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Here are 7 of Trump’s most outrageous lies and distortions during the State of the Union

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- Commentary

President Donald Trump spoke from prepared remarks Tuesday night as he delivered the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

As Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale has noted, Trump’s on-script speeches tend to be much more accurate than his off-the-cuff rally tirades, which are filled to the brim with lies and distortions. When he speaks from a teleprompter, his staff produce formalized comments that sometimes withstand fact-checking scrutiny better than his usual claims.

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But he still made many specific, demonstrably false claims. The greatest lie, though, was the basic premise of his speech: a supposed call for unity. Instead of a unifying rallying cry, it was filled with much of his typical divisive attacks and vicious fearmongering, particularly about immigrants.

Here are seven of his other false claims and distortions Tuesday night:

1. “After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day.”

The implication here that Trump’s presidency oversaw a huge resurgence in the military and the economy is just flat-out false. The United States’ military has been the world’s biggest (and most wildly expensive) for generations long before Trump came around. And while the economy has continued to grow under this president, it has essentially carried on the trajectory it started under President Barack Obama.

2.  Trump claimed that the United States’ economy is the “hottest economy anywhere in the world.” 

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While “hottest” is a vague term, many economies are in fact growing much faster than the United States’. The New York Times explained:

The American economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018, the most recent available data. Growth in Latvia and Poland was almost twice as fast. Same for China and India. Even the troubled Greek economy posted stronger growth. And a wide range of economic analysts estimate that the growth of the American economy slowed in the fourth quarter, and slowed even further in the first month of 2019.

3. He said that under his administration, the country has “added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs.”

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This is false, as Dale explained:

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4. Under his administration, Trump said, the economy added 5.3 million jobs. 

In fact, the economy has added 4.9 million jobs in the past two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5. Trump said there is an “urgent national crisis” of illegal crossings at the border.

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Under Trump, border crossings have actually been at record lows for recent decades. He used to boast about this fact until he realized he needed to drum up a rationalization for his border wall.

The New York Times reported:

While that is an uptick from the monthly average in the fiscal year that ended in September 2017, the numbers pale in comparison to early 2000s, when border arrests averaged about 100,000 per month.

A record number of families have tried to cross the border in recent months, overwhelming officials at the border and creating a new kind of humanitarian crisis.

6. Trump falsely said that, after having an extremely high crime rate, El Paso became “one of the safest cities” because of a border wall.

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Trump has said this many times before, and it is absolutely false.

“That is a straight-up lie about El Paso, which was one of America’s safest large cities for violent crime before the fencing was erected and did not immediately see crime fall after the fence was built,” said Dale.

7. “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.”

This was a brazen obfuscation of his own views. Trump has previously promoted the RAISE Act, which would cut legal immigration rates in half. He has also railed against so-called “chain migration” — immigration based on family ties — and the visa lottery, and he has fought to reduce both.

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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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