Trump’s elec­tion fic­tion on GOP wins, econ­omy

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD - By Hope Yen and Christo­pher Ru­gaber

Fresh off the GOP’s loss of the House, Pres­i­dent Donald Trump is fudg­ing the suc­cess of a “boom­ing” econ­omy and over­stat­ing the im­pact of his cam­paign­ing on the midterm elec­tions.

He sug­gested that every Repub­li­can con­gres­sional can­di­date for whom he paid a visit to their state to rally vot­ers pre­vailed on Elec­tion Day. That’s not true. Sev­eral of his fa­vorites in closely con­tested Se­nate and House races lost Tues­day, in some cases af­ter Trump held mul­ti­ple ral­lies on their be­half.

On the econ­omy, Trump as­serted that U.S. growth un­der his watch has been un­prece­dented. In fact, it was sur­passed just four years ago dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. He also min­i­mized the trade threat from China and claims a U.S. steel in­dus­try re­nais­sance that isn’t re­ally hap­pen­ing.

And speak­ing be­fore Vet­er­ans Day, Trump claimed pre­ma­ture suc­cess in achiev­ing “more for the vets than any pres­i­dent,” cit­ing an ex­panded health care pro­gram that has yet to be fully paid for or take ef­fect.

A look at his claims and the re­al­ity:

Midterm elec­tions

TRUMP, on the mes­sage taken from Tues­day’s elec­tions: “I think the results that I’ve learned, and maybe con­firm, I think peo­ple like me. I think peo­ple like the job I’m do­ing, frankly. Be­cause if you look at every place I went to do a rally ... and it was very hard to do it with peo­ple in Congress be­cause there are just too many ... but I did it with the Se­nate. I did it with (Ken­tucky Rep.) Andy Barr, as you know. And he won.” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

THE FACTS: Trump is wrong to sug­gest that con­gres­sional can­di­dates won in every state where he held a rally on their be­half.

Two Repub­li­cans who closely em­braced Trump in their Se­nate races — Mon­tana’s state au­di­tor, Matt Rosendale, and West Vir­ginia’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, Pa­trick Mor­risey — lost to Demo­cratic Sens. Jon Tester and Joe Manchin, re­spec­tively. Trump had vis­ited Mon­tana four times and West Vir­ginia three times to rally vot­ers. Also los­ing Tues­day were Repub­li­can Sen. Dean Heller of Ne­vada, de­feated by Demo­cratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, and Leah Vuk­mir, a GOP state law­maker in Wis­con­sin who lost her Se­nate race to Demo­cratic Sen. Tammy Bald­win. Trump cam­paigned for Heller in Ne­vada on Oct. 20 and for Vuk­mir in Wis­con­sin on Oct. 24.

In the House, Repub­li­can Rep. Ja­son Lewis lost his race in Min­nesota to Demo­crat Angie Craig, whom he had de­feated by 2 per­cent­age points in 2016. Trump cam­paigned in Min­nesota on Oct. 4 af­ter Lewis in­vited Trump to ap­pear for him. .

••• TRUMP: “Fifty-five is the largest num­ber of Repub­li­can sen­a­tors in the last 100 years.” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

THE FACTS: His party didn’t win 55 Se­nate seats Tues­day. Repub­li­cans held 55 seats in the Se­nate in 2005-2006, as well as 19972000, ac­cord­ing to the Se­nate his­to­rian’s of­fice.

Af­ter Tues­day’s elec­tions, Repub­li­cans will hold a 5146 edge, with races in Florida and Ari­zona too close to call. A spe­cial elec­tion in Mis­sis­sippi has ad­vanced to a runoff elec­tion on Nov. 27 be­tween Repub­li­can Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Demo­crat Mike Espy. That means 54 Repub­li­can seats if those three races all break the GOP’s way.


TRUMP: “Amer­ica is boom­ing like never be­fore. ... In terms of GDP, we’re do­ing un­be­liev­ably.” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

TRUMP, on his tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion Tues­day night with House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi: “We didn’t talk about im­peach­ing. 79 Hurley Ave. Kingston, NY 12401 dai­lyfree­ Phone: 845-331-5000 News­room Fax: 845-331-3557 Gen­eral Fax: 845-338-0672 CON­TACT US Pub­lisher: Kevin Cor­rado, kcor­rado@ dig­i­tal­first­ Man­ag­ing edi­tor: Tony Adamis, tadamis@free­manon­ City edi­tor: Jeremy Schiffres, jschiffres@free­manon­ News tips: news@free­manon­ Sports results: sports@free­manon­ Life: life@free­manon­ Photo sub­mis­sion: news@free­manon­ Re­gional Cir­cu­la­tion Di­rec­tor: Michael Shee­han, mshee­han@low­ell­ We didn’t talk about — what do you do? Do you im­peach some­body be­cause he cre­ated the great­est eco­nomic suc­cess in the his­tory of our coun­try?”

THE FACTS: The econ­omy is healthy, but it’s not un­be­liev­able or un­prece­dented. It’s also not clear what he means in claim­ing the na­tion’s “great­est eco­nomic suc­cess” ever.

The econ­omy ex­panded at a 4.2 per­cent an­nual AD­VER­TIS­ING Clas­si­fied: 845-338-0606 clas­si­fied@free­manon­ Dis­play: 845-331-5000 ads@free­manon­ On­line: 845-338-0606 ads@free­manon­ Ad­ver­tis­ing di­rec­tor: Tim Ter­geoglou, tter­geoglou@ad­ On­line sales man­ager: Bar­bara Nor­ton, bnor­ton@ad­ Cir­cu­la­tion Cus­tomer Ser­vice: 1-888-699-7699 The Daily Free­man (ISSN 074-64932) is pub­lished Mon­day through Satur­day. The Sun­day Free­man (ISSN 076-8164) is pub­lished Sun­day. Post­mas­ter: Send ad­dress changes to The Daily Free­man, 79 Hurley Ave., Kingston, NY 12401. Copy­right 2017. No re­pro­duc­tion or re­use of ma­te­rial with­out ex­press writ­ten con­sent. To re­quest per­mis­sion to reprint ma­te­rial, con­tact the edi­tor. This news­pa­per is pro­tected un­der the Fed­eral Copy­right Act. Mem­ber, Al­liance for Au­dit Me­dia rate in the April-June quar­ter, then by 3.5 per­cent in the July-Septem­ber quar­ter. Those are the best two quar­ters in just four years. Growth reached 5.1 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2014, fol­lowed by 4.9 per­cent in the third quar­ter.

The econ­omy has boomed much more dra­mat­i­cally in the past. In the late 1990s, growth topped 4 per­cent for four straight years. It reached 7.2 per­cent in 1984. The un­em­ploy­ment rate is now at an im­pres­sive 50year low of 3.7 per­cent. But it re­mained be­low 4 per­cent for nearly four years in the late 1960s.

••• TRUMP: “And our steel in­dus­try is back. Our alu­minum in­dus­try is start­ing to do re­ally well. Th­ese are in­dus­tries that were dead. Our min­ers are work­ing again.” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

THE FACTS: He’s ex­ag­ger­at­ing.

The steel in­dus­try has added jobs at a faster rate than the econ­omy as a whole since Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, though all the gains oc­curred be­fore the ad­min­is­tra­tion im­posed tar­iffs on steel im­ports in March. Still, the re­bound has hardly restored steel to its for­mer glory.

The United States has added 5,500 steel jobs since Trump en­tered the White House for a to­tal of 86,500. Be­fore the Great Re­ces­sion, there were about 100,000 steel jobs. Alu­minum fac­to­ries have added 2,600 jobs since the in­au­gu­ra­tion for a to­tal of 60,100. Th­ese are mi­nor changes in an econ­omy with al­most 150 mil- DIS­PLAY AND CLAS­SI­FIED DIS­PLAY DEAD­LINES: Pub­li­ca­tion Date .................................. Copy to be in by: 79 Hurley Av­enue, Kingston, 845-331-5000 Clas­si­fied Ad­ver­tis­ing: 845-338-0606 Busi­ness Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mon. thru Fri.

lion jobs.

Mean­while, not many min­ers are work­ing again. Coal min­ing jobs have in­creased just 1,900 to 52,600 since Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion. That’s also a lot lower than the roughly 70,000 coal min­ing jobs that ex­isted as re­cently as 2014.

••• TRUMP: “China got rid of their ‘China ‘25’ be­cause I found it very in­sult­ing. I said that to them. I said, ‘China ‘25’ is very in­sult­ing, be­cause ‘China ‘25’ means, in 2025, they’re go­ing to take over, eco­nom­i­cally, the world. I said, ‘That’s not hap­pen­ing.’” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

THE FACTS: There’s no ev­i­dence China has aban­doned its eco­nomic plan. Trump is re­fer­ring to China’s

“Made in China 2025” plan, un­der which that coun­try’s govern­ment aims to de­velop world-lead­ing com­pa­nies in robotics, semi­con­duc­tors, elec­tric ve­hi­cles and other ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies. It’s a sore point be­tween the two na­tions be­cause the United States and other coun­tries ar­gue that China is us­ing un­fair tac­tics to achieve those aims, such as forc­ing U.S. com­pa­nies to share tech­nol­ogy and pro­vid­ing govern­ment sub­si­dies.

Chi­nese of­fi­cials have played down the plan in re­cent months be­cause of the in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism. But there’s lit­tle sign they have “got­ten rid of” the plan. Be­cause China sees the plan as a key step in the de­vel­op­ment of its econ­omy, many ob­servers worry they are un­likely to scale it back, which sug­gests U.S.-China trade fights aren’t go­ing away any­time soon.


TRUMP: “I’ve done more for the vets than any Pres­i­dent has done, cer­tainly in many, many decades, with Choice and with other things, as you know . ... If you look at Choice — Choice alone — I mean, just take a look at what we’ve done with Choice.” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

THE FACTS: He’s taking pre­ma­ture credit for im­prove­ments that will take years to see full ef­fect in re­gards to the Vet­er­ans Choice pro­gram.

Trump signed leg­is­la­tion in June to ex­pand the pri­vate-sec­tor Choice pro­gram, which was first ap­proved in 2014 dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in the wake of a scan­dal at the Phoenix VA med­i­cal cen­ter in which some vet­er­ans died while wait­ing months for ap­point­ments. The cur­rent Choice pro­gram al­lows

vet­er­ans to see doc­tors out­side the VA sys­tem if they must wait more than 30 days for an ap­point­ment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA fa­cil­ity.

How much Choice will be ex­panded, how­ever, will de­pend on yet-to-be-com­pleted reg­u­la­tions that will de­ter­mine el­i­gi­bil­ity for vet­er­ans as well as avail­able money for the pro­gram. The Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs has yet to re­solve longterm fi­nanc­ing due to con­gres­sional bud­get caps that could put fund­ing for VA or other do­mes­tic pro­grams at risk of short­falls next year.

Also im­por­tant to the pro­gram’s suc­cess is an over­haul of the VA’s elec­tronic med­i­cal records to al­low seam­less shar­ing of med­i­cal records with pri­vate physi­cians, a process ex­pected to take up to 10 years. VA Sec­re­tary Robert Wilkie has said full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ex­panded Choice pro­gram is “years” away.

Health care

TRUMP, on keeping

health pre­mi­ums down and cov­er­ing peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions: “What we’re do­ing, if you look at the Depart­ment of La­bor also — (Health and Hu­man Ser­vices) Sec­re­tary (Alex) Azar, what they’ve done. They’ve come up with some in­cred­i­ble health care plans, which is caus­ing great com­pe­ti­tion and driv­ing the prices right down.” — news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

THE FACTS: He’s gloss­ing over the lim­i­ta­tions of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s new health care op­tions, which of­fer lower pre­mi­ums than com­pre­hen­sive plans such as the Af­ford­able Care Act but also cover less. The avail­abil­ity of Trump’s short-term health plans also is not go­ing to “drive down” prices of the Oba­maera over­haul or com­pre­hen­sive plans, but may in­crease pre­mi­ums for ro­bust coverage if fewer healthy peo­ple take it as a re­sult.

Strictly speak­ing, the short-term and as­so­ci­a­tion health plans are not new. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion

has broad­ened their po­ten­tial reach, al­though some states may push back with re­stric­tions.

Short-term plans don’t have to take peo­ple with med­i­cal con­di­tions or pro­vide ben­e­fits such as coverage for maternity, men­tal health, pre­scrip­tion drugs and sub­stance abuse treat­ment. As­so­ci­a­tion health plans do have to ac­cept peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions, but they don’t have to cover the full menu of 10 “es­sen­tial” kinds of ben­e­fits re­quired by Oba­macare.

Gary Clax­ton of the non­par­ti­san Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion says short-term plans may turn out to be more costly than Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials sug­gest. The plans now cover up to 90 days, but if in­sur­ers ex­pand them to of­fer up to 36 months’ coverage, the com­pa­nies will be taking on more risk.

“You’ll have to pay more up front be­cause there’s a longer time dur­ing which you could get sick,” Clax­ton said.


Pres­i­dent Donald Trump speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in the East Room at the White House in Wash­ing­ton.

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