Facts Matter: Quote about cost of border wall didn't come from actor Tim Allen

A quote falsely attributed to actor Tim Allen has recently been posted and reposted by social media users, including President Donald Trump's son Eric.

"President Trump's wall costs less than the Obamacare website. Let that sink in, America," Eric Trump posted Sept. 10 on Instagram. His post included a photo of Allen.

The words can be traced back to Tim Allen, however it's a different Tim Allen, unrelated to the actor and comedian, who included the line in a lengthy post he left on Facebook Aug. 25, according to The Washington Post. The non-actor Tim Allen lives in Franklin, Virginia, and describes himself as a jewelry technician.

The day before jewelry-technician Allen posted his message, rocker Ted Nugent put out a similar message on Facebook that included the exact quote about the cost of Obamacare and Trump's border wall.

Regardless of who said it, does the cost of operating the Obamacare website actually exceed the amount Trump needs to build his wall?

It's not even close, according to the Post.

In 2014, Bloomberg news reported an estimated cost of the Obamacare website at more than $2 billion, the Post said. During the 2016 campaign, Trump said the cost of building a wall on the southern border would be nearly $8 billion.

So far, Congress has appropriated $1.6 billion for the wall, Trump said he will use emergency authority to take an additional $6.1 billion from the military construction fund and the president is seeking $8.6 billion more for the project in next year's budget, the Post said.

Migrant facilities built under Obama

While participating in the Democratic primary debates with nine fellow candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden said immigration policies under the Barack Obama administration differed from those under President Trump.

"We didn't lock people up in cages," Biden said. "we didn't separate families."

But the cages, or chain-link enclosures, at the border facilities were built by the Obama administration and the Trump administration is using those same facilities, according to The Associated Press. Migrants are separated by sex and age while being temporarily housed at the facilities.

Since Trump enacted a "zero tolerance" border policy last year, more than 2,500 migrant children have been separated from their parents, the AP said.

President Obama didn't have a similar policy, but under his leadership, children were separated from their families under certain circumstances, such as when a child's safety was at risk or when the child's parent had a serious criminal past, the AP said.

President retweets false claim on Omar

A video of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar dancing to singer Lizzo's "Truth Hurts" during a Sept. 13 event was tweeted by comedian Terrence K. Williams and falsely claimed Omar was "celebrating on the anniversary of 9/11," according to The Associated Press.

Then, President Donald Trump shared the false claim, adding, "The new face of the Democrat Party!"

Omar, who is Muslim, responded on Twitter, writing, "The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk," the AP said.

The event was celebrating Omar and four other congresswomen, according to Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the AP said. Green and Omar shared the video on their Twitter accounts following the event.

Green later tweeted, "I never thought that a video taken on 9/13 would be linked to 9/11 and used as one more racist smear," the AP reported.

Soon after the president retweeted the miscaptioned video, Williams' original tweet showing the Minnesota congresswoman dancing was removed. Twitter told the AP that the video was removed by the user. Trump's post remains live but without the video, the AP said.

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

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