what was said
“But I will tell you, the secretary general, Stoltenberg, is Trump’s biggest fan. He says, ‘Those NATO nations are going like this: less money, less money. Why not? And when you started talking, it went like a rocket ship.’”
— President Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Great Falls, Mont., on Thursday
This is exaggerated.
It’s unclear what Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, has said to Mr. Trump. But the notion that Mr. Trump single-handedly and drastically reversed military spending by members is inaccurate.
As The New York Times has previously explained, each of NATO’s 29 members has pledged to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on its own defense each year. Just four countries — the United States, Britain, Greece and Estonia — met that goal in 2017, according to NATO. (Poland reached 1.99 percent.)
Average spending by members other than the United States has generally been declining since the end of the Cold War, dipping to 1.4 percent of G.D.P. in 2014 and 2015 before increasing to 1.42 percent in 2016 and 1.45 percent in 2017.
So NATO members began to spend more on their militaries before Mr. Trump took office. It’s possible that Mr. Trump’s dedication to the issue has spurred NATO members to continue to do so, but they are also motivated by Russia’s aggressive actions, experts have previously told The Times.
what was said
“They make the sources up. They don’t exist in many cases. Any time you say — you know, I saw one of them said ‘15 anonymous sources’ — I don’t have 15 people in the White — I mean, forget it.”
As he accused news outlets of quoting nonexistent sources, Mr. Trump cut himself off before he could finish his incorrect claim that the White House employs fewer than 15 people.
The “White House” can broadly refer to the Executive Office of the President, which includes the Office of Management and Budget, the National Security Council, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of the United States Trade Representative, among other domestic policy arms and support staff. Mr. Trump’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year estimated that more than 1,800 full-time employees work for these offices.
The term can also refer specifically to the White House Office, which is one of the oldest sub-agencies of the executive office and where many of the president’s personal aides work. It alone employs 374 people, according to its latest report to Congress on salaries, which was dated June 29.
what was said
“Since the election, we have lifted three million people off of food stamps.”
This requires context.
Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program did decline to 40.1 million people in March 2018 from 43.2 million in November 2016, according to the most recent data from the Agriculture Department.
Mr. Trump, of course, was not yet president in November 2016. From February 2017, his first full month in office, to this March, nearly 2.2 million fewer people participated in SNAP.
It’s also worth noting that participation has been declining in recent years as the economy improves from the financial recession. For example, in the year before Mr. Trump became president, SNAP enrollment declined by more than 2.4 million from December 2015 to January 2017.
Mr. Trump also repeated more than a dozen false or misleading claims that The Times has previously debunked:
Sources: NATO, the White House, the president’s budget for FY2019, the Agriculture Department, The New York Times