Fact check: President Donald Trump speech in Greater Cincinnati

President Donald Trump touted the GOP-passed tax reform at Blue Ash's Sheffer Corporation Monday.The Enquirer checked some of his speech to see if the president presented facts or fiction in Cincinnati. Claim: "Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low." "You have the lowest black unemployment in the history of our country." "You have the lowest Hispanic unemployment in the history of our country." Ruling: Mostly true.Last month, U.S. unemployment hit a 45-year low – the lowest since the government began tracking the figure in 1972. That's not the beginning of the country, but there's no way of tracking earlier unemployment rates.African-American unemployment dropped to 6.8 percent in December – the lowest on record as well. Hispanic unemployment hit 4.9 percent in December, near an all-time low.Unemployment actually ticked up in January, but it is still quite low historically.Can Trump take credit? Not entirely. Unemployment rates have been declining for years and the rate of decline hasn't picked up under Trump's presidency. Claim: "Wages are now, for the first time in many years, rising." Ruling: True. U.S. workers' wages and benefits grew 2.6 percent last year, the fastest 12-month pace since the spring of 2015, according to the Associated Press. Again, Trump implied he was the reason. Many businesses, including Sheffer Corporation, have announced bonuses for their employees after the GOP tax reform. But there could be many causes of wage growth: lower unemployment or minimum wage increases in more than a dozen states. And time will tell if rising wages last.Claim: "It is the biggest tax cut and reform in American history."Ruling: False.The most recent tax reform was, in a word, huge. It lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. But it wasn't the largest in American history, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Continue Reading

President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the government over border-wall funds

President Donald Trump set up a showdown with Senate Democrats during his Tuesday speech in Phoenix, threatening to shut down the government unless Congress begins funding construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall."We are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary," he said, repeating a key campaign promise. "Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall."The crowd inside the Phoenix Convention Center responded with the chants of "build the wall" — a 2016 Trump campaign battle cry. VIEW: Photos from the Trump rally in PhoenixBut unlike the 2016 campaign, Trump didn't say Mexico would foot the bill for the massive infrastructure project, but rather, U.S. taxpayers.In July, the House passed a defense spending bill with $1.6 billion for projects along the southern border, including sections of a wall in San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The measure now needs Senate approval, which is less certain. READ MORE: House OKs $1.6B for border wall. How Arizona votedBut it's a fight Trump on Tuesday seemed eager to have."Let me be very clear to Democrats in Congress who oppose a border wall and stand in the way of border security: You are putting all of America's safety at risk," he said. "You're doing that. You're doing that."By including funds for the wall in a defense-spending bill, Republicans are trying to leverage Democratic support.It worked in the House, where all four Arizona Democrats opposed the wall funding but two of them — Reps. Tom O'Halleran and Kyrsten Sinema — still supported it. The Senate, however, presents a different dynamic.In the Senate, the funding measure is subject to filibuster, meaning it effectively requires 60 votes. Even if every Republican were a "yes," Trump would still need eight Democrats to get on board. ALSO: McCain Continue Reading

Here’s how NFL teams have responded to President Donald Trump

On Friday night, President Donald Trump lashed out at NFL players for their protests during the national anthem, becoming profane and saying he would like to see teams punish those who take a knee during the pregame festivity. NFL players, the NFL Players Association and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell all had strong statements condemning Trump's comments about the league and its players.Here is how NFL teams responded: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton:"I would say, personally, I'm disappointed in the comments that were made. I think we need a little bit more wisdom in that office. That's being a little blunt, but that's how I feel. You know, I want that guy to be one of the smarter guys in the room. And it seems like every time he's opening his mouth, it's something that is dividing our country and not pulling us together. And that has nothing to do with my feelings about the anthem, but just my take (over the last) 24 hours. So, that's how I feel."   Steelers players, with the exception of former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, stayed off the field during Sunday's rendition of the national anthem in Chicago. Statement from the Cincinnati Bengals:"Football and politics don't mix easily. Fans come to NFL games to watch great competition on the playing field and that's where our focus should be."  Statement from New York Jets Chairman & CEO Christopher Johnson:“It was an honor and a privilege to stand arm-in-arm unified with our players during today’s National Anthem. We are very proud of our players and their strong commitment to work in our community to make a positive, constructive, and unifying impact.” Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf:"Professional sports offer a platform unlike any other, a platform that can bring people from a variety of backgrounds together to impact positive change in our society. As owners, it is our job to foster an environment that recognizes Continue Reading

Sen. John McCain: President Donald Trump has ‘unsettled’ allies

SYDNEY — U.S. Sen. John McCain urged Australia on Tuesday not to abandon its alliance with America despite jitters over President Donald Trump, saying the U.S. needs its allies more than ever to remind it of its principles.The Republican senator, in Australia for talks on security in the Asia-Pacific region, acknowledged that America is going through "a rough period" and said he understands why the country's allies have questioned its commitments to truth over falsehood and freedom over oppression. But he urged Australia to stick with the U.S. "to encourage us to stay true to who we are at our best and remind us always just how much is at stake.""I realize that some of President Trump's actions and statements have unsettled America's friends. They have unsettled many Americans as well," McCain said in a speech organized by the United States Studies Centre. "There is real debate under way now in my country about what kind of role America should play in the world and, frankly, I don't know how this debate will play out. But I do believe — and I don't think I'm exaggerating here — that the future of the world will turn to a large extent on how this debate in America is resolved. That's why I and others are fighting so hard to ensure that America stands by our allies and remains an active, principled leader in the world."McCain emerged as one of Australia's staunchest advocates in the U.S. earlier this year following a spat between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. After reports emerged in February of a testy phone call between the two leaders over a refugee deal, McCain quickly reached out to Australia's ambassador to the U.S., and publicly praised Australia for its long history of military cooperation with the U.S.Australia has fought alongside America in every major conflict since World War I, and is one of the largest contributors to the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq and Syria.On Tuesday, McCain said that despite a Continue Reading

President Donald Trump touts manufacturing, promises help for Wisconsin dairy farmers at Snap-on in Kenosha

KENOSHA - President Donald Trump came to Wisconsin Tuesday to talk manufacturing and sign a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order.But he ended up making a dramatic intervention in the simmering trade dispute between Canada and the United States over milk."We’re going to stand up for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin," Trump told an audience gathered at tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. "And I’ve been reading about it. And I’ve been talking about it for a long time. And that demands, really, immediately fair trade with all of our trading partners and that includes Canada. Because in Canada some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others."Recently, Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood notified about 75 Wisconsin farms that as of May 1, it is canceling their contracts because it has lost its Canadian business.At issue are changes in Canadian policy that make it harder for U.S. dairy processors to sell ultra-filtered milk, used to make cheese, in Canada. Canadian officials have said they're not to blame. Instead, they fault the U.S. for producing too much milk in a global marketplace that is already flooded with the product.Trump said he would start working on a solution with Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and House Speaker Paul Ryan."We're going to get together and we're going to call Canada," Trump said. "And we're going to say, 'What happened?' And they might give us an answer but we're going to get the solution, not just the answer."Walker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have urged Trump to address the issue, writing Tuesday: “Wisconsin and New York dairy farmers are only the first victims of Canada’s illicit dairy trade restrictions." RELATED: Milwaukee firms use H-1B visa program targeted by Trump's executive order RELATED: Trump spurs small-business optimism in Milwaukee area  RELATED: Trump's travel ban is on the back burner in courts, but it's Continue Reading

Coachella protesters demand ‘respect’ from President Donald Trump

Dozens of demonstrators in the Coachella Valley joined tens of thousands of others nationwide who hoped to turn Inauguration Day into a day of resistance against President Donald Trump.A crowd of about 50 people marched in a mile-long stretch from the Veterans Memorial Park in Coachella to Harrison Street and back, chanting in Spanish: “What do we want from the president? Respect! When do we want it? Now!”“Si se puede!” they yelled. “Yes we can!”Cars honked in support as the demonstrators, who walked in pairs, continued to chant. “The people united will never be defeated!” they said.In San Francisco, protesters formed a human chain Friday across the Golden Gate Bridge, while in Los Angeles thousands of others marched in the pouring rain to voice their discontent with Trump’s inauguration.In Washington, D.C., police made more than 200 arrests as protests there took a violent turn.Locally, parents and teenagers arrived at Veterans Memorial Park in Coachella at 3 p.m. Friday. As the rain fell, they huddled under two plastic tarps, chanting and giving emotional speeches.Gina Chapa, one of the valley protest co-organizers, said the “day of resistance” is an answer to Trump’s politically incorrect rhetoric. While on the campaign trail he ran on a law-and-order platform, often alienating Latino, Muslim and African-American citizens by portraying minorities in a negative light, Chapa said.Friday’s protest was a space where people who’ve felt attacked by Trump could come together, show support for each other and organize, she said.Attendee Ignacio Ochoa, 25, was born and raised in Coachella. He volunteers for the Sierra Club and works as a temp for a catering and service company. An eye condition has made him blind in one eye and, if left untreated, it will spread to the right. He has health insurance through former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and is worried about it Continue Reading

A less-divisive speech from President Donald Trump

By the end of the president's address, the members of Delaware's congressional contingent found themselves hopeful but skeptical.Though the president called for unity and across-the-aisle efforts, the First State's senators and representative didn't walk into the Capitol on Tuesday night expecting much to be said that they could stand behind. Like most of the Democrats in attendance, they barely stood at all.They were only three of the 535 President Donald Trump addressed directly walking onto the Capitol floor to speak for the first time to a joint session of Congress. All Democrats, Delaware's representatives were prepared for partisanship, attacks and insults.What they got were policies on which they still have reservations, but a professionally delivered address that challenged both parties to bridge the divide."Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed," Trump said. "Our citizens deserve this. So why not join forces and finally get the job done and get it done right?"When Trump promised a nationwide infrastructure overhaul, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester saw it as common ground. On his calls for improving access to child care, she agreed, too. And even on Obamacare, she said it sounded to her like the president intends to keep its most important parts."The reality will be in the actions," Rochester said. "Everything from how we talk to each other, how we work together. And it's also going to be a question of where does the money come from for many of these things? ANALYSIS: After a hostile takeover, it's Trump's party now STORY: Trump order calls for review of water rule Sen. Tom Carper expressed much the same sentiment."His inaugural address was very dark. This was less dark. Whoever wrote this speech tonight as opposed to whoever wrote his inaugural address, he ought to stick with the one who wrote tonight's," Carper said. "There was a lot of focus on unity. I hope he meant it."Trump promised the military Continue Reading

Montini: Why is Gov. Doug Ducey afraid to speak out about President Donald Trump?

Why is Gov. Doug Ducey afraid to take a stand -- any stand -- on President Donald Trump?Why is Ducey unwilling to support the two U.S. Senators from his state, each of whom has called for right-minded individuals to speak out against what Sen. John McCain described as Trump’s “half-baked, spurious nationalism?”Or, if Ducey does NOT agree with McCain, or with Sen. Jeff Flake, why doesn’t the governor just say so?Why doesn’t he say something? Anything? Recently, Howard Fischer of Capitol News Services asked Ducey a simple question.He wanted to know the governor’s reaction to what Sen. Flake said in the speech he made on the senate floor, the one in which Flake bowed out of next year’s election and roundly condemned TrumpAmong other things, Flake expressed his “regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our — all of our — complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”And, he added, “Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.”Given that, Fischer asked Ducey if the governor's silence makes him complicit.When Fischer got what he described as non-answers he pressed the issue. The now-irritated governor said, “Yes, it's answering the question… We're getting things done in the state of Arizona. I challenge Washington, D.C. to get something done.''Again, this is not an answer to the question.It's a clunky attempt at avoiding the question.But, why?It’s simple, really.A politician either has beliefs and principles or he does not.A politician either has the courage of his convictions or he does not.With those convictions come consequences.A governor who supports our two U.S. Continue Reading

Ex-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer defends President Donald Trump’s Charlottesville remarks

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, in an appearance on CNN Tuesday evening, defended President Donald Trump’s contention Tuesday that many of those who opposed the white-supremacist groups staging a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday are equally to blame for the violence that erupted during the event.Brewer, who supported Trump's presidential run, was asked by CNN host Don Lemon whether she was ashamed by the president’s comments made at a press conference Tuesday, where he doubled down on his initial remarks suggesting that counterprotesters who stood up to the racist groups were equally responsible for the violence that unfolded.“No. Absolutely not. I was not ashamed. I think he took the bull by the horns, he spoke from his heart,’’ she said on the nationally televised broadcast.“He has denounced the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis. He has done it over and over, and David Duke. But you keep reporting he hasn’t done it,’’ she said. RELATED:  Analysis: Combative Trump returns to form with defense of alt-right Notable moments from Trump's defense of his Charlottesville statement Twitter melts down in response to Trump comments When Lemon suggested that Trump only named the groups in a prepared statement Monday “under duress’’ after major fallout from his initial response on Saturday, Brewer said there was nothing wrong with what he said in his first statement.“I thought his speech on Saturday was fine. I thought the one on Monday was terrific. I thought today he came forward and spoke from his heart. He doesn’t want this. We need to bring our country together.’’She denounced the KKK and described what happened in Charlottesville as “horrible,’’ but then added, “The fact of the matter is, there were groups there to the far left, and to the far right.’’Brewer appeared with CNN political Continue Reading

President Donald Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

President Donald Trump has pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his criminal contempt conviction, removing the only legal consequences the lawman faced stemming from a long-running racial-profiling suit.The White House announced the pardon Friday evening in a news release that recounted Arpaio's lengthy career of "admirable service" in federal and local law enforcement and called him "a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon."Reached moments after the announcement, Arpaio said he had not spoken toArpaio told The Arizona Republic he learned of the president's action from his lawyer, who visited him Friday at about 4 p.m. at Arpaio's Fountain Hills home. The lawyer delivered Arpaio's wife, Ava, a birthday gift, and "the other gift was the pardon," said Arpaio, who added that he and his wife planned to celebrate over a dinner of spaghetti with calamari and red wine at a favorite Italian restaurant.Arpaio, who lost a 2016 re-election bid ending 24 years in office, hinted the pardon could set up a political comeback: "I told my wife that I was through with politics. But now I've decided I'm not through with politics because of what's happening. I didn't ask for a pardon. It has nothing to do with a pardon. I've been saying this for the last couple of months. I've got a lot to offer."He said he would hold a news conference early next week to discuss the "abuse" of the justice system.Arpaio, 85, was convicted of criminal contempt on July 31, and was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5. He faced up to six months in jail. But Trump hinted that a pardon would be forthcoming.Trump and Arpaio have enjoyed a warm relationship since the early days of Trump’s presidential campaign. They share a hard-line stance on immigration, and Arpaio was one of the earliest public figures to offer Trump his full-throated endorsement.Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt on July 31, broached the topic of a presidential pardon himself two Continue Reading