AP FACT CHECK: The energy boom didn’t start with Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump falsely accused his predecessors Monday of locking up U.S energy. Production actually soared under President Barack Obama, bringing the country to the cusp of energy independence before Trump took office.
Trump similarly accused leaders before him of leaving the country with “wide open” borders despite record deportations during Obama’s presidency.
A look at some of Trump’s statements in a national security speech:
TRUMP: “They put American energy under lock and key.”
THE FACTS: On the contrary, energy production was unleashed during Obama’s presidency, largely because of advances in hydraulic fracturing that made it economical to tap vast reserves of natural gas. Oil production also greatly increased, reducing imports. Before the presidential election last year, the U.S. for the first time in decades was getting more energy domestically than it imports. The government estimated this year that the U.S. could switch from being a net importer of energy to being a net exporter as early as 2019, depending on what happens to oil prices, energy resources and economic growth.
Trump, a Republican, has rolled back some obstacles for the coal industry, which indeed complained of overregulation by Obama, a Democrat. But coal’s decline in recent years was driven mainly by competition from cheap natural gas.
Despite his rhetoric about U.S. energy production, one of Trump’s most consequential actions as president has been to open the U.S. to another source of foreign oil, with his approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
Obama’s two-term predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, was no adversary of the energy industry. Neither president put energy “under lock and key.”
TRUMP: “Over the profound objections of the American people, our politicians left our borders wide open.”
THE FACTS: Even as literary license, “wide open” does not describe the border enforcement, refugee vetting or deportation record of recent years, however flawed some controls might have been.
Trump’s get-tough push has had some effect: Far fewer people have been trying to sneak across the border and more people already in the U.S. illegally have been arrested. But critics once slammed Obama as “deporter in chief.” Agents deported more than 2 million immigrants during the eight years Obama was in office, more than in previous administrations. They sent back 409,000 in 2012 alone, a record.
More than 240,000 people were deported in Obama’s final budget year. Trump-era deportations have slightly lagged that pace for most of his first year, despite unquestionably aggressive enforcement. One likely factor: With fewer people sneaking in, there may be fewer to send back home. But the gates were far from ajar before Trump took office.
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