Trump did his first interview with Spanish-language TV — and he told a bunch of lies: report

Trump did his first interview with Spanish-language TV — and he told a bunch of lies: report
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

On Thursday, the Spanish-language network Telemundo (Univision’s main competitor in the United States) aired its first interview with President Donald Trump. Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart conducted the interview in English — Trump doesn’t speak Spanish — and Telemundo posted it on YouTube with Spanish-language subtitles. And when CNN’s Daniel Dale fact-checked the interview, he found some blatant lies and distortions.

Trump told Díaz-Balart that he inherited from President Barack Obama a policy of routinely separating families at the U.S./Mexico border. The president claimed, “When I became president, President Obama had a separation policy. I didn’t have it. He had it. I brought the families together.”

But Dale, in an article for CNN’s website, points out that under Obama, family separations at the U.S./Mexico border “were rare” — and it was Trump who “made them standard.”

Dale notes that that in March 2017, John Kelly (who was serving as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time) told CNN he was implementing a separation program in order to “deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network.” And in April 2018, Dale adds, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned, “If you’re smuggling a child, we’re going to prosecute you — and that child will be separated from you probably.”

Dale stresses that while separations “did sometimes occur under Obama,” they “were non-routine and much less frequent” than under Trump.

During the Telemundo interview, Trump bragged to Díaz-Balart that he enjoyed “50%” approval among “Hispanics.” But Dale found no evidence of a recent poll showing that amount of Hispanic support. Dale noted that while a Marist/NPR/PBS poll from January did show that his support among Latinos had reached 50%, it was nowhere near that high in a Marist/NPR/PBS poll from June — when his Latino support was only 24%. And in a June poll for Politico/Morning Consult, Trump’s approval was 26% among Hispanics, Dale noted.

Dale also offered some figures to disprove Trump’s claim that Hispanics in the U.S. became poorer under Obama’s presidency. Trump told Díaz-Balart, “Hispanics today are — have the average net wealth — the wealthiest they’ve ever been under Trump. Not under Obama. ‘Cause under Obama, they were going the wrong way.”

But Dale points out that according to the 2019 State of Hispanic Wealth Report, Latino median household wealth increased from $13,700 to $20,600 between 2013 and 2016. Dale also cites U.S. Census Bureau data, noting that “in 2017 dollars, mean income for Hispanics increased from $59,818 in 2009, Obama’s first year, to $68,252 in 2016, his last full year.”

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