Welcome to our real time, live fact check of Donald Trump, where we’ll focus on the Republican candidate and check the statements he makes during the second presidential debate tonight, Sunday, October 9, at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. We hope you’ll stick with us. Please reload the page frequently and scroll to the bottom for the latest fact checks.
The spectacle gets underway at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 6 p.m. Pacific, and will run for 90 minutes. During that time, what Trump says is likely to be unpredictable. After a shocking tape recording surfaced on Friday on which Trump is heard making vulgar and profane comments about women — including descriptions of how he feels he can force himself on them with impunity because he is “a star” — Trump signaled that he would devote the second debate to attacking Hillary Clinton over alleged sexual improprieties supposedly committed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, from the 1970s to the 1990s.
In fact, shortly before the debate, Trump held a press conference with several women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault over those years. None of the allegations were ever proven or tested in a court of law. Here is the video of the sparsely attended press conference.
But we hope, perhaps naively, that some actual issues will be discussed as well in addition to the tabloid fodder — issues that affect the daily lives of Americans such as health care, the economy, foreign and military policy, education and tax policy. And with the “town hall” format, in which about half the questions will be asked by audience members who are, in theory anyway, just regular voters, perhaps some issues of substance will come up.
To follow along with the debate you can view a live stream courtesy of The Washington Post in the following video.
A number of fact checkers are on the job for the debate tonight. The nonpartisan group FactCheck.org will be posting real time fact checks via its Twitter account at this link. PolitiFact, a similar group, will also be online fact checking on Twitter at this link.
We’ll incorporate fact checks from those sources, as well as our own fact checks, throughout the debate.
While we wait for the debate to begin, check out our real time Donald Trump fact check from the first debate, on September 26.
In addition to the candidates and the moderators, there will be 40 other people on stage during this debate. These people are self-proclaimed “undecided voters,” and the plan is for eight of them to ask questions of the candidates.
How Trump’s gambit of turning the debate into a referendum of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual transgressions will play with these 40 people — whose reactions and facial expressions will be shown on camera — is one of the most anticipated questions of the debate.
The head of the polling firm SurveyMonkey feels that it won’t go over well.
According to a YouGov poll taken in August, 62 percent of voters feel that using Bill Clinton’s past actions to attack Hillary Clinton is not appropriate.
A YouGov poll issued today puts Donald Trump’s favorability rating at 34 percent, with an unfavorable rating of 63 percent.
Hillary Clinton also fares poorly, though significantly better than Trump, with favorables of 44 percent, unfavorables of 53 percent.
The two candidates did not exchange the traditional handshake at the start of the debate.
Donald Trump said he started his campaign because he didn’t like the “terrible things” going on in the country, in response ti a question about things said in the campaign that may be unsuitable for children.
Fact: he opened his campaign with his now-famous speech calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers,” “criminals” and “rapists.”
Trump says he did not brag about committing sexual assault.
Fact: In the 2005 video released Friday, he talked about how he could “grab (women) by the p——y,” that is, genitals, with no consequences. To do that without the consent of the woman involved would be sexual assault.
Trump claimed that insurance premiums are out control under Obamacare.
Fact: Premiums have risen 5.8 percent since Barack Obama became president, compared to 13.2 percent over the previous nine years.
Trump claims that Hillary Clinton was “seen laughing at” Kathy Shelton, a 12-year-old rape victim in 1975. Clinton as a lawyer defended her accused rapist.
Fact: Clinton gave an interview several years after the case. She was heard laughing on the tape, but in no instance she “laugh at” Shelton. She appeared to be laughing in disbelief at the poorly functioning criminal justice system. See our story about the case for more details by clicking on the box below.
Trump claimed that Bill Clinton was forced to “pay a fine” in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
Fact: Clinton settled a lawsuit out of court with Jones without admitting any guilt. A criminal case brought by Jones was thrown out of court by a judge who said that even if the allegations were true “there are no genuine issues for trial in this case.”
Trump claimed that Clinton “acid washed” her emails as secretary of state, which he called “a very expensive process.”
Fact: He seems to have no idea what he is talking about. There is no such thing as “acid washing” emails. Clinton used a simple piece of software to delete personal emails from her server, but that software was free.
Trump said that Clinton admitted not knowing that the letter “c” meant “classified” on her emails.
Fact: Clinton told congress that she did, in fact, know that a “c” on the top of an email meant classified. She didn’t understand that the letter “c” in the body of an email stood for “confidential.”
Trump calls Obamacare a “disaster.”
Fact: About 20 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Trump claimed that Clinton proposes a single-payer health plan, “like Canada.”
Fact: She does not. That was Bernie Sanders.
Before Obamacare, the cost of health care in the United States was the highest in the world.
Trump once again said that if her were president, the United States would not have gone into Iraq.
Fact: He made public statements in favor of the war well ahead of the March 20, 2003 United States invasion of Iraq, which kicked off the Iraq War. In 2002 he told radio host Howard Stern that he supported invading Iraq. He supported the war as late as August of 2004, when an interview with Trump was published in Esquire — 17 months after the invasion.
Trump claimed, “In San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment.”
Fact: That’s false. There is no evidence that anyone witnessed bombs in the apartment of the San Bernardino shooters.
Trump says, “I don’t know Putin.”
Fact: In a 2014 speech to the National Press Club, Trump bragged about meeting Putin. He said the Russian strongman “could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success.”
Trump said that Clinton “is raising everybody’s taxes massively.”
Fact: According to CNN Money, Clinton’s tax hike proposals are limited mainly to the wealthiest Americans.
“Clinton’s plan would make the tax code even more progressive than it is today. She would impose the so-called Buffett Rule, requiring those with adjusted gross incomes over $1 million to pay a minimum of 30% of their income in taxes.”
Trump claimed that he has no financial ties to Russia.
Fact: His financial involvement with Russia is well-documented, as in the report from the Washington Post available at this link.
Trump asked why Clinton did not “do something” about health care in the past.
Fact: As First Lady in 1993, Clinton led a major health care reform effort, which failed under heavy opposition from pharmaceutical and the health care industries.
Trump said that a $1.3 billion payment to Iran was part of the Iran nuclear deal.
Fact: The money was paid as part of a deal for weapons made in 1979, before the Iranian revolution, for weapons that the U.S. never delivered. The cash was basically a refund.
Trump asks, “How stupid is our country?”
Trump said, “Gaddafi’s out, it’s a mess. And by the way ISIS has a good chunk of (Libya’s) oil.”
Fact: Experts say that’s simply not true. ISIS has attacked oil fields but has not, at least so far, attempted to seize any oil in Libya.
Trump denies that he said to “check out a sex tape” in a late night tweet.
Fact: Yes, he did, as documented at this link.
That’s it for the debate, folks. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be doing one more live fact check on October 19, for the final presidential debate of this election campaign.