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Parsing President Donald Trump's Inauguration Speech; How Truthful Was It?

Updated on January 29, 2017
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ME has spent most of his retirement from service to the United States studying, thinking, and writing about the country he served.

How Often Has Donald Trump Been Truthful During the Campaign

POLITIFACT HAS BEEN TRACKING THE VERACITY OF statements made by politicians. They don't say whether politicians of lied or not (although in many cases they have). Instead, they rate "truthfulness" or "falsity" of various statements made. They give seven ratings

  1. Truthful (4%)
  2. Mostly True (12%)
  3. Half-True (generally meaning they are close to being misleading) (15%)
  4. Mostly False (19%)
  5. False (33%)
  6. Pants-on-Fire False (18%)

The numbers in parenthesis are Trumps final numbers before the election. (Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, had opposite numbers [25%/26%/24%/14%/10%/2%])

So, how did Donald Trump do with his Inaugural Speech?


Let's See What You Think.

In your opinion, how often do you think President Trump made some sort of False statements throughout the election process and his first few days as President?

See results

Parsing Donald Trump's Inaugural Speech

BELOW ARE SELECT CLAIMS TRUMP MADE DURING HIS INAUGURAL SPEECH. I, when I know the answer, or Politifact will rate what Trump purported to be Fact.

  1. "For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost." - FALSE: While the basic idea is right, it wan't a "a small group ... capital" who reaped the benefits. Instead it was the already wealthy (which includes Trump) who reaped the rewards from people doing the hard work. Income inequality has been growing at a faster clip since the Reagan era. It slowed down during the Clinton administration but began increasing again until the Great 2008 Recession.1
  2. "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people." - TRUE
  3. "... an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; ..." - HALF-TRUE: In fact, funding from all sources had been increasing with the Federal government contributing 10% of less, ... that is until 2008, anyway. Since then funding has been decreasing in almost all States; save for a brief period following the Stimulus which kept teachers employed. The most impacted, of course, are schools in poor areas. What does the phrase "deprived of all knowledge".mean? If you read it literally, it is PANTS-ON-FIRE FALSE.
  4. Trump state that "...the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now." - PANTS-ON-FIRE FALSE: The FBI statistics say violent crime has been decreasing ever since the 1995 Firearms Act. Violent crimes has steadily decreased from 637 per 100,000 in 1996 down to 373 per 100,000 in .
  5. Donald Trump has often stated that "For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry".- If he is referring to NAFTA - FALSE: After NAFTA, manufacturing increased by 38% ($31,793 trillion (2016$) in 2015 vs $22,961 trillion in 1997)
  6. Unsure what Trump is referring to when he said the U.S. "subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military" - PARTLY FALSE: For the most part, the only military that we send substantial money to on a regular basis. are Egypt and Israel. For what is supposed to be the short-term, America does provide military aid to Afghanistan and Iraq while at war. But broadly speaking, we don't subsidize countries around the globe as the statement suggests.
  7. In speeches Trump claims "...we've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own - PARTLY FALSE: If he is referring to the military bases the U.S. has scattered around the world, they serve a dual purpose: 1) to protect the country they are located in but 2) to protect America from foreign invasion. If America had no enemies, then there would be no foreign military bases.
  8. Donald Trump believes America has "... spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay - PARTLY FALSE: The True part is that Congress has not lived up to its job in funding infrastructure projects and maintenance. It is false, however, that America spends a lot on non-national secturity related foreign infrastructure. This is borne out in that America's Foreign Aid amounts to LESS than 1% of the annual budget. Trump says Trillions in his alternate reality while in FACT it is only around $40 billion!
  9. Trump is wrong when he says "We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon." - PANTS-ON-FIRE FALSE: Wealth is measured in a couple of ways. One is GDP, which is equivalent to Income. GDP grew from $12.6 Trillion in 2000 to $16.5 Trillion in 2015. By comparison GDP for China, the nation in 2nd place, China, grew from $1.2 Trillion to $11 Trillion, receptively. Domestic consumption in many countries, including the United States, are responsible for China's huge growth ---------- in terms of Wealth, 2016 U.S. National Wealth was $84.8 Trillion; but in 2000 it was only $42.3 Trillion; a 100% increase! The next closest (Japan) is $24.1 Trillion and $19.3 Trillion, respectively; a 25% increase. Clearly Donald Trump does not know what he is talking about.
  10. Next, he claimed "One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind" - FALSE:. All nations, as they mature economically, go through several stages such as; 1) Agriculture/Subsistence, 2) Industrialization, 3) Service, and 4) Information/Data. As cost and standards of living increase in a nation, they move from stage to stage. America is now in the Information Age. When America left the Industrialization Age, Asian countries picked up the slack, China, for example. Even China is moving beyond industrialization while other countries, e.g., Vietnam, take on the role that China is leaving behind. That is why manufacturing jobs in America will never return to the heydays of 1820 - 1990.
  11. The President claims that "The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world." - FALSE: When talking Net Worth (Wealth) it is true that the Middle Class has lost wealth since the end of the Reagan - Bush presidencies. But, it has not been "redistributed across the world". Instead it has been redistributed to America's top 10%. In 1992 the wealth distribution was Lower Class - 3%; Middle Class - 22%; Upper Class - 75%. But in 2013, the latest numbers I could find, the distribution was Lower Class - 1%; Middle Class - 13%; and the Upper Class, a whopping 86%. That is who got your wealth.
  12. Trump believes that "Protection[ism] will lead to great prosperity and strength - in the long-run that is FALSE: Anytime America instituted a protectionist policy either it had no impact or it led to a recession. For example, the Embargo Act of 1807 was followed by the Depression of 1807; the 1816 tariff was partly responsible for the 1819 depression; expanding the 1816 tariff in 1824 was followed by the 1825 recession; the 1828 tariff was largely responsible for the 1828 recession; the 1832 tariff was followed by the 1833 recession. The final protectionist tariff in America, until Donald Trump institutes one, was the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. That single Act turned what might have been a terrible recession, which was more or less concentrated in America, into a worldwide 1929 Depression, the worst depression in history. (Had not President Bush and President Obama reacted with TARP (Bush) and the Stimulus (Obama), the 2008 Great Recession very well could have replaced 1929 as the worst in history.)

I highlight the twelve statements of fact contained in his inaugural speech. I provided information why I thought ten of them were False in one respect or another. That comes to an 83% False rate, in line with what other fact checkers have found over a much larger sample of Trump statements.

1. The Gini Index increase per year is a measure of inequality

  • Kennedy-Johnson - (-0.003/yr)
  • Nixon-Ford - (+0.001/yr)
  • Carter - (+0.001/yr)
  • Reagan-Bush I - (+.004/yr)
  • Clinton - (+0.002/yr)
  • Bush II - (0/yr): The 2008 Great Recession, as all recession do, lowers the Gini Index
  • Obama (through 2015) - (+0.146/yr): On the other hand, recovery from a recession increases the Gini Index.


THE REMAINDER OF DONALD TRUMP'S inaugural address where the standard platitudes and exhortations you find in most political speeches. Many Pundits felt the Inaugural was just a rehashed stump speech. A few others, while thinking that while this painted an unusually dark portrait of America, one not necessarily supported by facts, it did give you Donald Trump's vision for America.

Political Leanings

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© 2017 Scott Belford


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