Facts Matter: Videos don't show people scaling Trump's wall

President Donald Trump, at a news conference in Otay Mesa, California, earlier this month, showed off portions of an under-construction wall planned for the southern border.

Trump said versions of the wall were tested by 20 world-class mountain climbers who attempted to scale the barriers, according to

"We've all seen the pictures of young people climbing walls with drugs on their back. A lot of drugs, they're unbelievable climbers. This wall can't be climbed," Trump said.

Almost immediately following the news conference, two videos began circulating on social media showing people easily getting over a wall, claiming the barrier was the new model the president promoted.

Neither video is new and the footage featured very different walls, Snopes said.

A video showing two men wearing large backpacks quickly scaling a fence is from March 2016 and was shot at the border near Nogales, Arizona, Snopes said. The video was taken by a news crew from the Mexican TV channel Azteca Trece.

A post of a different video shows several men scaling a wall and claims people are playing a game to see who can climb fastest, according to Snopes. This video, shot by NBC News in November 2018, shows a section of fencing at San Ysidro, California, Snopes said.

The walls in the videos are of different design than the one the president is promoting, Snopes said.

O'Rourke isn't a felon

Recent posts on Facebook and Twitter falsely claimed Texas presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is a felon who can't own a gun and that he is planning to send men door to door to confiscate firearms.

O'Rourke has not faced any felony charges and did not call for house-to-house confiscation of guns, according to The Associated Press. O'Rourke said if elected he would act to take assault-type weapons from the general public through a mandatory buyback program.

The posts began to appear following the Sept. 12 Democratic presidential debate in which O'Rourke, speaking on gun control, said, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, and we're not going to allow it to be used against your fellow Americans anymore."

O'Rourke told the AP in March that he inherited guns belonging to his great uncle, who taught him how to shoot.

O'Rourke has said he has been arrested twice, according to the AP. Charges were dropped after he was charged with misdemeanor burglary in 1995 for jumping a fence at the University of Texas at El Paso. A 1998 drunk-driving charge was dropped after he completed a court-ordered diversion program.

Biden mixes up numbers

Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, speaking at a Sept. 20 town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said the Medicare-for-all program being promoted by other candidates will be too costly, according to The Washington Post.

"It costs, minimum, $3.4 trillion per year," Biden said. "That's twice the entire national budget, except for interest on the debt."

Biden said fellow candidate Bernie Sanders acknowledges it will raise, for a middle-income person, "5 percent and 4 percent in terms of your deductible, as well as 4 or 5 percent on your income tax. I don't think you can sustain that."

But Biden's staff told the Post the candidate misspoke. He meant to say the plan would double the federal budget, except for interest on the debt, not that it was twice the federal budget. He also meant to say a tax on employers was like a deductible from your paycheck and that the employer tax was 7.5 percent, not 5 percent and 4 percent.

Biden is emphasizing the higher taxes involved with Medicare-for-all but ignoring Sanders' claim it could lower health care costs, the Post said.

Biden has advocated for improving the Affordable Care Act, the health care plan passed during the Obama administration.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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