FactChecking Trump’s Town Hall

In an Oct. 15 town hall on NBC News, President Donald Trump made false and misleading claims on the coronavirus, the economy and more:

  • Trump was wrong when he said a recent study found “85% of the people who wear masks catch” the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this interpretation of its study is “incorrect.”
  • The president baselessly claimed the U.S. is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic. But cases are rising across much of the country.
  • The president warned of mail-in ballot fraud, but the examples he offered were cases of mistakes, not intentional fraud.
  • Trump falsely suggested restrictions his administration placed on the deferred deportation program for so-called Dreamers were due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Trump again claimed Biden would raise taxes on “everybody” when two recent estimates figure 80% would see higher after-tax incomes — in effect a tax cut.
  • Trump repeatedly exaggerated his economic record, at one point inflating peak employment during his term by 7.5 million jobs.
  • The president declined to disavow the conspiracy theory QAnon, saying he knows “very little” about it. We can’t say what he knows, but he has repeatedly shared Twitter posts from accounts that espouse its conspiracy theories.
  • In speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, Trump inaccurately boasted that the U.S. is “a winner” on excess mortality. It’s not.
  • He said: “We’ve also brought down the price of Obamacare.” Premiums on average have gone down in the past two years, but that was after a double-digit hike the year before.
  • Trump argued his administration “saved 2 million people” during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that’s based on an estimate for deaths that assumes zero mitigation measures and individual behavior changes.
  • The president falsely claimed Michigan was in the midst of a lockdown. The vast majority of the state’s businesses are open, as are churches and many schools.
  • Trump, again, falsely said he was the “only one” who wanted to put travel restrictions on China to address COVID-19.
  • Trump falsely claimed that the Obama administration had spied on his campaign. A federal investigation found no evidence of illegal spying.

The NBC News town hall was held in Miami and hosted by “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie. Over on ABC News, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was answering questions in another town hall at the same time. We fact-checked that as well.

Wrong on Masks

Trump wrongly said the CDC “came out with a statement that 85% of the people who wear masks catch” the coronavirus. Rather, among the COVID-19 patients surveyed in the study, 85% reported they “always” or “often” wore a mask in the 14 days before illness onset.

: I’m OK with masks. I tell

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