WASHINGTON, June 5, 2019 — President Trump on Wednesday finished up a two-day visit to the United Kingdom, during which he made a number of false or misleading statements. We separate the truth from the lies below.
Denying the existence of London protests
During a Tuesday press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump was asked to respond to the highly visible protests against him during his visit to London, including thousands of demonstrators and the “Baby Trump” balloon which debuted during last year’s presidential trip to the UK.
Although Trump spent most of his trip moving from event to event via helicopter, he claimed that throngs of Londoners had taken to the streets in celebration of him and his presidency.
“As far as the protests, I have to tell you, because I commented on it yesterday: We left the Prime Minister, the Queen, the Royal Family — there were thousands of people on the streets cheering. And even coming over today, there were thousands of people cheering. And then I heard that there were protests. I said, “Where are the protests? I don’t see any protests.”
In actuality, protest organizers estimated that a crowd of 75,000 people had turned out to march against Trump’s visit to the UK.
Falsely claiming to have the highest-ever approval rating among GOP voters
During the same press conference with Prime Minister May, Trump was asked if he thought Republicans in Congress would take any action to block his plans to impose a five percent tax on all Mexican imports next week.
Trump replied that he did not think Congressional Republicans would do anything to stop him, in part because of his approval rating among Republican voters.
“I have a 90 percent — 94 percent approval rating, as of this morning, in the Republican Party. That’s an all-time record.”
While polling by Gallup has shown Trump to have a 90 percent approval rating among Republicans in the past, his approval rating slipped by a percentage point last month to 89 percent.
That 90 percent approval rating does not even place him among the top three highest approval ratings for Republican presidents among Republican voters. At the height of his popularity, George W. Bush could boast of a 99 percent approval rating among Republicans. His father, George H.W. Bush, once had the favor of 97 percent of GOP voters, and his predecessor — Ronald Reagan — had a peak approval rating of 93 percent.
Trump’s is the 6th highest-rated Republican president among Republicans, as he is also topped by Presidents Dwight Eisenhower (95 percent) and Richard Nixon (91 percent).
Confusing the United Kingdom with China
During a Tuesday roundtable with British officials and business leaders, Trump claimed that the United Kingdom is the United States largest trading partner.
“We are your largest partner. You’re our largest partner. A lot of people don’t know that.”
The reason “a lot of people” don’t know that the UK is the United States’ largest trading partner is because it’s not true.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis found that America’s largest trading partner in 2017 was China, with $711.7 billion in total goods and services passing between the two countries. Canada is next, with $679.9 billion of goods and services exchanged, followed by Mexico ($622.1 billion), Japan ($286.1 billion), and Germany ($239.8 billion).
Claiming that Winston Churchill never worried about nuclear weapons
During a televised interview with British journalist Piers Morgan, Trump invoked the threat of nuclear weapons when Morgan asked him to compare himself with Winston Churchill.
“Churchill didn’t have to worry so much about the nuclear.”
During World War II, nuclear weapons were a significant enough concern for both Churchill and then-President Franklin Roosevelt that Roosevelt gave the Manhattan Project — the top-secret effort to construct the world’s first nuclear weapons — top priority throughout the war. The project began after Albert Einstein wrote a letter Roosevelt, warning him that German scientists could potentially build a weapon to unleash the terrible destruction that would result from splitting uranium atoms.
According to the Atomic Heritage Foundation, both leaders had ample reason to worry, as Nazi scientists began work towards the construction of atomic weapons in 1939. Though their project was not successful, they nevertheless held a considerable lead when America began the Manhattan Project.
Denying that anyone had told the Navy to hide the U.S.S. John S. McCain
During the same interview, Trump denied that White House staffers had told the Navy to keep the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer U.S.S. John McCain out of sight during his recent trip to Japan.
“I’m not even sure it happened.”
Trump may not be sure that it happened, but the United States Navy recently confirmed to NBC News that the White House Military Office requested that the ship, which was originally named for the late Senator’s father and grandfather, be kept from view while the President delivered a Memorial Day address aboard the U.S.S. Wasp, which was moored nearby.
Calling Ireland part of the United Kingdom
Trump was set to visit France on Wednesday for an event marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the allied invasion of France that led to the Nazis’ defeat in World War II. But he first made an overnight stop in Ireland, where he owns a golf resort.
To avoid the appearance of making a stop on an international trip solely for the purpose of playing golf, Trump arranged a meeting with Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar at the Shannon airport. During a media availability with Varadkar, Trump was asked if he’d visited to promote his Doonbeg, Ireland golf resort.
“This trip is really about the great relationships that we have with the UK.”
Doonbeg is located in the Republic of Ireland, which has been a sovereign nation since 1921.