Fact-checking President Trump's 'Latinos for Trump' roundtable meeting in Phoenix

Posted at 6:47 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 01:23:51-04

PHOENIX — In a roundtable meeting with ‘Latinos for Trump’ in Phoenix, President Trump touted his “unwavering devotion” to the Latino community and tried to draw a distinction between his time in office and the 47 years former Vice President Joe Biden has been in politics.

The President cited tax cuts and reducing or eliminating regulations which have helped small businesses grow and has led to the speed which the economy has bounced back following the worst of the coronavirus shutdown. He accused Joe Biden of betraying the Hispanic-American community, sending jobs to China, raising taxes, making communities less safe, and opposing school choice.

Here’s a look at some of the President’s claims. Prior to the COVID shutdown, Latino unemployment was the lowest ever.

That’s correct. While Latino unemployment had been trending downward prior to Trump becoming President, it reached its lowest levels ever during his administration. During the pandemic, unemployment levels shot up into the double digits in Arizona and across the country. Currently, Hispanic unemployment in Arizona hovers nearly 10 percent. A poll published in August by Latino Decisions on the economic impact COVID-19 had on Hispanic workers and business owners in Arizona, Texas and Florida found between 74 percent and 77 percent of Hispanics in those states suffered pay cuts. Between 44 percent and 47 percent lost their jobs. Finally, between 30 percent and 39 percent closed their businesses as a result of the pandemic.

In July, the President signed the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. It promotes public-private partnerships to improve educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

On School Choice, the President claimed Vice President Biden would eliminate it. That is mostly untrue. The Biden campaign says the former vice president opposes using public money for private K-12 schools. But Mr. Biden does believe that Trump/Education Secretary DeVos wanting to use private school vouchers will destroy public education. Biden is also opposed to for-profit and low-performing charter schools. He believes in holding all charter schools accountable. Biden does not oppose districts letting parents choose to send their children to public magnet schools, high performing charter schools, or traditional public schools.

The President also accused Biden of sending jobs to China. In 2000, when he was a Senator, Joe Biden voted to allow China to join the World Trade Organization. He was not alone. The vote in the Senate was overwhelming and bi-partisan 83-15. Both Arizona Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain voted for the measure. During the Democratic Primary race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said allowing China to join the WTO has cost 3 million American manufacturing jobs.

The President also said Joe Biden would raise taxes. According to Bloomberg News, millionaires could see much bigger tax bills if Biden is elected president in November. But levies on most households below the top income brackets would stay about the same as under President Donald Trump.

Biden’s tax proposals would have the top 0.1 percent of earners -- those currently making about $3.3 million or more annually -- paying a 43 percent rate on their income, according to the Penn Wharton Budget Model. That top group pays a rate of about 30.6 percent under Trump’s 2017 tax law, according to the report, which accounts for income, payroll, and corporate duties.

Near the end of the event, President Trump said the US is “back to business.” Some economic indicators have improved since the start of the pandemic. Arguably the most prominent indicator, the DOW industrial average, has increased 50 percent since its pandemic low of 18,591 on March 23. The US unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent, marking four months of decline since its high of 14.7 percent in April. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is projecting a 31 percent GDP growth for the third quarter. While these indicators certainly point to recovery, nearly half the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics don’t expect the US to fully restore real GDP levels swept away by the pandemic until at least the second quarter of 2022.