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2073d ago / 2:20 AM UTC

Fact check: Trump touts GOP tax cuts as 'biggest' in U.S. history

“Just as I promised the American People from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history,” Trump said.

This claim is false. The GOP tax bill, passed in December, does not amount to the "biggest" in U.S. history, according to the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. According to their estimates, Trump's tax cut is the eighth biggest in history.

As for the reform aspect: "It’s hard to mathematically measure how reform-y your tax plan is," said Kyle Pomerleau, the director of federal projects at The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy think tank. Still, Ronald Reagan's 1986 reform simplified the tax code in a big way and was probably more "reformish," Pomerleau told NBC News.

2073d ago / 6:13 AM UTC

That's a wrap. ICYMI, here are the highlights from Tuesday's State of the Union

Thanks so much for joining us tonight for our coverage of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

If you’re just catching up to it this morning, here's what you missed…


2073d ago / 6:05 AM UTC

News analysis: Trump talks unity, sows division in address

President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address was billed by the White House beforehand as a speech that would be "unifying" and "bipartisan."

It was neither.

A relatively sedate Trump poked seated and silent Democrats in the House chamber — and their constituents — with partisan jabs on Obamacare, immigration, gun rights, respect for the American flag and other issues that have generated fierce friction since he took office.


2073d ago / 5:49 AM UTC

Bernie Sanders has thoughts about Trump's speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., blasted the president as "compulsively dishonest" and a "bully" during his rebuttal to Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

In his response, which was separate from the official Democratic rebuttal to Trump, Sanders also slammed the president as someone "who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation."

The Vermont senator also hit Trump for barely mentioning Russia in his speech.

"How can he not talk about the reality that Russia, through cyberwarfare, interfered in our election in 2016, is interfering in democratic elections all over the world, and according to his own CIA director will likely interfere in the 2018 midterm elections that we will be holding?" Sanders said. "How do you not talk about that unless you have a very special relationship with Mr. Putin?"

2073d ago / 5:41 AM UTC

Trump overheard saying he will release Nunes memo

As he exited the House Chamber Tuesday night, President Donald Trump seemed to guarantee a Republican congressman that he would release a classified memo believed to show the FBI abused its surveillance program.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., who waited hours to guarantee an aisle seat that would allow him to greet the president, can clearly be heard telling Trump to “release the memo.” The memo was produced by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes. 

“Don’t worry. One hundred percent,” Trump can be heard saying.

However, earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “there are no current plans to release the House Intelligence Committee’s memo." She added, "The president has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents.”

2073d ago / 5:16 AM UTC

Most used words in State of the Union? Immigration, terror, North Korea


While Trump's speech was the third-longest in modern history, he returned to specific words and themes repeatedly. Here are some of his most frequently mentioned words:

Build/building: 14

Immigration/immigrant/s: 11

Terror/terrorism/terrorist: 9

Free/freedom: 9 

Tax cut/reform: 7

North Korea: 7

Jobs: 6


Gang/s: 5

Criminals: 4

MS-13: 4

Trade: 4

Similarly, there were some words and themes that Trump's mentioned only sparingly, despite their having made headlines throughout his first year in office...

Obamacare: 1

Russia: 1 (but only in the context of “rivals” like China)

Syria: 1

Iraq: 1


Debt: 0

Deficit: 1 (but only in the context of what he called the “infrastructure deficit”)

Spending: 0 (in the context of government spending) 

2073d ago / 4:51 AM UTC

Partisan reactions pour in after speech

Initial reactions to the president's speech were predictably partisan, with Democrats largely focusing on the uncertain path ahead for immigration reform and Republicans latching on to Trump's uncharacteristically serious and presidential tone. 

2073d ago / 4:48 AM UTC

Fact check: Trump gets black unemployment rate right, but claims undue credit

“Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. And something I’m very proud of — African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded,” Trump said. 

Trump’s got his numbers right — unemployment overall is at a 45-year low and black unemployment did reach a new low this year — but he’s taking credit for an awful lot of gains that occurred before his administration.

President Barack Obama cut black unemployment in half, from 16.8 percent to 7.8 percent during his administration. Under Trump’s administration thus far, the black unemployment rate has fallen just one point, from 7.8 percent to 6.8 percent.

2073d ago / 4:36 AM UTC

Fact check: Has the U.S. released terrorists only to meet them later on the battlefield?

"In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi," Trump said, before announcing an order directing that the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay be kept open.

Trump is correct, though the trend fell dramatically under former President Barack Obama. However, his claim that the U.S. released the man who would become the leader of ISIS is somewhat misleading. The man known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was released into Iraqi custody in 2004 — not set free by the U.S.

According to a March 2017 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 121 former detainees of the U.S. detention facility in Cuba were confirmed to have returned to terrorist activities. Another 87 were suspected of reengaging with terrorist activities, the report showed.

Of the 121 who were confirmed to have returned to terrorism, 113 would have been released during the George W. Bush presidency. Of the 87 suspected of reengaging with terrorism, 74 would have been released during the George W. Bush presidency.

2073d ago / 4:35 AM UTC

In rebuttal to Trump, Kennedy stands up for Dreamers

The official Democratic rebuttal to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address — delivered by Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass. — focused heavily on his party's support for gaining citizenship for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. 

At point point in his speech, Kennedy addressed those Dreamers in both Spanish and English, telling them that, "you are part of our story."

2073d ago / 4:09 AM UTC

Fact check: Trump's right, ISIS did lose almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria

“One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done,” Trump said. 

This is true. By early December, the Pentagon said 97 percent of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria had been liberated. Now, analysts tell NBC News, the threat the U.S. must fight is dangerous lone wolf attacks and resurgences of the extremist group if forces do not continue to stamp it out. 

2073d ago / 4:09 AM UTC

Trump's State of the Union clocked in as third-longest in modern history

Trump’s first State of the Union address clocked in at 80 minutes, making it the third-longest in modern American history, according to the American Presidency Project.  

So who has him beat? Bill Clinton. Twice. His 1995 address was almost 85 minutes long, and his final address in 2000 lasted nearly 89 minutes.