PolitiFact roundup


PolitiFact recently checked out claims including two by President Donald Trump, about the author of a book about Trump and about black and Hispanic unemployment rates; and Sen. Cruz’s remark that under the new tax law only rich people in New York and San Francisco would pay more. Here are summaries of our findings. Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com.

“I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book.”

— President Donald Trump on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 in a tweet

Trump’s tweet could give the impression that Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” was denied access to the White House entirely. But as Trump’s own press secretary has acknowledged, the author had more than a dozen interactions with administration officials at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump never explicitly allowed his visits nor barred him from the White House, Wolff said, which allowed Wolff to exploit this “non-disapproval” to gain access through “various senior staffers.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders underscored that Wolff had not been given unfettered access, saying he had been denied more than 30 requests for access, but she did not dispute that Wolff had been “seen often” with former adviser Steve Bannon in his White House office.

Our ruling

Wolff had more than a dozen interactions with officials at the White House, according to Trump’s own press secretary. Press corps members also spotted Wolff at the White House on multiple occasions. Sanders also said Wolff and Trump spoke by phone for “five to seven minutes” after Trump became president. We rate this statement False.

“African American unemployment is the lowest ever recorded in our country. The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped a full point in the last year and is close to the lowest in recorded history. Dems did nothing for you but get your vote!”

— President Donald Trump on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 in a tweet

President Donald Trump is right on the numbers but leaves out economic gains for those groups that came under a Democratic administration.

In December 2017, African-American unemployment fell to 6.8 percent. That’s a record low since the statistic was first calculated in 1972. The previous record low was 7 percent in April 2000 and September 2017.

Hispanic unemployment also dropped by a full percentage point, from 5.9 percent in December 2016 to 4.9 percent in December 2017.

As the president said, this is close to the all-time low, which was 4.8 percent in October and November 2017.

The tweet would have been accurate if Trump had stopped after the numbers. But his dig on the Democrats missed the fact that the unemployment rate for both groups declined dramatically on President Barack Obama’s watch.

Our ruling

Trump is right about the low unemployment rates for both blacks and Hispanics today. But his slam that the Democrats “did nothing” in this regard is an exaggeration. We rate his statement Mostly True.

“Every taxpayer, their taxes are going down, except rich people in Manhattan and San Francisco. Some of them, their taxes may go up.”

— Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Tuesday, Dec. 19 , 2017 in Senate floor debate of federal tax legislation

We unsuccessfully queried Cruz about his conclusion about higher taxes hitting only plump cats in New York and San Francisco.

Studies of the plan President Donald Trump signed into law suggest that many wealthy Americans will see tax cuts — while some will pay more. We didn’t confirm, though, that those likely paying more live only in San Francisco and Manhattan.

An analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, an independent group that models the effects of tax legislation. indicates that from the get-go, some taxpayers within each income bracket will likely pay more in taxes—though 95 percent will see reductions or not lose ground.

Our ruling

Cruz clearly engages in hyperbole here, though the gist of his statement holds water in that most taxpayers are projected to enjoy lower federal taxes through 2025. Also, those most likely to see their taxes go up include wealthy wage earners in high-tax states and cities.

Still, projections show that across income groups, not every taxpayer will see lower taxes, contrary to what Cruz said, and many of those who do see tax savings are likely to lose them after 2025. Also, residents of high-tax states and cities at risk of higher taxes aren’t limited to Manhattan and San Francisco.

We find this statement partially accurate but lacking in some important context. That makes it Half True.



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