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Trump rally: President’s Florida speech fact-checked

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Trump rally: President's Florida speech fact-checked 2

By Reality Check team
BBC News

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  • US election 2020

President Trump in Florida

image copyrightGetty Images

President Donald Trump addressed a packed crowd of supporters in Florida as he returned to the campaign trail after his treatment for coronavirus.

We fact-checked some of his main claims.

Trump: “We’re doing 10 miles [of border wall] a day, and Mexico is paying for it.”

Verdict: That figure isn’t right – it’s more like 10 miles a week. Mexico has said it’s not paying for the wall.

It could be that Mr Trump got his numbers mixed up. In August 2020,

officials said they were building 10 miles of border wall a week.

Between 7 August to 25 September 2020, 66 miles of wall was built – that’s just over 9 miles a week.

Mexican leaders have long said that they are not paying for the wall.

Since January 2017, the US Customs and Border Protection says “$15 billion has been identified to construct 738 miles of new border wall system through a combination of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) funding and the Treasury Forfeiture Fund (TFF).”

image copyrightGetty Images

President Trump also said in the rally: “We’re up to almost 400 miles in wall, nobody talks about that anymore.”

Under President Trump, the US has built 341 miles of wall. However, 305 miles of this was built to replace existing barriers.

There are only 36 miles of wall where there was no barrier before. Out of that total, only 9 miles is what’s called primary wall. The rest is secondary wall, built to reinforce the first wall.

Trump: “They [the Democrats] would shut down American energy, shut down fracking”

Verdict: The Dems have not said they will shut down fracking – only that they will ban new fracking on public land.

The Trump campaign has claimed that Joe Biden would ban fracking, an important issue in closely-contested states such as Pennsylvania.

In recent months, Mr Biden has strongly denied this. In August 2020, he said “I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking.”

However, in March 2020, during a Democratic debate, he said “No more — no new fracking.”

He later clarified it: “I said I would not do any new leases on federal lands.”

Mr Biden’s campaign site says the Democrats would protect “America’s natural treasures by… banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.”

Trump: “We’re hitting record stock market numbers.”

Verdict: They have recovered to near pre-pandemic levels, but not as high as the record set in February.

President Trump often highlights the rising value of US financial markets as a measure of success – in particular the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Dow is a measure of the performance of 30 large companies listed on US stock exchanges, and it reached record highs at the start of this year.

It then crashed as markets reacted to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out all the gains made since President Trump took office.

But the financial markets have been remarkably resilient.

They’ve now gone back towards pre-pandemic levels, but are not quite at the high recorded in February 2020.

The stock market is used as an indicator of the state of the economy, although it’s an imperfect one, says BBC Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker.

Trump: “When I locked down China, he thought it was a terrible thing to do, he called me xenophobic.”

Verdict: Mr Biden did use the term “hysterical xenophobia” but he says this was about Mr Trump’s record, rather than the China restrictions.

When restrictions on people entering the US from China were announced at the end of January, Mr Biden said it wasn’t the time for “Donald Trump’s record of hysterical xenophobia”, and the next day tweeted a similar message.

The Biden campaign says this wasn’t a reference to the measures, but to the president’s overall record in office.

Mr Biden has never specifically said he opposed travel restrictions per se, but he did say in March that “travel restrictions based on favouritism and politics, rather than risk, will be counter-productive”.

Eventually in early April, Mr Biden said publicly that he supported them, with his campaign adding: “Science supported this ban, therefore he did too.”

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