Thanks for joining us for our live, real-time fact check of statements made by Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, during tonight’s first and only 2016 vice-presidential debate, as the 57-year-old Indiana Governor faces off against Democratic Virginia Senator, and former Governor, Tim Kaine, who shares the ticket with presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Pence has his work cut out for him, as he will need to stick up for Trump after an especially disastrous week for the Republican nominee, which started on Monday, September 26, with Trump turning in a painful performance in his first debate against Hillary Clinton that led to Clinton surging in the polls as the week went on, and ended with a bombshell story in The New York Times that showed how Trump may have paid no federal or state income tax for an 18-year-period.
Nonetheless, the national Republican Party jumped the gun and issued a press release declaring Pence the winner of the debate, more than an hour before it started.
Reload this page frequently and scroll down for the latest fact-checks on Mike Pence. And for those who want to follow along with the debate and the real time fact check all in one place, watch the following live stream video of the debate, courtesy of The Washington Post.
There are several other sources for live fact checking of the vice-presidential debate, including the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who will be fact checking on his Twitter feed at this link, and the non-partisan group FactCheck.org, whose fact checking can be found at this link. We’ll be incorporating some of the most important tweets from those and other sources into our own fact check as the debate goes along.
The debate gets underway at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 6 p.m. Pacific, from Longwood University in Virginia.
The Clinton campaign seems to be getting ready for Pence to attack Kaine’s economic record as Virgina governor, with Economic Policy Adviser Mile Shapiro sending out fact-check tweets before the debate even gets underway.
Pence claims that Clinton “refused to sign” the status of forces agreement in Iraq, presumably to leave troops in that country.
Fact: It would have been up to President Obama to sign the agreement — but there was no such agreement that would have left 10,000 troops in Iraq as a bulwark against ISIS.
Pence claimed that Trump has created “thousands of jobs.”
Fact: According to a CNN analysis, Trump has created about 34,000 jobs, but the picture is not clear because Trump’s organization is private and not subject to public filings.
Pence called Kaine’s claims that he and Trump want to privatize Social Security “a scare tactic.”
Fact: Pence when he was in congress was considered “one of Congress’ most aggressive Social Security privatization supporters,” according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
He has also favored cutting Social Security and raising the retirement age for American workers.
Pence earlier blamed the civil war in Syria on Hillary Clinton.
Fact: According to NPR diplomacy correspondent Michele Kelemen, “The war in Syria began as an uprising against Bashar Assad’s regime and was not the result of any U.S. policy. Clinton did warn autocratic leaders before the so-called Arab Spring, however, that the region’s foundations were ‘sinking into the sand.'”
Pence spoke about the problem of “criminal aliens.”
Fact: According to The Wall Street Journal, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than American-born citizens.
Pence again points to the supposed problem of “criminal aliens.”
Fact: According to a CNN investigation, “The number of people released from immigration custody who were later charged with murder between 2010 and 2014, according to figures from the Department of Homeland Security cited in a recent letter from two U.S. senators. That’s about a thousandth of a percent of the total estimated number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States.”
In addition, about 75,000 inmates in federal and state prisons are not United States citizens — about 5 percent of the prison population.
Pence earlier said that Hillary Clinton would raise taxes by $2 trillion.
Fact: According to economists, Clinton’s tax plan would raise $1.46 trillion over a decade, but most of the new taxes will be paid by the wealthiest U.S. taxpayers.
Pence appeared to laugh at Kaine’s claim that Trump has called NATO “obsolete.”
Fact: Here’s what Trump said. “I think NATO is obsolete. NATO was done at a time you had the Soviet Union, which was obviously larger — much larger than Russia is today. I’m not saying Russia is not a threat. But we have other threats. We have the threat of terrorism. And NATO doesn’t discuss terrorism. NATO’s not meant for terrorism. NATO doesn’t have the right countries in it for terrorism.”
Pence denies that Trump has said more nations should acquire nuclear weapons.
Fact: Trump has said that more nations acquiring nuclear weapons would not be “a bad thing.”
For example, when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked if he would be ready for Japan and South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons, Trump replied, “I am prepared to — if they’re not going to take care of us properly, we cannot afford to be the military and the police for the world. We are, right now, the police for the entire world. We are policing the entire world.”
Pence did indeed call Putin “a stronger leader” that Barack Obama.
“I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country,” Pence said in September, later pulling back too say that Donald Trump “”doesn’t particularly like” the way Putin runs his country.
Pence is right that he did not call Putin a “better” leader, but it seems like a fine distinction.
Pence claims that “more than half” of Clinton’s meetings as Secretary of State were with donors to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the Associated Press report counted only 154 total meetings, of which 85 were with foreign donors to the foundation. But Clinton met with thousands of people during her time as secretary of state.
Pence claimed that the Trump Foundation has given millions to charity.
Fact: A new report Tuesday showed that Trump has used foundation funds to finance his run for president.
“From 2011 through 2014, Trump harnessed his eponymous foundation to send at least $286,000 to influential conservative or policy groups, a RealClearPolitics review of the foundation’s tax filings found. In many cases, this flow of money corresponded to prime speaking slots or endorsements that aided Trump as he sought to recast himself as a plausible Republican candidate for president,” the RealClearPolitics site reported.
That’s the end of the vice-presidential debate, folks. Thanks for sticking with us for the Mike Pence fact check. Join us again on Sunday, October 9, for another Donald Trump live real time fact check during the second presidential debate.