Among whoppers: They never met. The senator wants to abolish ICE. He wont debate Barletta.
August 04, 2018
By Chris Brennan
Fact-checking a speech by President Trump that spans more than an hour can be a tough task.
Sometimes the president helps out by raising doubts about his own claims and posting proof that they are false on the White House website, as with one of the first things Trump said about U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., a Pennsylvania Democrat, during a speech Thursday night in Wilkes-Barre.
Sometimes the media has to do it all for him: The Washington Post, for instance, has documented 4,229 false or misleading Trump claims from the inauguration through July 31. (The pace of the untruths has been increasing. )
“So I’ve been in Washington now for more than a year and a half,” Trump said while campaigning for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, who is challenging Casey’s bid for a third term. “I’m not sure I ever met Bob Casey. I never met him. And I’m sure I did. I shouldn’t be saying that. But I’m not sure. ”
There, in 40 words, Trump suggested something, then asserted it as fact, then admitted it was probably not true, and finally said he didn’t know what was true.
Trump and Casey have met at least once, according to a transcript of a White House meeting on Feb. 13, when the president, Vice President Pence, members of the cabinet, and members of the U.S. Congress gathered to discuss trade.
Casey spoke directly to Trump about issues in steel manufacturing in Pennsylvania.
“Thank you very much,” Trump responded to Casey in that meeting. “I appreciate it. ”
Trump then moved on to his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court.
“And you know what? ” Trump asked the Wilkes-Barre crowd. “I think Casey doesn’t even want to meet with him. ”
Casey has announced his opposition to the nomination for Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge in Washington, D.C., citing concerns he has about the conservative groups that drew up a list of potential Supreme Court picks for Trump and the impact that could have on unions and workers.
But a spokesperson for his Senate office said Friday that White House representatives have not contacted Casey to set up a meeting. And Casey has said he would meet with Kavanaugh.
Trump knocked Casey on a couple of issues around immigration.
“Bob Casey wants to fire the incredible men and women of ICE,” Trump claimed. “He wants to abolish ICE. ”
Casey is on record opposing the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. He attended a press conference last week where Senate Democrats shot down the idea.
A spokeswoman said Casey reiterated his view Friday that all federal agencies need oversight but did not want to disband the agency.
Trump also claimed Bob Casey wants an “open borders” immigration policy.
“Bob Casey wants open borders, which means crime,” Trump said. “He wants people to pour in. ”
Trump went on to claim “Bob Casey doesn’t mind MS-13 coming in,” a reference to a notorious Central American gang.
Casey as recently as February lamented that Senate Republicans could not muster the votes needed to pass what he called comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would have paid for more border security, including funding toward the wall. Trump, who had previously said he would support a bipartisan effort, tweeted just before the vote that the legislation was a “total catastrophe. ”
Trump claimed Casey was ducking debates with Barletta.
“I hear Bob Casey is afraid to debate Lou Barletta,” Trump claimed. “He doesn’t want to. I hear he’s afraid to debate. Is that true? ”
No, it’s not true.
Casey’s campaign said it is in the process of scheduling debates but has no details to release as of Friday. A spokesman for Casey’s Senate office said he said publicly on Friday that he plans to debate Barletta closer to the Nov. 6 general election.