In speeches from Texas to New York, on issues from foreign policy to taxes and guns, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump has had trouble with the truth.
In the first of a regular series, the Guardian looks at some of the tallest tales Trump has told over the past week.
- “I started off in Brooklyn, New York, not long ago, with a small loan, and built a business which today is worth well over $10bn.” – 22 June, New York City
In 1978 his father gave him a loan totaling almost $1m – about $3.7m today – and acted as guarantor for the young Trump’s early projects. A 1981 report by a New Jersey regulator also shows a $7.5m loan from the patriarch, and years later he bought $3.5m in gambling chips to help his son pay off the debts of a failing casino, which was found to have broken the law by accepting them. Trump also borrowed millions against his inheritance before his father’s death, a 2007 deposition shows.
Trump has not proven that he is worth $10bn, though his tax returns, which he has refused to release, could provide a clearer picture of his worth. His financial filings suggest he has less than $250m in liquid assets, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Trump has a history of overstating his properties: he has, for instance, told the FEC that a New York golf club is worth $50m but also argued in court that it is worth only $1.4m.
- “I was among the earliest to criticize the rush to [the Iraq] war, and yes, even before the war ever started.” – 22 June, New York City
Trump has repeated this false claim nearly every week for four months. On 11 September 2002, about six months before the invasion, Trump told radio host Howard Stern: “Yeah, I guess so,” when asked whether he supported the proposed war. He offered a similar answer to Fox News a few months later, saying George W Bush was “doing a very good job”.
Several weeks after the invasion, Trump told the Washington Post: “The war’s a mess.” In August 2004 he told Esquire: “Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over.”
- “[Hillary Clinton’s] invasion of Libya handed the country over to Isis, the barbarians.” – 22 June, New York City
The US did not invade Libya in 2011, though Clinton supported Nato airstrikes in support of rebels opposed to dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Isis is one of the groups involved in the civil war that has followed Gaddafi’s overthrow and death. In 2011, Trump also supported strikes, and spoke about his desire to remove Gaddafi in a video found by BuzzFeed: “We should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives.”
- “We’ll create massive tax reform to create millions of jobs and lower taxes for everyone. And we are, by the way, the highest-taxed nation in the world.” – 22 June, New York City
The US is not even in the top 30 highest-taxed nations in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD’s most recent data ranks the US 31st of 34 industrialized nations for tax revenue as a percentage of GDP – far behind Denmark, Britain, Germany and Luxembourg. The US ranks 17th for corporate tax revenue, and 19th for tax revenue per capita.
Trump’s pledge to lower taxes “for everyone” also contradicts earlier claims. Though he has presented a plan that would cut taxes for the richest Americans, in May he said: “For the wealthy, I think, frankly, it’s going to go up.”
- “She’s a world-class liar; just look at her pathetic email server statements, or her phony landing … in Bosnia where she said she was under attack and the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers.” – 22 June, New York City
Clinton has answered questions about the private email server she used as secretary of state with careful, legalistic language. She has argued about baroque classification procedures and technical rules, and claimed that her private sever was well known – valid claims, technically, but arguments that skirt problems of misconduct and security lapses that were real, if not necessarily criminal. A state department review, released in May, was scathing in its assessment that Clinton flouted the rules.
In 2008, Clinton said: “I remember landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia in 1996,but the Washington Post unearthed footage of Clinton walking and smiling on a tarmac there. She then said she “misspoke” and had meant to say others had told her about sniper fears.
- “Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei.” – 22 June, New York City
Clinton gave the necklace from the queen of Brunei to the US government, in accordance with US law. American officials can accept gifts on behalf of the government so long as they pay the items’ worth or transfer them to federal possession. Gift exchanges are standard practice.
- “The other candidate in this race has spent her entire life making money for special interests – and taking money from special interests.” – 22 June, New York City
Clinton and husband Bill, who has been especially active since he stepped down from the presidency, have made more than $150m since 2001 from paid speeches to banks, corporations, universities and others.
But for most of the last quarter-century, Clinton herself has served as first lady, a senator and secretary of state. Before that she worked for an Arkansas law firm.
Trump’s argument, that she used government to enrich herself and others, is based largely on a book – Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer – that lacks evidence that Clinton’s decisions were linked to foreign or corporate donations. An AP review found no evidence of legal conflicts in Clinton’s meetings with fundraisers or corporate donors, though it also found dozens of missing entries.
- “When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.” – 20 June, Twitter
A few days earlier, Trump had expressed the idea that clubgoers with guns could have prevented the scale of horror in the Orlando mass shooting. “It’s too bad that some of the young people that were killed over the weekend didn’t have guns,” he said on 15 June in Atlanta.
On 17 June, he told a crowd in Texas: “If some of these wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or right to their ankle, and this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting – and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes boom, boom, you know what? That would’ve been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.”
- “Hillary wants to abolish the second amendment, remember that.” – 16 June in Dallas
Trump has repeatedly claimed that Clinton would repeal the second amendment, the right to bear arms, although she has never called for this during decades of public life. She does support gun control measures such as an assault weapons ban, increased background checks and greater liability for manufacturers.
Clinton has said she disagrees with the supreme court’s 5-4 decision in 2008 to broadly affirm the personal right to gun ownership. Her campaign has said Clinton would prefer states have the right to enact as strict gun laws as they see fit.