AP FACT CHECK: Trump isn’t holed up nonstop at White House
WASHINGTON (AP) – Eager to defend a prolonged government shutdown over his border wall, President Donald Trump is pretending that he’s holed up nonstop at the White House waiting for a deal with Democrats. He’s also rewriting history regarding his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall.
Trump says he hasn’t left the White House in “months,” including during the partial shutdown that began Dec. 22. Actually, he has ventured out numerous times – to the Mexico border just this past week, for instance – and will again on Monday to New Orleans.
Trump is also claiming that he didn’t mean it when he told crowds over and over that Mexico would put up money for the wall. It was always intended for Mexico to pay “indirectly,” he now says, an assertion contradicted by his words and his plan in the campaign.
The remarks capped a week in which he also spread misleading rhetoric about the 2016 election, the FBI investigation into his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, prescription drug prices and dire threats from the south.
Trump said the wall will “very quickly pay for itself” by reducing the U.S. drug problem, and pay for itself “many times over” by the benefits he predicts will accrue to the U.S. economy from an updated trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Mexico has refused to pay anything toward a U.S. wall.
A look at the claims:
STUCK AT THE WHITE HOUSE
TRUMP: “I haven’t actually left the White House in months. …And I’ve been here virtually every night, I guess every night other than one day I flew to Iraq and then to Germany to see our troops. …I’m not even sure I actually missed a night, per se. But basically, I’ve been here for many months in the White House.” – interview Saturday night with Fox News.
TRUMP: “I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay.” – tweet Sunday.
THE FACTS: Trump has left the White House plenty of times in recent months.
Besides his trip to Iraq and Germany on Dec. 26-27, Trump traveled to the Mexican border town of McAllen, Texas, on Thursday. On Monday, he’s going to New Orleans to address the American Farm Bureau. He’s left the White House during the shutdown for meetings at Camp David and the Capitol.
Shortly before the shutdown began, he traveled to Philadelphia to watch the Army-Navy football game (Dec. 8), visited Kansas City for a law enforcement conference (Dec. 7), attended former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral (Dec. 5), participated in the G-20 summit in Argentina in late November; and hosted “Make America Great Again” rallies in Mississippi with Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith (Nov. 26). He hosted a dinner on Thanksgiving at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.