Truth Test: Fact-Checking President Trump's Murphysboro speech - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Truth Test: Fact-Checking President Trump's Murphysboro speech

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President Trump at the Southern Illinois Airport in Jackson County, Illinois. President Trump at the Southern Illinois Airport in Jackson County, Illinois.

WSIL -- Thousands of people were in attendance as President Donald Trump campaigned at the Southern Illinois airport Saturday, hoping to boost Congressman Mike Bost’s reelection effort, but was everything the President claimed true?

Claim 1

Trump opened his speech saying he considered canceling the rally due to the mass shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people, but said he decided against it. He said that he didn't want to change his plans to let evil win. He mentioned the New York Stock Exchange, saying it opened the day after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

"Dick Grasso, a friend of mine, great guy, he headed up the New York Stock Exchange on September 11, and the New York Stock Exchange was open the following day," Trump said. 

But there’s a problem. The New York Stock Exchange didn’t reopen until September 17, 2001, nearly a week after the attack, so that claim is false.

Claim 2

Next Trump moved on to the economy, championing Republicans as job creators. 

"The unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level in more than 50 years," Trump said.

That’s true. Last month the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent. That’s the lowest since December 1969 when it was 3.5 percent.

Claim 3

Trump also attacked what he calls unfair trade deals, saying his new tariffs are to balance out the trade deficit with countries like China.

"With China that’s the big one," Trump said. "China has been averaging $500 billion for many years."

That’s false. The United States has never once had a trade deficit of $500 billion with China let alone average it for many years. Last year the trade deficit with China was $337 billion.

Claim 4

Staying on the topic of tariffs, the President says they have brought nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs back to the to the United States

"We have created nearly half a million manufacturing jobs," Trump claimed.

While there has been growth in manufacturing jobs during the Trump presidency, the number is actually 378,000 jobs-- well short of the half a million he claims. That statement is false.

Claim 5

President Trump then said as President, he’s improved the economy for minority populations. 

"African American poverty has reached an all-time historic low," Trump said. "The lowest it’s ever been."

That’s true. In 2017 the poverty rate for African Americans was 21.2 percent, the lowest level since the Census Bureau started tracking it in 1966.

Claim 6

President Trump claimed the unemployment rates for minorities are at an all-time low. 

"African American, Hispanic American and Asian American unemployment have reached their lowest rates in the history of our country," the President said.

That’s true. African American unemployment reached record low of 5.9 percent in May and is currently sitting at 6 percent, Hispanic unemployment is tied for its lowest at 4.5 percent and Asian American unemployment reached a low of 3 percent in May, though its gone up slightly to 3.5 percent.

Claim 7

President Trump went on to claim his administration was responsible for passing the Veteran’s Choice health program, which allowed veterans to seek VA-funded care from community care providers.

"We passed veteran’s choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor rather than waiting in line for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks," Trump said. "For 44 years they’ve been trying to pass it. I’ve got it passed and signed as of two months ago."

But President Trump didn’t sign that law. President Obama did in 2014. Earlier this year Trump signed a law that makes changes to the already existing choice program. That claim is false

News 3 will continue to fact-check politicians, so if there's a claim you want us to truth test, email

You can view previous Truth Tests here

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