Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump keeps taking shots at former President Barack Obama.
Source:Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT) June 17, 2020
1) Obama didn’t try on police reform
Trump touted his own efforts to address policing problems, then said, “President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period. The reason they didn’t try is because they had no idea how to do it.”
Facts First: Obama and his administration took multiple significant steps to try to improve policing. Trump’s claim is “absolutely wrong,” Samuel Walker, an expert on policing policy and a professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said Tuesday.
Obama’s Department of Justice initiated “pattern-or-practice” investigations into troubled police departments and secured court-enforceable consent decrees or other agreements in which cities including Baltimore, Cleveland, Portland and Miami formally agreed to make changes.
In the last month of Obama’s presidency, the Department of Justice reported that “since 2009, the Civil Rights Division has opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies and is currently enforcing 19 agreements, including 14 consent decrees and one post-judgment order.”
In 2014, after the unrest that followed the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Obama launched the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which in 2015 put forward dozens of recommendations for improvement. The administration provided grants to some departments that were implementing the recommendations.
In 2015, following criticism of the police use of military equipment during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Obama placed new conditions on, though did not stop, the transfer of surplus military supplies to police. He also in 2015 secured federal funding for some police departments to buy body cameras. The same year, he launched an initiative to encourage police officers to make more data publicly available, including data on the use of force.
The Trump administration has curtailed the use of pattern-or-practice probes and consent decrees and lifted Obama’s restrictions on the transfer of military equipment.
2) Obama didn’t try on criminal justice reform
Trump claimed: “I did Criminal Justice Reform, something Obama & Biden didn’t even try to do – & couldn’t do even if they did try.”
Facts First: The Obama administration did try to get a criminal justice reform bill passed; a bipartisan bill failed in the Senate during the 2016 presidential election, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided not to bring it up for a vote.
The Obama administration nonetheless took its own reform steps that did not require Republican approval, such as banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, working with state and local governments to reduce pre-trial incarceration and the incarceration of people with mental illnesses, and instructing federal prosecutors to try to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent drug offenders.
3) Obama didn’t start the effort to end HIV/AIDS
Trump claimed that the Obama administration “should have started” the effort to eradicate HIV/AIDS in the US, but “they did nothing.”
Facts First: The Obama administration spent billions on anti-HIV/AIDS efforts, both domestically and globally.
4) Trump was the one who got Veterans Choice passed
Trump claimed that “I got Choice” for veterans after others had tried “for 50 years” to create this health care program.
Facts First: Obama signed the Veterans Choice bill into law in 2014; it was a bipartisan initiative led by Sen. Bernie Sanders and the late Sen. John McCain. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the Choice program.
This is one of Trump’s most-repeated false claims. By our count, he made it 59 times between June 8, 2019 and June 7, 2020 alone.
5) The Obama administration left Trump faulty coronavirus tests
Trump claimed that the Obama administration left him “broken” coronavirus tests.
Facts First: The faulty initial test for the coronavirus was created during Trump’s administration, in early 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since this is a new virus that was first identified during Trump’s presidency, tests couldn’t possibly have been inherited as “broken” or “obsolete.”
You can read a longer fact check here.
6) The Obama administration didn’t leave Trump any ventilators
Trump claimed that his administration “inherited nothing” from the Obama administration in terms of medical supplies — and that “when we started, we didn’t have ventilators.”
Facts First: While the exact number of ventilators in the national stockpile at the time of Trump’s inauguration in 2017 is not known, Richard Branson, a professor at the University of Cincinnati’s medical school and editor of the medical journal Respiratory Care, says thousands of ventilators were purchased for the stockpile during the Obama administration and were not used before Trump took office. In addition, journalists personally saw ventilators in the stockpile when they visited facilities in 2016, as FactCheck.org has noted. While the stockpile did have depleted stocks of some supplies like masks, there were significant stores of other items.
7) The Obama administration left the military with no ammunition
Trump claimed that the military had “no ammunition” when he took office.
Facts First: This is a significant exaggeration. According to military leaders, there was a shortfall in certain kinds of munitions, particularly precision-guided bombs, late in the Obama presidency and early in the Trump presidency. But the claim that there was “no ammunition” is not true; military leaders did not say, at least publicly, that they had completely run out of any kind of bomb, let alone ammunition in general.
You can read a full fact check of Trump’s claims about munitions levels here.
8) The Obama administration left NASA dead
Trump said “the space program was over” before he took office and that NASA was dead: “What we’ve done with NASA is amazing. We’ve brought it back from the dead. It was not essentially functioning, and now it’s one of the great centers in the world.”
Facts First: Trump is entitled to criticize Obama’s handling of NASA, but it’s a clear exaggeration to say NASA was “dead” or that the space program was “over.” The launch Trump attended in June, in which NASA astronauts were aboard a private company’s spacecraft, was the product of a commercial crew program created under Obama.
“It is NOT correct that NASA was dead under the Obama administration,” said John Logsdon, the founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, where he is a professor emeritus, and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council; “much was started, like the commercial crew program.”
9) The Obama administration said manufacturing was gone from the US
Trump said: “The previous administration said, ‘Manufacturing, we’re not doing that. It’s gone from this country.’ They were wrong.”
Facts First: The Obama administration never said it was “not doing” manufacturing. Trump appeared to be referring to a remark Obama made at a PBS town hall in 2016 — but he was inaccurately describing what Obama said.
Obama scoffed at Trump’s campaign promises to bring back what Obama called “jobs of the past” without providing specifics on how he would do so. Contrary to Trump’s repeated claim, though, Obama didn’t say manufacturing was dead or gone; Obama boasted of how many manufacturing jobs were being created during his presidency, saying, “We actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today than we’ve had in most of our history.”
10) Obama wiretapped Trump
Trump claimed that his 2017 tweets alleging that Obama had wiretapped him in Trump Tower had been proven correct: “Remember how you thought that was such a terrible tweet, right? I was right.”
Facts First: Trump was not right. There is still no evidence that Trump was wiretapped, let alone that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump. The Justice Department said in a 2017 court filing that there are no records related to wiretaps like the ones Trump described. Then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress in 2017 that “we have no information to support those tweets.”
Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman, was wiretapped before and after the election, CNN has reported, and Manafort had a residence in Trump Tower. But a wiretap of someone living in Trump’s apartment building is not the same as a wiretap of Trump himself.
11) Obamacare ended competition among health insurers
Announcing an effort to lower insulin costs for people enrolled in Medicare, Trump said: “In the past, Obamacare prevented insurance providers from competing to offer lower costs for seniors. There was no competition, there was no anything, and they ran away with what took place, and the seniors were horribly hurt.”
Facts First: It’s not true that there was no price competition among insurers because of Obamacare.
“Obamacare actually didn’t affect competition in the market for prescription drug coverage. There were reductions in the number of drug plans available during the Obama administration in an effort to root out needlessly duplicative plan offerings, but seniors have consistently had dozens of plan options over the years,” said Juliette Cubanski, deputy director of the Medicare policy program at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
12) Obama got poor poll results on his handling of H1N1
Trump suggested that his response to the coronavirus has polled better than Obama’s response to the H1N1 pandemic of 2009: “We are getting great marks for the handling of the CoronaVirus pandemic…Compare that to the Obama/Sleepy Joe disaster known as H1N1 Swine Flu. Poor marks, bad polls – didn’t have a clue!”
Facts First: Contrary to Trump’s strong suggestion here, Obama got higher ratings in polls on his handling of the H1N1 pandemic than Trump has gotten in polls on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of May 10, the date of this Trump tweet, FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of polls found that Trump had a 43.5% approval rating on his handling of the coronavirus. A Gallup poll conducted in April 2009, the month of the first confirmed H1N1 cases in the US, found that 66% approved of how the Obama administration was handling the situation. In a CNN poll conducted in late October and early November 2009, 57% approved of Obama’s handling of the response.