night on TV included a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, including the phrase “under God.” Two individual Democratic caucuses omitted those words during daytime meetings — prompting claims that misleadingly suggested they were dropped throughout the convention.

Church was not target of civil unrest in Wisconsin
Social media posts claim that a black church with a “Black Lives Matter” sign was burned down by the movement during civil unrest after a black man was shot by police in the US state of Wisconsin. This is misleading; only a sign for the church burned and the building was not targeted in the fire set on the night Jacob Blake was shot, according to its pastor.

Meme Recycles Conspiracy Theory on California Wildfires
A baseless conspiracy theory on Facebook suggests that the California wildfires were started by a “powerful laser.” The meme spreading the theory uses the same photos that circulated in 2018 to advance a similar claim.