FACT CHECK: Three Claims From Trump’s Indiana Rally

David Sivak | Fact Check Editor

President Donald Trump held a rally in Evansville, Indiana, Thursday to campaign for GOP Senate hopeful Mike Braun.

Here are three checks on his claims.

Claim 1: “They are not liking my poll numbers, even a little bit … Within the Republican Party, the highest poll numbers” ever.

Polling by Gallup shows that while Trump is certainly popular within the Republican Party, his approval rating is only the fourth-highest among Republican presidents at this point in his presidency. President George W. Bush had the highest rating due to an upswing in support after 9/11.

Trump went on to claim that his numbers even beat “Honest Abe” Lincoln; however, scientific polling only started to develop in the 1930s. Gallup’s polling data only goes back to 1945.

Claim 2: “Economic growth last quarter hit a number that nobody thought possible. This number was one, less than one and going down to negative, negative territory.”

Real gross domestic product (GDP) hit 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Although this is a robust growth figure – the highest since Q3 2014 – Trump did not inherit a downward-spiraling economy as he claims.

Quarterly real GDP hovered somewhere between 1.5 and 2.3 percent during President Barack Obama’s last year in office, or 1.6 percent on an annual basis. GDP has not dipped below 1 percent since Q4 2015, and in 2016, economists forecasted that the economy would grow at an annual rate of 2 percent for the next several years.

Real GDP grew 2.2 percent during Trump’s first year in office.

Claim 3: “We’ve increased exports of clean, beautiful coal, one of our great resources that they wanted to close up, by – listen to this – by 60 percent in just this little short period of time.”

The U.S. exported 97 million short tons of coal in 2017, up 61 percent from the 60 million short tons exported the year before.

Exports to Asia more than doubled as India continues to meet growing electricity demand with the construction of new coal-fired plants and countries like South Korea and Japan transition away from nuclear power. Supply disruptions in Australia and Indonesia boosted U.S. exports as well.

Europe remains the largest recipient of American coal.

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David Sivak

Fact Check Editor

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