President Trump on Tuesday night launched an attack on the free press, offered a revisionist account of his “many sides” remarks about Charlottesville, exaggerated his accomplishments, and made a series of false and misleading claims during a nearly 80-minute campaign rally speech in Arizona on Aug. 22.
A review of the transcript from his error-filled speech in Phoenix shows that the president referenced himself nearly 250 times, with the use of “I,” “I’m,” “I’d” and the third-person “Trump,” according to ShareBlue.
While devoting vast chunks of time to complaining about his negative press coverage, Trump failed to make any mention of the 10 U.S. sailors who went missing after the Navy destroyer USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore on Monday. (The US Navy has since suspended its search-and-rescue operations for the missing sailors on Thursday.)
“It’s beyond infuriating to know there’s a commander in chief who just seems to not really care when our military lose their lives,” Will Fischer, director of government relations for Vote Vets, told Shareblue Media. “It certainly does not signal that he takes into account the lives of troops and their families when he makes any military decisions.”
USAToday highlighted several of Trump’s false and misleading claims made on Tuesday night:
• Trump cherry-picked excerpts from his past statements about Charlottesville to put a positive spin on his remarks. But in his retelling, Trump failed to say he blamed “both sides” for the violence that left one counterprotester dead and 19 others injured.
• Trump also wrongly suggested that the media didn’t report that he had said “racism is evil,” a quote from his second statement — on Monday, Aug. 14 — on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. That quote was widely reported by the media.
• The president falsely claimed that wages “haven’t gone up for a long time.” Average weekly earnings for all private workers went up 4% during the last four years of President Obama’s tenure.
• The president also said the nation’s economy under his leadership has surged, describing the estimated 2.6% growth in the nation’s real gross domestic product for the second quarter as “shocking.” In fact, it is below the growth rate for eight of the last 18 quarters.
• Trump claimed the U.S. has “become an energy exporter for the first time ever just recently.” That’s false. The U.S. still imports more energy than it exports. The Energy Information Administration projects the U.S. will become a net exporter of energy — in 2026.
• The president touted that he has signed 50 bills and boasted that he doesn’t “believe that any president has accomplished as much as this president.” In fact, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed 76 bills in his first 100 days, including the kinds of major legislation that Trump lacks.