FACT CHECK: 3 Claims From Trump’s Montana Rally

David Sivak | Fact Check Editor

President Donald Trump held a rally in Great Falls, Montana, Thursday to campaign for GOP Senate hopeful Matt Rosendale.

Here are three checks on his claims.

Claim 1: “I want to thank Greg Gianforte. He’s a member of Congress who has been 100 percent with us.”

Trump kicked off the rally by thanking his Republican colleagues, including Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte. The congressman assumed office in June 2017 after winning a special election for the seat of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The political analysis site FiveThirtyEight tracks how often members of Congress vote in line with Trump, and according to the latest tally, Gianforte has supported Trump’s policies 92 percent of the time.

He voted for tax reform, the Republican compromise immigration bill and other White House priorities. But Gianforte also voted to make it harder for Trump to lift sanctions on Russia and is more of a budget hawk than the president.

Claim 2: We’re the fastest growing nation, on an economy basis – maybe it’s for the big nations, but I heard nation. We’re the fastest growing – economically – nation in the world. Think of that.

A whopping 115 countries will have faster economic growth than the U.S. in 2018, according to a forecast by the International Monetary Fund. The U.S. will grow 2.9 percent in terms of real gross domestic product (GDP), while the global economy is expected to grow 3.9 percent.

This isn’t particularly surprising – after all, most countries still have developing economies. Ethiopia will grow 8.5 percent, India will grow 7.4 percent and China will grow 6.6 percent, to name a few.

The U.S. fares better among advanced economies; it’s forecasted to grow the fastest of any G7 country in 2018.

The World Bank reports similar findings. Real GDP will grow an estimated 2.7 percent in the U.S. for 2018, compared to 2.2 percent for all advanced economies.

Claim 3: On the EU’s contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), They kill us with NATO. They kill us. So we pay 4 percent of a huge GDP – which got a lot bigger since I became your president – and Germany, Germany – which is the biggest country of the EU – European Union – Germany pays 1 percent.”

The U.S. contributed 3.6 percent of its GDP to military spending in 2017, while Germany spent 1.2 percent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to increase defense spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024.

Trump has frequently criticized the amount member nations commit to the military alliance. “NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” he said in May 2017.

Members are supposed to contribute at least 2 percent of GDP towards defense, but as of 2017, only four countries in the EU did so – Poland, Estonia, Greece and the U.K.

The U.S. share has actually fallen in recent years. It stood at 5.3 percent of GDP in 2009, fell through 2015 and has since leveled off.

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David Sivak

Fact Check Editor
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