Britain’s politicians were reeling from new comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump as he traveled to the U.K. for his first visit to the country as commander in chief.
The president touched on a range of topics and undermined Prime Minister Theresa May’s stance on Brexit and her shaky position as prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party. Trump also took an opportunity to criticize Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Britain’s immigration policy.
How much of what the president said is true? Newsweek fact-checked some of the more controversial claims Trump made to The Sun.
On Prime Minister Theresa May and Brexit: “The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum.”
The voting slips for the referendum asked voters whether the U.K. should “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union.” There was no other information, and the lack of a clear plan for departure is one of the main problems in the ongoing Brexit debate.
On Khan: The mayor has “done a very bad job on terrorism.”
It seems the president based his opinion on the terror attacks that have taken place during Khan’s tenure, which total four incidents killing 14 people. Two of the attacks were carried out by Islamists, and two by right-wing extremists. Though 2017 saw a spike in attacks, London—and the U.K., more broadly—is experiencing historic lows of terrorist incidents.
On his popularity in Britain: “The people of the U.K. agree with me…Many people are delighted” with his visit.
Though one pub in west London is changing its name to “The Trump Arms” for his visit—a homage the president described in the interview as “wonderful”—it would appear it is actually a publicity stunt backed by Brexit-supporting think tanks and far-right activists.
On his popularity at home: “I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party—92 percent. Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe.”
George W. Bush had a Republican Party approval rating of 99 percent in October 2001. Such opinion polls only began in 1945, meaning Abraham Lincoln had already been dead for 80 years. Yesterday, Trump claimed that he was the first Republican president to win the state of Wisconsin, alleging that Ronald Reagan did not in 1984. That is also not true.
On NATO military spending targets: “Two percent isn’t enough. The US pays 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP.”
According to NATO figures, the U.S. is currently spending 3.5 percent of GDP on its military. Trump would have to up his own commitments to meet a 4 percent target.