TV news fact-checked: Donald and Ivanka Trump

By Katie Dahl

Our fact-checking partners spent time on the Trumps this week, covering Ivanka Trump’s claim about women in STEM occupations and the President’s claims about James Comey and Michael Flynn, record-setting nominations delays, how long it actually took to build the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge, and his involvement in a new coal mine opening.

Claim: Trump said “let this go” referencing the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn (contradicted by Trump)

In his written testimony submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 7, former FBI director James Comey wrote that President Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

In a PolitiFact article reporting on conflicting claims between Comey and the White House, Lauren Carroll wrote that when asked about this allegation in a May 18 press conference, the President said, “No. No. Next question.”

Claim: Trump nominees faced ‘record-setting long’ delays (true)

In a comment at a cabinet meeting on June 12, President Trump said, “This is our first Cabinet meeting with the entire Cabinet present. The confirmation process has been record-setting long — and I mean record-setting long — with some of the finest people in our country being delayed and delayed and delayed.”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler reported that Trump “faced unusually sustained opposition for a new president, including cloture votes demanded for 14 of his choices,” and gave the President their “Geppetto Checkmark” for correct statements.

Claim: women make up 47% of workforce and just 23% of STEM occupations (mostly true)

In an interview this week, Ivanka Trump said, “Women… represent 47 percent of the overall work force, we only make up 23 percent of STEM-related [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] occupations.”

That is “not far off the mark,” according to PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson. He went on to report, “Trump was correct about the percentage of the overall workforce that is female,” and “The report [2016 National Science Board and the National Science Foundation] found that in 2013, women represented 29 percent of individuals in science and engineering occupations. That’s higher than Trump’s 23 percent, although it supports her broader point — that women are underrepresented in STEM fields.”

Claim: Americans ‘built the Golden Gate Bridge in four years and the Hoover Dam in five’ (misleading)

In his weekly address on June 9, President Trump said, “we are the nation that built the Golden Gate Bridge in four years and the Hoover Dam in five. Now, it takes as much as a decade just to plan a major permit or a major infrastructure or anything even remotely major in our country, and that’s ridiculous and it’s going to change.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave Trump “three Pinocchios” for this claim. She reported for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “Trump describes the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam as projects that were constructed over four or five years, unbound by the years of permitting and regulatory restrictions that current-day projects face. But Trump only focuses on the literal construction of the projects, and overlooks the many years of bureaucratic negotiating and regulating that took place leading up to the construction.”

Claim: Trump is putting miners back to work with the opening of a new coal mine (hard to believe)

In a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 7, President Trump said, “Next week we’re opening a big coal mine. You know about that. One in Pennsylvania. It’s actually a new mine. That hadn’t happened in a long time, folks. But we’re putting the people and we’re putting the miners back to work.”

“Trump did not name the Pennsylvania mine,” reported Robert Farley for FactCheck.org, “and the White House did not respond to us. But these kinds of events are rare enough that it is clear he is referring to the June 8 grand opening of the Corsa Coal Company’s Acosta Deep Mine more than 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

What did Trump’s presidency have to do with its opening? Nothing. Development of the Acosta mine began in September, two months before the presidential election.”

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