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World Checking 6 claims from Trump's news conference

Trump said he was accused of sexual misconduct by four or five women “who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me,” and whom he claimed he had never met.

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President Donald Trump made a host of inaccurate claims during a news conference at the United Nations on Wednesday, including about accusations of sexual misconduct, his share of the women’s vote, trade, judicial nominations and hostages.


“They made false statements about me. I never met them. I never met these people. And what did they do, what did they do? They took money in order to say bad things.”


This is misleading.

Trump said he was accused of sexual misconduct by four or five women “who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me,” and whom he claimed he had never met. He then contradicted himself and said that he “knew them a long time ago. Fifteen years ago, 20 years ago.”

More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual misconduct. Of those women, he has met at least six, as The New York Times reported last year:

“People magazine posted on Twitter on Tuesday a photograph of Natasha Stoynoff, one of its reporters, with Trump at his wedding to Melania Knauss in January 2005. Stoynoff has said that later that year, she interviewed the couple for an article about their first anniversary at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where she says Trump assaulted her.

Summer Zervos was a contestant on Season 5 of “The Apprentice,” Trump’s long-running reality television show. She says Trump made unwanted sexual advances toward her in 2007.

Two additional accusers have participated in beauty pageants that Trump ran. Temple Taggart McDowell, who represented Utah in Miss USA in 1997, told NBC News that Trump kissed her on the lips during a rehearsal dinner that year. Ninni Laaksonen, who competed for Finland in Miss Universe, said Trump groped her in 2006. There are photos of Trump with both women.

A fifth woman, Jessica Drake, an adult-film actress, said Trump groped her at a golf tournament in 2006. Last year, Drake presented an undated photo of her appearing with Trump at a news conference.”

A sixth woman, makeup artist Jill Harth, said Trump groped her in 1992 and she filed a lawsuit against him in 1997. She later withdrew that complaint as part of a settlement of a different lawsuit with Trump.

The president’s contention that the women were paid to falsely accuse him of sexual misconduct distorts news reports about financial donations to some accusers.

The Times’ Kenneth Vogel reported in December that political partisans raised money to support accusers who came forward with charges of sexual misconduct about Trump and members of Congress.

Gloria Allred, a high-profile women’s rights attorney, raised money to support Zervos’ legal fees in her case against Trump — not to pay her to make false accusations. Lisa Bloom, Allred’s daughter and another prominent lawyer, also sought donations to fund security and relocation for women who were contemplating sharing their stories about Trump, though some of them ultimately decided not to come forward.

Bloom did provide financial aid for Harth, who maintained that her allegations were not affected by the payments, according to The Hill.


“You know, I got 52 percent with women. Everybody said this couldn’t happen, 52 percent.”

This is exaggerated.

Exit polls collected by The New York Times indicated that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Overall, however, 42 percent of all women voted for him. That data are consistent with polls collected by CNN and The Washington Post.


“We’re starting trade talks with Japan. They were not willing, for years, to talk. And now they’re willing to talk trade.”



The United States and Japan announced Wednesday that they would begin talks on a bilateral trade deal. But Japan and the United States both signed a major multilateral trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with 10 other nations in 2016. Trump formally abandoned the TPP deal during his first days in office.


“We have trade imbalances with almost everybody. It’s a rare exception that we don’t.”


This is exaggerated.

The United States has an overall trade surplus with six out of 15 major trading partners, according to the Census Bureau. They are Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan.

When talking about trade imbalances, Trump frequently focuses solely on the deficit in goods. On that measure, he is even more wrong. Out of 234 trading partners, the United States had a trade surplus in goods with 129 countries or territories.

Trump has frequently criticized trade deficits as weaknesses in U.S. trade policy, but most economists do not see them that way.


“I have 145 judges I will be picking by the end of a fairly short period of time, because President Obama wasn’t big on picking judges. When I got there I said, how is this possible? I have 145, including Court of Appeals judges. And they just didn’t do it, you know why? They got tired, they got complacent — something happened.”


This is misleading.

Trump has been very successful in appointing judges to lower courts. But his suggestion that President Barack Obama was less so because he “got tired” is not accurate.

Obama successfully appointed 334 judges to federal courts. Gridlock in Congress, however, stalled most of his nominations in his last two years in office.

Of the 71 people whom Obama nominated to the courts of appeals and district courts in 2015 and 2016, only 20 were voted on and confirmed, according to data compiled by Russell Wheeler, an expert on the judicial selection process at the Brookings Institution.

“He would have nominated more, but they faced blue slip vetoes,” Wheeler said, referring to slips of papers that senators submit to — or withhold from — the Judiciary Committee in signaling approval or disapproval of nominees from their home states.


“I heard somebody on a certain network last night, I won’t mention which one, say why has President Trump given so much to North Korea? I said wait a minute. I asked Sarah Huckabee, please call this person. I gave him nothing other than I met. What did I give him? I didn’t do what Obama did; give him $1.8 billion in cash to get back four hostages.”


This is misleading.

Trump is likely referring to a $1.7 billion cash payment the Obama administration made to Iran, not North Korea. The payment helped secure the release of three American hostages in 2016, but it stemmed from a decadeslong dispute. As The Times has previously reported:

“Before the 1979 revolution, Iran’s shah had paid $400 million for U.S. military goods but, after he was overthrown, they were never delivered. The clerics who seized control demanded the money back, but the United States refused. The additional $1.3 billion is interest accumulated over 35 years.”

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea and while it has provided emergency food and other aid in the past during times of famine or natural disasters, it has not paid North Korea for the return of any hostages.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Linda Qiu © 2018 The New York Times

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