GREENVILLE, N.C. — A big chunk of President Trump's rally in Greenville Wednesday night focused on his accomplishments in the first term. As with any politician, 2 Wants To Know wanted to fact check those claims before passing them on to you.
One of the accomplishments President Donald Trump focused on in his North Carolina speech was about his work to stop human trafficking. That's a problem North Carolina sees first hand with 221 reported cases to the national human trafficking hotline in one year.
"I proudly signed four bipartisan human trafficking laws, securing $400 million to support victims of human trafficking," President Trump said.
According to a 2 Wants To Know search of government records using Gov Track, the president has actually signed into law 20 bills which dealt with human trafficking not just four. The acts do things like establish an advisory committee at the Department of Transportation to figure out how to stop traffickers from moving girls on our highways, threating countries with high rates of human trafficking with sanctions and increasing direct services for child victims.
Some human trafficking survivor advocates have called out the President with headlines such as "How Trump Is Destroying Protections for Victims of Human Trafficking." Writing that: "piece by piece, the Trump administration is eroding and undermining" work done in the past 20 years such as slowing the visa process for victims.
That said, the president's claims in North Carolina about his work on human trafficking are true.
The president listed several accomplishments from his first term including one that got a really big reaction from the crowd.
“We have secured record funding for our military. We want to cut budgets, but this is beyond budgets," he said.
This is a claim the president has made in several speeches, and USA Today fact checkers have called it an "exaggeration."
To figure out why, I dug through budget spreadsheets provided by the White House. The total budget authority for national defense goes up to $789 billion by 2023 which is the largest amount of money ever. The next closest was back during the height of the Afghan war with $721 billion. But, and here's the big but, that changes if you factor in inflation. With inflation 2010's budget would be worth $846 billion today. That's more than President Trump secured for military spending right now.
Okay maybe President Trump meant the most military funding ever when you look at the percentage to our gross domestic product, GDP. But check this out: Defense Department records show military spending in 2019 is 3.2 percent of the GDP. The peak spending was back during World War 2 with 35.5 percent.
"President Donald Trump delivered 6 million new jobs since election day and more Americans are working today than ever before in our nation's history," Vice-President Mike Pence said in North Carolina.
His statement is true.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics on election day in November 2016, there were 145 million jobs in America. The most recent stats show there are now 151 million. There's the 6 million jobs.
It's worth taking a step back and noting that's also the same amount of jobs that were added in the same time frame under President Barack Obama before the election. Some economists argue this is a normal rate of growth because we add more jobs as the country's population gets bigger.
That's why it's also interesting to look at the unemployment rate.
At the 2016 election 4.6 percent of the labor force was unemployed.
Today it's down to 3.7.
One more number to take away: the average worker is making $276 more per month now, which is slightly above the rate of inflation.