Fact check: Trump lies about CNN at Mississippi rally

President Donald Trump touted several false claims during a GOP rally in Mississippi, including an attack on the media before insisting CNN turned off the live feed. CNN's Daniel Dale fact-checks the President's false claims.

Posted: Nov 3, 2019 5:00 AM
Updated: Nov 3, 2019 5:00 AM

President Donald Trump stood before thousands of supporters in Mississippi on Friday night, squinted and pointed, and told them he was seeing something that was not actually happening.

Trump criticized CNN at length at his campaign rally in Tupelo. Then he gestured toward the back of BancorpSouth Arena and informed the crowd that he had just seen the light on CNN's camera go out.

"Their light just went off. See? Look. Their light was on -- they just turned it off," he said.

When the light is on, he explained, "that means you're live." CNN had stopped broadcasting live, he said, because it didn't want to air his scathing criticism.

He made up this whole story.

Facts First: CNN was never broadcasting the rally live. CNN was not providing the live "pool" feed to other television networks. CNN's photojournalist on the scene did not stop recording at any point in the speech. And the light on his camera is set so that it does not go on and off at all. CNN.com streamed the live rally online.

Trump did not make an innocent mistake: this is at least the eighth time as President he has made a baseless claim about the lights on television cameras being turned off as he has criticized the media. We think it's especially egregious: it's the President looking at his devotees and deceiving them about something happening in that very room.

Trump made more false claims at the rally. Among others:

Veterans Choice

Trump claimed he was the one who got the Veterans Choice health care program passed.

Facts First: President Barack Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014; in 2018, Trump signed another bill, the VA MISSION Act, that expanded and modified the Choice program.

Pre-existing conditions

Trump claimed he would "always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, always."

Facts First: We usually don't fact-check promises, but this one has already proved untrue. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions; Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void, and he has not issued a plan to reinstate the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the suit succeeds.

Unemployment

Trump claimed the unemployment rate is the lowest in "over 51 years."

Facts First: This is his usual slight exaggeration of an already-impressive number. The 3.6% unemployment rate for October is the lowest in just under 50 years (if you ignore the fact that it was slightly lower, 3.5%, in September).

Mississippi unemployment

Trump claimed "unemployment in Mississippi has reached the lowest rate ever recorded. Ever recorded."

Facts First: This was true last year and early this year, but it is not true now. Mississippi's unemployment rate went as low as 4.7% last fall, which was indeed a record, but it has since increased to 5.4% -- higher than it was during portions of 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the same as it was during portions of 1979. The official White House Twitter account offered a correct version of the claim, saying the state's unemployment rate "hit its lowest level EVER last year!"

Michelle Obama

Trump claimed that first lady Michelle Obama, along with President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, had campaigned for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in Georgia in 2018.

Facts First: Michelle Obama did not campaign for Abrams at all, though Barack Obama and Winfrey did.

Tariffs on Chinese products

Trump claimed that the tariff revenue being allocated to farmers who have been affected by his trade war with China is coming "compliments of China."

Facts First: A bevy of economic studies have found that Americans are bearing the overwhelming majority of the tariff costs, and Americans make the actual tariff payments.

Economic relations with China

Boasting about the billions of dollars the US Treasury is receiving because of his tariffs on imported Chinese goods, Trump said the money is coming "from a country that never gave us 10 cents; they only took."

Facts First: Again, these tariffs are paid by Americans. Aside from the question of who is paying, it's not true that the Treasury has never received "10 cents" from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries; the Treasury received $14 billion from tariffs on China in 2014, to look at one pre-Trump year.

Trump's claim also ignores China's hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases of US goods -- more than $300 billion during Trump's presidency alone.

We'll have a comprehensive list of Trump's false claims at the rally for our weekly fact check update on Wednesday.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect that CNN provided a live online stream of the rally, though CNN did not air the rally live on television.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Florence
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Fayetteville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 78°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Scottsboro
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 78°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 43450

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 51316

Reported Deaths: 645
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11793200
Davidson11089122
Rutherford298735
Hamilton278135
Sumner161052
Trousdale14985
Williamson131315
Out of TN11857
Knox11717
Wilson94117
Putnam8837
Robertson83411
Sevier8043
Bradley7073
Lake6920
Tipton6455
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6201
Bedford5705
Montgomery5547
Macon4654
Maury3543
Hardeman3434
Hamblen3404
Fayette3172
Madison2992
Loudon2871
Rhea2860
Dyer2511
McMinn23718
Cheatham2301
Blount2273
Dickson2090
Cumberland1814
Washington1650
Lawrence1636
Lauderdale1453
Anderson1422
Monroe1406
Jefferson1360
Gibson1291
Smith1201
Coffee1190
Sullivan1172
Obion1122
Hardin1087
Greene1032
Cocke940
Haywood922
Marshall911
Franklin873
Wayne860
Hickman800
Warren760
Marion734
McNairy730
White703
DeKalb670
Lincoln640
Weakley641
Grundy621
Overton621
Roane620
Giles601
Carter591
Hawkins572
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll471
Henderson460
Claiborne450
Polk450
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie420
Crockett383
Cannon370
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys281
Jackson270
Morgan271
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Clay170
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events