As usual, he treated viewers to a dizzying quantity of false claims.
His dishonesty was centered on his now-familiar array of recent favorite topics: the coronavirus pandemic, mail-in voting, protests, China, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
We’re still going through the transcript, but Trump made at least 20 false claims — most of which he has uttered before. Here is a preliminary list:
Children and Covid-19: Trump said of the coronavirus: “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.” He added, “They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.”
Facts First: While children are, on the whole, less likely to get seriously ill or die from the coronavirus than adults are, they are certainly not “immune;” children get infected, transmit the virus, and do sometimes get seriously ill or die.
Testing and cases: Trump said, “By the way: when you do a lot of testing, you have more cases.”
The virus: Trump said schools should open despite the coronavirus pandemic because “this thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away.”
Facts First: There is no evidence the virus is “going away.” The US had 57,540 confirmed new cases the day before Trump spoke, according to Johns Hopkins University data. And the virus may never disappear entirely; Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress last week, “I do not believe it would disappear because it is such a highly transmissible virus.”
The state of the pandemic: Trump said, “Much of the country’s in really good shape.” He then broadened the claim, saying, “The country’s in very good shape.”
Ventilators: Trump claimed that the US had “nothing” in terms of ventilators before the Trump administration hiked production this year, adding, “You go back four months, we didn’t have any.”
Testing in India: Trump claimed that India has conducted just 11 million coronavirus tests.
New York congressional primaries: Trump claimed that there has been voter fraud in New York congressional Democratic primaries in which the vote-counting was slow, saying, “They’re fraudulent votes.”
Absentee voting vs. other mail voting: Trump again tried to create a distinction between absentee voting and other mail-in voting, saying “absentee is okay because you have to go through a process.”
Nevada’s plans for mail-in voting: Trump said that, under Nevada’s plans for mail-in voting, “anybody that ever walked will get” a ballot.
Nevada and ballot-counting: Trump said that, if Nevada goes ahead with its plans for mail-in voting, we might not know the election results not only for “months” but “actually, it could be for years.”
Facts First: We can’t definitively fact check the future, but “years” is obvious nonsense.
NATO and Germany: Trump said Germany is “totally delinquent” on military payments and owes money to “us” and “NATO.”
Facts First: Germany does not owe money to the US or NATO over its military spending. While Germany does not meet NATO’s target of each country spending 2% of gross domestic product on defense — it was at an estimated 1.4% in 2019 — that target is not about payments to NATO itself and does not create liabilities.
NATO and Obama: Trump said President Barack Obama, unlike him, did not even “talk about” the need for other NATO countries to increase their defense spending.
Protests and race
Monuments and penalties: Trump said he had signed a “bill” that “re-instituted” an old law that gives 10-year penalties to people who destroy monuments.
George Soros and protesters: Trump claimed “they say Soros and they say other people” fund Antifa, a loose collection of anti-fascist activists, citing protest signs that appear to be made “in a high-class printing shop.”
The courthouse in Portland: Trump praised federal agents for protecting a Portland building around which protests in the city have centered. He said that this is a “$500 million” building.
Trump and Black Americans: Trump said he has done more for Black Americans than anybody else with the “one exception” of President Abraham Lincoln — then, a bit later, suggested that Lincoln doesn’t even deserve the exception.
Facts First: We give Trump wide latitude to express opinions, but this one is ridiculous. Lincoln, who emancipated the slaves and won the Civil War, is a certain exception; President Lyndon B. Johnson’s monumental Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act clearly dwarfed the impact of any of Trump’s policies. And we won’t get into the contributions of other presidents or countless Black titans.
China and trade: Trump said no other president had taken in “10 cents” from China.
China’s economic performance: Trump said that, before the pandemic, China had its worst economic year in “67 years.”
Joe Biden and the presidential debates: Trump said of Biden and the presidential debates: “They’re trying to get out, there’s no question about that.” Trump later conceded, however, that Biden himself “has not said that.”
The Biden-Sanders task force and immigration: Alleging that Biden has been captured by the far left, Trump said, “Look at the manifesto that he and Bernie agreed to. That’s further left than Bernie ever was — no borders.”