Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head in a debate Monday night that highlighted the hot-button issues of the campaign — Trump’s tax returns, police policy and taxing the wealthy — rather than delve into deeper details about economic plans.
But the candidates still clashed on nearly every issue, from trade to race to their own personal pasts. Both made broad and questionable statements, which our fact checkers either verified or disproved. Here are the most important ones.
The candidates clash on economic policy, especially when it comes to taxes.
Trump plans to cut taxes in order to create jobs. Essentially, he would return to trickle-down economics, which he claims would also help bring back U.S. money being held overseas:
“Under my plan, I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan.”
Trump also said:
“And when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies, and when they’re going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas … It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester.”
Clinton’s plans for making college debt-free and creating paid family leave include increasing taxes on the wealthy:
“We’re going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes.”
She also said her plan would create 10 million new jobs while Trump’s would increase the debt by more than $5 trillion and cause 3.5 million jobs to be lost — Trump promised 25 million new jobs.
How many jobs either plan would actually create is up for debate. The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation said Trump’s tax plan alone could create over 2.1 million jobs over the next decade, while Clinton’s tax plan alone would lose 311,000. It didn’t account for the effects of added debt, though, so it’s hard to consider it accurate.
Respected economist and Clinton supporter Mark Zandi said Trump’s entire economic plan would lose 3.5 million jobs over four years, while Clinton’s plan would create 3.2 additional jobs in the same time frame. (The economy is already expected to add 7.2 million jobs if no new plan were passed at all.)
Clinton claimed that “independent experts” have deemed her proposed tax policies to be better than Trump’s.
This is semi-true. Zandi did issue a report that made some, but not all, of these claims. But Zandi also saw flaws in Clinton’s plan — mainly the struggles she would face trying to get her plan through Congress.
Zandi is a registered Democrat, but he previously worked for Sen. John McCain’s campaign in 2008 — he insists he’s impartial. One critic said Zandi’s model greatly underestimates the positive effects of tax cuts on the economy. Take it all with a grain of salt.
However, according to groups like Citizens for Tax Justice and the Social Science Research Network, Clinton’s claims on what Trump’s plans would cost the country were true.
Trump called for a return to Stop and Frisk.
What he said:
“In New York City, stop-and-frisk, we had 2,200 murders, and stop-and-frisk brought it down to 500 murders. Five hundred murders is a lot of murders. It’s hard to believe, 500 is like supposed to be good?”
The successes and failures of Stop and Frisk policies were detailed in a 2014 study conducted by the New York Civil Liberties Union. According to the report, the number of stops rose drastically between 2002 and 2011 while the number of guns recovered, shooting victims and murders remained relatively stable. But the number of murders did fall when the number of stops dropped between 2012 and 2013. This indicates that the statements made by Trump were false — although he was correct in stating that murder rates did increase in some major cities in early 2015.
Trump raised questions about Clinton’s view of African-Americans.
Specifically, he brought up a past statement he said was made by Clinton:
“I do want to bring up the fact that you were the one that brought up the words ‘super-predator’ about young black youth.”
Clinton did use this phrase in a 1996 speech made in support off the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. She used the term “super-predator” in reference to gangs of kids, not specifically to African-Americans. But the overall context of the speech caused many to draw the same conclusion as Trump.
Clinton favors community policing.
What she said:
“Now, I believe in community policing. And, in fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.”
These statements are true. Furthermore, there is some evidence that community policing is effective.
Clinton praised NAFTA, while Trump denounced it.
Clinton said that the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, increased incomes “for everybody.”
Trump, on the other hand, claimed the opposite:
“Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry… You go to New England, you go to Ohio, Pennsylvania, you go anywhere you want, Secretary Clinton, and you will see devastation where manufacture is down 30, 40, sometimes 50 percent.”
NAFTA is a 1994 trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that eliminated tariffs between the countries. It has been and continues to be a source of controversy, with critics claiming it would cause job loss and proponents arguing it would lead to broad economic gains. But according to a study conducted by Cornell University, the effect on the U.S. economy has been minimal.
Neither candidate painted the full picture when it came to NAFTA, but their claims were not inaccurate. According to Neil Irwin, a fact-checker for the New York Times, states like Ohio and Michigan have faced manufacturing job losses, but have recently gained many jobs back. There is therefore evidence for both arguments.
Trump brought up Clinton’s shifting stance on the TPP.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a proposed free trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim Countries. President Obama aims to pass the TPP before he leaves office, but has to overcome the controversy that surrounds it. Supporters say it will be economically beneficial for all countries involved, while opponents argue that it will encourage the exporting of manufacturing jobs from the US.
Trump was correct in stating that Clinton made a sudden shift in her views of the TPP. She praised it many times in the past before switching her views once the deal was fully negotiated.
Trump said he never supported the War in Iraq; Clinton said he did.
This is sort of true. Trump said in various interviews, such as one in 2002 with Howard Stern and another in 2003 with Fox News that he was in support of the War in Iraq. He did not oppose the war until after the U.S. had already invaded.
Trump spoke briefly about immigration.
What he said:
“The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.”
This is true, though it did not occur “the other day.” This September, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report stating that at least 858 individuals ordered to be deported were accidentally given citizenship. Trump was not correct in stating that number of citizens naturalized by mistake may be over a thousand.
Clinton questioned why Trump has not released his tax returns.
Clinton said that Trump is not releasing the tax returns because he is trying to hide something — Clinton said that this may be that he is not as rich or charitable as he says he is, or that he “owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks.”
Clinton also said that Trump will not release his tax returns because he has not been paying federal taxes:
“Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”
Trump’s businesses do in fact owe money, though the specific amount is hard to pin down. It is possible that Trump has not been paying federal taxes, but this statement must be taken as speculation since Trump has yet to release his tax returns.
Clinton said that Trump did no always pay workers.
Clinton said that Trump failed to pay for contracted work:
“And, indeed, I have met a lot of the people who were stiffed by you and your businesses, Donald. I’ve met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers, like my dad was, who you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do.”
This is true, according to a USA Today investigation. Hundreds have claimed that Trump did not pay them fairly for their work, resulting in at least 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 and 60 lawsuits. Many of these workers were carpenters, painters, dishwashers and even lawyers.
Trump said that Clinton’s “people” created a bias against Bernie Sanders in the DNC.
In July, emails which demonstrated a pro-Clinton bias in the DNC were leaked and revealed by Wikileaks. However, there has been no connection made between these emails and the Clinton campaign.
Clinton said that Trump “thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.”
Trump did in fact state this in a 2012 tweet.
Clinton sees opportunities for job growth through investments in clean energy.
What she had to say:
“We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs; that’s a lot of new economic activity.”
There is evidence supporting the statements made by Clinton. In May, Bloomberg reported that clean-energy jobs surpassed those in oil drilling, and that job growth in the U.S. solar business was 12 times faster than overall job creation.
Trump claimed that Patti Doyle, Clinton’s campaign manager, was one of the first to raise questions about Obama’s citizenship.
There is no connection between the birther movement and Hillary Clinton.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Editor Emily McPeak at firstname.lastname@example.org.