Fact-checking 9 of the biggest lies in Trump's Fox News op-ed


Trump is spewing false statements in the remaining days before the election.

In an op-ed it published on Friday, Fox News gave Donald Trump a campaign platform in the lead-up to the general election where he could hype his supposed accomplishments. It's full of misleading and downright false statements.

The inaccuracies throughout the piece build fast and furious, but here are just a few of the more noteworthy lies.

1. China is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump claims that the pandemic — which he insists on referring to by the racist and xenophobic term "China virus" — "came from China."

While it is true that the coronavirus originated in China, a majority of Americans agree it was America's own failure to respond adequately to the initial outbreaks that caused them to become a pandemic in the United States.

And, of course, Trump is behind the failure to respond: He knew of the dangers of the virus for months while continuing to downplay it to the American public.

2. His administration provided "direct financial assistance" during the pandemic.

"Thanks to my emergency economic relief legislation, more than 159 million Americans received direct financial assistance during the pandemic," Trump wrote.

While Trump did sign stimulus legislation in late March, and some 159 million Americans received stimulus checks in the spring, Trump left the American people high and dry afterwards.

He has repeatedly promised more checks and never delivered on the promise, and coronavirus relief legislation has been bound up in a warring Senate.

In early October, he shut down all negotiations on coronavirus relief and said they wouldn't resume until after the election.

Most recently, he has again dangled a carrot on a stick by promising a new stimulus package — but again, only after the election. Meanwhile, the House is still waiting on 10 answers from the White House to questions on a stimulus before it can go forward.

"After the election, we'll get the best stimulus package you've ever seen, because I think we're going to take back the House because of her," Trump said of Pelosi. "I think you have a lot of congressmen and women — Republican — that are going to get elected. We'll take back the House. We'll hold the Senate. We'll hold the White House."

3. The Paycheck Protection Program "helped protect" 51 million jobs.

"Our Paycheck Protection Program helped protect 51 million American jobs, allocating over $525 billion in forgivable loans for over 5.2 million small businesses," Trump wrote in the op-ed.

But the 51 billion number, according to Reuters, is based only on "preliminary lender data" and does not indicate the actual number of jobs saved.

Beth Ann Bevino of S&P Global Ratings told the Washington Post that number is at best an overcount: "At this point in time, it's hard to believe that the 4.89 million PPP loans granted by the SBA would support 51.1 million small-business jobs."

She estimated that the PPP saved about 13.6 million jobs, not 51 — only about a quarter of what the Trump administration claims.

4. "We're witnessing the fastest labor market recovery from an economic crisis in history."

It's been a swift economic recovery, to be sure, but to claim it's the fastest of all time is "tenuous, at best," according to economists. Other countries' pandemic-related recoveries have far outpaced America's.

And even Trump's claim that America's economy has grown by 33.1% in the third quarter is misleading, given that this surge still leaves the country far behind where it was before the pandemic.

Exencial Wealth Advisors' Jon Burckett-St. Laurent told NBC that the 33.1% figure is not the whole story.

"The obvious caveat is that when you drop 30 percent and gain 30 percent, you're still below where you started," he said.

Trump also brags in the op-ed about adding 11.4 million jobs in 2020 — without acknowledging that more than 22 million jobs were lost to begin with in the wake of the pandemic whose spread he failed to control.

As of September, only about half the jobs lost had been regained.

5. Biden is 'campaigning on a $4 trillion tax hike — one of the largest in American history.'

"(Biden is) campaigning on a $4 trillion tax hike — one of the largest in American history — just as the economy begins to recover from a global pandemic," Trump said.

Biden's proposed tax plan is actually to raise between $3.35 trillion to $3.67 trillion over the course of a decade, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

And, while Biden has said he'll repeal tax cuts for those making over $400,000, his tax plan will likely not affect anyone making less than that amount. The tax increases resulting from the repeal would only impact individuals making more that that — and corporations.

In Biden's tax plan, more than 3/4 of the increased tax revenue will come from the top 1%, despite the Trump campaign's claims that Biden will raise taxes on 82% of Americans.

6. Biden has pledged to eliminate tax cuts for middle-income Americans.

"Joe Biden has openly pledged to eliminate my tax cuts for middle-income Americans," Trump claimed in the op-ed.

This couldn't be further from the truth. Biden openly supports tax cuts for the middle class. According to Forbes, he and Trump would cut middle-class Americans' taxes by approximately the same amount: between 1 and 1.2% of their income after taxes.

7.  Biden will 'bring back Obama's disastrous health care calamity.'

"(Joe Biden will) bring back Obama's disastrous health care calamity," Trump wrote in the op-ed, without elaborating further.

Assuming he's referring to the Affordable Care Act, it actually hasn't gone anywhere.

It's true that it may be on the chopping block with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

It's also true that on Nov. 10, oral arguments will be heard in California v. Texas, a decision in which could ultimately invalidate Obamacare.

But for now, there's nothing to "bring back," since Obamacare is still alive and kicking.

8. Trump 'has always promised to protect' Social Security.

"Biden's scare tactics extend to America's seniors with false claims about my record on Social Security, lies that have been debunked many times," Trump wrote in the op-ed. "Biden points the finger, but he is the one who has advocated for cutting Social Security while I have always promised to protect it."

But on Aug. 8, Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending the payroll tax that feeds into Social Security.

Experts have asserted that the action effectively defunds the Social Security program, as well as Medicare.

And on Aug. 12, Trump said: "At the end of the year, with the assumption that I win, I'm going to terminate the payroll tax."

Trump's opinion has been, without evidence, that general economic growth will offset the loss of the payroll tax without eliminating or defunding Social Security.

9. Biden has 'pledged' to eliminate the oil and natural gas industries.

"Biden also issued a clear threat during the final presidential debate to over 10.3 million Americans with his pledge to eliminate the oil and natural gas industries," Trump claimed.

But Biden has said no such thing, Trump's repeated claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

What Biden actually said during the debate was that he wants to invest in renewable energy and eliminate federal subsidies for oil companies.

Biden clarified to reporters after the debate that he hopes to end subsidies for fossil fuels, but has no intention of eliminating the fossil fuel industry altogether.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.