STATE OF UNION | AP Fact Check
WASHINGTON (AP) — The AP is fact-checking prepared remarks from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. Here’s a look at some of the claims we’ve examined:
TRUMP: “We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.” — excerpt released by White House.
THE FACTS: No truer now than in the countless other times he has said the same. The December tax overhaul ranks behind Ronald Reagan’s in the early 1980s, post-World War II tax cuts and at least several more.
An analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in the fall put Trump’s package as the eighth biggest since 1918. As a percentage of the total economy, Reagan’s 1981 cut is the biggest followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that financed World War II.
Valued at $1.5 trillion over 10 years, the plan is indeed large and expensive. But it’s much smaller than originally intended. Back in the spring, it was shaping up as a $5.5 trillion package. Even then it would have only been the third largest since 1940 as a share of gross domestic product.
TRUMP: “Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker.” — excerpt of speech released by the White House.
THE FACTS: This appears to be true, but may not be as impressive as it sounds. According to a tally of public announcements by Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group that supported the tax law, about 3 million workers have gotten bonuses, raises or larger payments to their retirement accounts since the tax law was signed.
That’s about 2 percent of the more than 154 million Americans with jobs. The Department of Labor said before the tax package was signed into law that 38 percent of workers would likely get some form of bonus in 2017.
Few companies have granted across-the-board pay raises, which Trump and GOP leaders promised would result from the cut in corporate tax rates included in the overhaul. Many, such as Walmart and BB&T Bank, said they will raise their minimum wages. Walmart made similar announcements in 2015 and 2016.
TRUMP: “We have ended the war on American energy - and we have ended the war on clean coal.” — excerpt of speech released by White House.
THE FACTS: Energy production was unleashed in past administrations, particularly Barack Obama’s, making accusations of a “war on energy” hard to sustain. Advances in hydraulic fracturing before Trump became president made it economical to tap vast reserves of natural gas. Oil production also greatly increased, reducing imports.
Before the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. for the first time in decades was getting more energy domestically than it imports. Before Obama, George W. Bush was no adversary of the energy industry.
One of Trump’s consequential actions as president on this front was to approve the Keystone XL pipeline — a source of foreign oil, from Canada.