During Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate, front-runner Donald Trump rattled off many of his signature talking points — including building a wall with a “big, fat beautiful door” along the U.S. border with Mexico, criticizing the media and moderators, and touting his ability to make stellar business deals.
But overshadowing much of his rhetoric were questions about the accuracy of several of his statements, including on the financing of his campaign, whether or not he criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, an argument that gun-free zones attract mass shootings and more.
Here’s a closer look at what Trump said, and just how misleading he was.
The claim: “I am the only person in either campaign that’s self-funding. I’m putting up 100% of my own money.”
Is it true? Nope.
Here’s why: According to the latest federal filing, Trump’s campaign has raised $5.8 million. However, the bulk of that sum — 67%, or $3.9 million — has come from approximately 75,000 individual contributions. Meanwhile, Trump has poured $1.9 million of his own money into his campaign, which represents about 33% of that total haul.
The claim: “I was not at all critical” of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Is it true? Nope.
Here’s why: During the debate, Trump denied criticizing both Zuckerberg and Sen. Marco Rubio over the H-1B visa program to allow skilled foreign workers to stay in the U.S. But there was a big problem with the Republican’s assertion — he skewered Zuckerberg on his own campaign website. “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities,” says a statement on DonaldJTrump.com.
The claim: Gun-free zones are “target practice for the sickos.”
Is it true? Not really.
Here’s why: There’s little evidence to support the claim. A recent Mother Jones analysis that looked at 62 mass shootings over three decades said “not a single case includes evidence that the killer chose to target a place because it banned guns.” The Washington Post points to a 2014 FBI study of 160 active shooter incidents over 13 years indicating shooters had a specific connection to where the violence occurred, like a school or office, versus going to a location because it’s a gun-free zone.
The claim: “I never filed for bankruptcy.”
Is it true? Technically, yes.
The backstory: As NBC News points out, Trump has never personally filed for bankruptcy. But it’s a little misleading, as four of his businesses have. That includes the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992, Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts in 2004 and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009.