by UnHerd
Monday, 14
June 2021
Factcheck
13:49

7/10 — the score is in for Donald Trump’s post-presidency claims

The president claims he was right on key issues — and in most cases we agree
by UnHerd
Donald Trump stands outside St John’s Church, Lafayette Sq. in June 2020.

Former President Trump was no stranger to bending the truth, but this also meant that the press had a tendency to dismiss claims that might have otherwise been accurate. Never one to ignore or overlook a slight, the former president recently compiled and published a list of claims in which “they are now admitting [he] was right about everything they lied about before the election”. Below we have taken a look at these claims and given a traffic light rating as to how accurate they are:

RedHydroxychloroquine works

The president touted hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure back in May 2020, tweeting that it was a “game-changer” and that he had been taking the anti-malaria drug himself. Unfortunately, the drug did not stop the President from catching Covid later that year, but was his claim valid? According to the Cochrane Institute, hydroxychloroquine does not reduce deaths from Covid-19, nor does it reduce the number of people needing mechanical ventilation.

AmberThe Virus came from a Chinese lab

Though the origin of the virus is yet to be confirmed, it is certainly true that the lab-leak theory has gradually been accepted by the scientific establishment as a plausible theory, with Dr Fauci even admitting that we “need to keep an open mind” about it. President Biden has since ordered an intelligence community investigation into the virus’ origin, but credit should be given to Donald Trump, who floated the theory back in May 2020 when he claimed to have seen evidence that the virus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

GreenHunter Biden’s laptop was real

This statement is likely in reference to the suppression of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story in the run-up to the presidential election. The story claimed that Hunter Biden traded off his father’s name for personal gain after correspondence between Hunter and a Ukrainian energy firm executive was found on his laptop in which the latter thanked Biden for introducing him to his then-vice president father. Left-wing media sites claimed that the emails found on Hunter’s laptop might not have been real and that there was no way to authenticate them, even though that wasn’t true.

GreenLafayette Square was not cleared for a photo op

It was one of the most notorious images of Trump’s entire presidency. At the height of the BLM protests last summer, it was claimed that the president used the national police to clear the street with teargas so that he could take a photo of him holding a bible outside of St John’s Church in Lafayette Park. Now a new inspector general report about what led to the protesters being teargassed has been released, stating that the park police did not clear the square for Trump’s photo op. According to the report, the President was surveying the site ‘hours after’ they already had begun planning to clear the area to put up new fencing, which should temper some of last year’s histrionic headlines about Trump’s actions.

GreenThe “Russian Bounties” story was fake

In June 2020, the White House was ‘under pressure’ to explain how much the Trump administration knew about the allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan. Reports claimed that Trump received a written briefing about it earlier that year, which was then relayed by all the broadsheet newspapers. But last month, the White House intel community said that it did not have conclusive evidence that Russian operatives encouraged members of the Taliban to kill US troops, which flies in the face of earlier attacks by the likes of Joe Biden, who repeatedly went after Trump for failing to stand up to Putin over the purported bounty deals.

GreenWe did produce vaccines before the end of 2020, in record time

Operation Warp Speed, a $10bn investment programme with a remit to fund vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, was an unmitigated success. Commissioned by Donald Trump, the project accelerated investment in vaccine manufacturing and resulted in Americans getting vaccinated at record speeds. By the time Joe Biden took office, in January, over one million jabs were being administered per day.

AmberBlue state lockdowns didn’t work

As the coronavirus spread in spring 2020, blue states began locking down their populations. But did they work? Well it depends what you mean by “work”. Despite its stringent lockdown, California came close to being overwhelmed by Covid in December. What about deaths and cases? According to Avinash Dixit of Princeton University: “Red states have significantly far more cases in relation to population than the blue states. However, for deaths the effect is if anything in the opposite direction…” It does look like longer lockdowns damaged blue states’ economies. Take employment: there are 20 states with unemployment levels above the national average, only four are red states. There are six states with unemployment at 8% or higher, and all of them are blue. Still, given the complexity of this question, and the fact that the pandemic is not yet over in the United States, it is probably too early to make a definitive statement on the efficacy of lockdowns, as Trump has done here. 

GreenSchools should be opened

According to the CDC: “in-person learning in schools has not been associated with substantial community transmission.” Elsewhere one study comparing county-level Covid-19 hospitalisations between counties with in-person learning and those without in-person learning found no effect of in-person school reopening on Covid-19 hospitalisation rates when baseline hospitalisation rates were low or moderate. With effective prevention strategies in place students, teachers and other staff can be protected in the school setting. Trump is probably right to say they should be opened up. 

AmberCritical Race Theory is a disaster for our schools and our country

Critical race theory often ends up sounding quite… racist. The history of teaching millions of children to think of themselves as victimised members of a racial group is not particularly promising either. Arguments about the impact of CRT in schools are ongoing, and increasingly bitter. It is too early to say whether they are a “disaster” though. It is difficult to measure what the long-term consequences of say, the San Diego Unified School District telling white teachers that they are guilty of “spirit murdering” black children will be. Currently, there a dozen states with proposed legislation banning or restricting the teaching of CRT. Does banning ideas seem particularly American? Maybe the disaster of CRT won’t merely be that some children are indoctrinated into racial essentialism, but that America’s commitment to free speech will be maimed in the process of trying to stop that indoctrination. 

AmberOur Southern border security program was unprecedentedly successful

Since Donald Trump’s departure from office, illegal border crossings under President Biden have been hitting record levels. In May 2021 alone, over 180,000 people attempted to cross the southwest border and so far this fiscal year, the number of border crossings have hit a 10-year high. Thanks to pent-up pressure from the pandemic and a relaxation of Trump-era immigration policies such as ‘Remain in Mexico’, under Biden, a crisis has erupted on the border. Whether Trump’s policy was ‘unprecedentedly successful’ is debatable, but there is no question that the situation on the border has worsened significantly since he left.

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  • Really odd article. The author had chosen 10 random issues and created a score based on them.

    As a president, he had more successes than many would admit. But he divided rather than unified the country and his inability to win rejection is in large parts a result of that.

    It doesn’t help that he’s also a lying narcissist and unfit for office to begin with.

  • That’s no surprise really. My wife just asked, “What is Biden doing?” Answer: much the same as Trump except that he gets a free pass from the MSM whereas Trump would have been attacked for the same policy decisions. I suppose Trump never needed to learn the importance of compromise to make gains or diplomacy to win people round. If he had maybe he would have got a second term.

  • “media lackeys” – The press turned out to be much more influential in destroying Trump than anybody believed possible. The constant barrage of criticism beat back the huge economic success once the pandemic hit. Had there not been a pandemic the press would likely been ineffective because people would have reflected on their experience.

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