President Donald Trump’s stops in Cedar Rapids Wednesday touched on many important Iowa issues, from wind power to wrestling. The Gazette’s Fact Checker will review six statements for accuracy.
First, in a statement about Trump from former Gov. Terry Branstad — now U.S. ambassador to China — who congratulated the president on trade relations with China.
“We’ve been trying to get American beef in China for 13 years and you’ve already done it,” Branstad said during an earlier event at Kirkwood Community College.
The United States has been frozen out of China’s beef market since 2003 when a case of mad cow disease got international attention. China dropped that ban in September — two months before Trump was elected. Increased trade talks this spring have resulted in an announcement last month that beef exports will be allowed into China by mid-July, according to news outlets, including National Public Radio.
Trump deserves credit for new developments in Chinese markets, but not for changes that happened before he was elected. Branstad’s claim is only half true.
Trump said he has passed 38 bills since he was inaugurated Jan. 20. GovTrack.us reports 40 laws have been enacted since Jan. 3. The president is correct in his claim.
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The coal industry has gotten a boost from Trump, who issued an executive order in March rescinding parts of President Barack Obama’s clean power plan.
Trump talked about those changes and touted “clean, beautiful coal,” telling the Cedar Rapids audience at the U.S. Cellular Center Wednesday that “30,000 mining jobs have been added since my inauguration.”
This claim has been checked by several news outlets, including CNN Money, which spoke with a former Trump economic adviser who said the number of new mining jobs actually was closer to 43,000. However, Labor Department statistics show half those jobs were in oil and gas — not coal — and another 6,000 were in “non-metallic mining and quarrying, digging for things like granite and marble,” CNN reported.
Only 1,300 of the new jobs were in coal mines, according to CNN.
So while Trump’s statement is technically true with regard to the mining sector overall, linking it directly to coal is misleading.
As the U.S. Senate considers a new health care plan, Trump told the Cedar Rapids audience the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is dying, by which he meant “insurance companies have all fled” Iowa.
While some insurers have pulled out, Minnesota-based Medica announced Monday it will sell individual insurance plans for the 2018 coverage year. As the last provider standing, Medica said it will increase rates an average 43.5 percent for all products.
Trump could have said most insurance companies have fled and be right. As it was, the claim is false.
When lauding Iowa farming, Trump brought up the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule, also called Waters of the United States, which clarifies the 1972 Clean Water Act to protect streams and wetlands.
Republicans reviled the rule, saying it was overly broad and confusing.
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“If they have a puddle in the middle of their field, it’s considered (a protected wetland under the rules),” Trump said. “We got rid of that, too.”
A federal stay was put on the rules in 2015 to allow for ongoing litigation, but the rules aren’t dead. Trump has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps to reconsider the rules and the agencies have started that process. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that deals with some aspects of the legislation.
It’s mostly false to imply Trump had a role in getting rid of the water rules.
• This Fact Checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org.