WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is getting his facts wrong when it comes to clean air in the U.S.
In remarks Wednesday with Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, he insisted the U.S. has the “cleanest air in the world” and is “setting records environmentally.” That’s not the case. The Obama administration set the records for clean air in 2016, and air quality under Trump has worsened since then.
A look at Trump’s claims during his trip to Europe, also the protests in London and his predictions about Brexit:
TRUMP: “We have the cleanest air in the world in the United States, and it’s gotten better since I’m president. We have the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean and I always say I want crystal clean water and air. … We’re setting records environmentally.” — remarks Wednesday.
THE FACTS: The U.S. does not have the cleanest air, and it hasn’t gotten better under the Trump administration.
U.S. drinking water is among the best by one leading measure.
Trump’s own Environmental Protection Agency data show that in 2017, among 35 major U.S. cities, there were 729 cases of “unhealthy days for ozone and fine particle pollution.” That’s up 22 percent from 2014 and the worst year since 2012.
The Obama administration, in fact, set records for the fewest air polluted days in 2016. In 2017, after Trump took office, the number of bad air days per metro area went up 20%.
The State of Global Air 2019 report by the Health Effects Institute rated the U.S. as having the eighth cleanest air for particle pollution — which kills 85,000 Americans each year — behind Canada, Scandinavian countries and others.
The U.S. ranks poorly on smog pollution, which kills 24,000 Americans per year. On a scale from the cleanest to the dirtiest, the U.S. is at 123 out of 195 countries measured.
On water, Yale University’s global Environmental Performance Index finds 10 countries tied for the cleanest drinking water, the U.S. among them. On environmental quality overall, the U.S. was 27th, behind a variety of European countries, Canada, Japan, Australia and more. Switzerland was No. 1.
TRUMP: “I kept hearing that there would be ‘massive’ rallies against me in the UK, but it was quite the opposite. The big crowds, which the Corrupt Media hates to show, were those that gathered in support of the USA and me.” — tweet Wednesday.
TRUMP: “There were thousands of people (Monday) on the streets cheering. And even coming over today, there were thousands of people cheering and then I heard that there were protests. I said: ‘Where are the protests? I don’t see any protests.’ I did see a small protest today when I came, very small, so a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say. … There was great love. … And I didn’t see the protesters until just a little while ago and it was a very, very small group of people.” — news conference Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
THE FACTS: The protests over Trump’s visit were more than just “very, very small.”
Thousands of protesters crowded London’s government district, shouting angry chants as he met May nearby. While police erected barricades to stop protesters from marching past the gates of Downing Street, they could be heard as Trump and May emerged from the prime minister’s official residence for a photo op and before their news conference.
The demonstrators expressed outrage over his lavish welcome and protested him as a danger to the world.
The protests included a giant Trump baby balloon and a robotic likeness of Trump sitting on a golden toilet, cellphone in hand, dubbed “Dump Trump.” The robot made flatulent sounds and recited familiar Trump phrases like “No collusion” and “You are fake news.”
TRUMP, referring to how he stood at his Scottish golf resort, Turnberry, on the eve of the Brexit referendum and predicted the British would vote to leave the European Union: “I really predicted what was going to happen. Some of you remember that prediction. It was a strong prediction, made at a certain location, on a development we were opening the day before it happened.” — news conference Tuesday.
THE FACTS: He didn’t predict Brexit the day before it happened.
As when he has told this story before, Trump is mixing up his predictions and his days. Three months before the vote, he did predict accurately that Britain would vote to leave the EU. The day after the 2016 vote — not the day before — he predicted from his Scottish resort that the EU would collapse because of Britain’s withdrawal. That remains to be seen.
Associated Press writers Nicky Forster in New York, Jill Lawless and Kevin Freking in London, and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.
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EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures