Elections

Fact-checking Donald Trump at his rally

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens as Treasure Island Casino owner Phil Ruffin, right, speaks at a event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. At left is Ruffin's wife, Oleksandra Nikolayenko.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens as Treasure Island Casino owner Phil Ruffin, right, speaks at a event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. At left is Ruffin's wife, Oleksandra Nikolayenko. ap

Donald Trump skipped the latest Republican debate Thursday night after a dispute with Fox News in favor of his own event – a fundraiser for veterans a few miles away in front of hundreds of people in Des Moines.

Just four days before the Iowa caucuses, Trump spoke about several issues, including veterans, the Iran nuclear deal and immigration.

Two other Republican candidates who did not make the main debate stage, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, made brief appearances.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump skipped the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses on Monday and held his own rally at Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium on Jan. 28, 2016. He claimed that Fox News had called him about joining t

Here’s a look at some of the issues Trump touched on.

Treatment of veterans

Trump said “illegal immigrants are being treated better than our vets.”

That’s mostly false.

The two issues are not really comparable, but deportations of immigrants who are in the United States illegally reached a record high during President Barack Obama’s presidency.

Each year of the Obama administration has seen more deportations than any preceding president, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data. In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security deported 414,481 people.

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to face a host of problems, including a backlog of outstanding claims for benefits, it has made some advances under the Obama administration.

Veteran homelessness has been reduced by approximately a third, and in November, Virginia became the first state to end veteran homelessness statewide. The budget for veteran homelessness has increased from $400 million in 2009 to $1.5 billion in 2014.

The Iran deal

Trump called the nuclear deal with Iran the “worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated” and complained that the Tehran government would “get $150 billion.”

That’s mostly false.

Six world powers, including the United States, reached a historic agreement with Iran that will prevent Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon.

While Iran is still allowed to pursue a nuclear energy and research program, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, is responsible for arranging for and carrying out inspections aimed at determining any “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s past nuclear program.

Iran does gain significantly under the nuclear deal, but the $150 billion figure is the “dollar value of Iran’s foreign assets that the U.S can unfreeze” as part of the pact, according to Politifact.com.

The U.S. trade deficit

Trump said the U.S. trade deficit with China was $500 billion a year.

That’s mostly false.

The U.S. had a $337 billion trade deficit with China in 2015, a slight decline from $343 billion in 2014 and an increase from $318 billion in 2012, according to the U.S. census.

Census figures going back to 1985 have never showed a trade deficit as high as $500 billion.

Trump is a critic of a trade deal that the U.S. has negotiated with 12 Pacific Rim countries. However, that deal does not include China.

Attendance at the fundraiser

Trump said fellow presidential candidates had asked him about attending his fundraiser for veterans Thursday night.

That appears to be false.

The Republican front-runner tweeted earlier Thursday: “Wow, two candidates called last night and said they want to go to my event tonight at Drake University.”

Trump did not name the two candidates but earlier Thursday, it was reported that Republicans Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee would attend.

NPR reported that Santorum said Trump had invited him to attend. Huckabee, who spoke briefly at the fundraiser, thanked Trump for inviting him to attend.

Vera Bergengruen, Kevin G. Hall, Jess Nocera and Curtis Tate contributed to this report.

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