Facts Matter: Trump isn't first president to donate salary

  • President Donald Trump spoke after a Cabinet meeting Monday and claimed he's the first president to forgo his pay. In reality, he's the third, fact checkers said.

    President Donald Trump spoke after a Cabinet meeting Monday and claimed he's the first president to forgo his pay. In reality, he's the third, fact checkers said. Associated Press

Updated 10/26/2019 5:59 PM

President Donald Trump often seeks to compare himself to other U.S. presidents.

While answering questions following a Cabinet meeting last week, he told reporters he is forgoing his presidential pay.


"I give away my salary," he said. "They say that no other president has done it. … They actually say that George Washington may -- may have been the only other president to do -- but see whether or not (President Barack) Obama gave up his salary."

Trump gives away his annual $400,000 salary, according to The Washington Post, but he is the third president to do so. U.S. presidents Herbert Hoover and John Kennedy gave their earnings to charity.

Although Obama didn't give up his salary, he donated more than $1 million to charities benefiting children during the eight years he was president, according to Forbes.com.

While defending his idea to bring the Group of Seven summit to his National Doral resort in Miami, Trump speculated about Obama's business dealings while president.

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"Hey, Obama made a deal for a book. Is that running a business?" Trump asked. "I'm sure he didn't even discuss it while he was president, yeah. He has a deal with Netflix. When did they start talking about that?"

Obama worked out those deals after he left office, the Post said. And there is no evidence he negotiated the contracts while serving as president. Read more at https://wapo.st/2Pr7uh5.

Does O'Rourke want to confiscate guns?

"To be clear, I'm not talking about confiscating anybody's guns," Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said during an interview on MSNBC earlier this month.

He went on to say the 16 million assault-style weapons in the U.S., such as AR-15s and AK-47s, must be part of a buyback program.

But PolitiFact.com says O'Rourke hasn't always been clear when talking about a mandatory buyback, or confiscation, of assault weapons.


During the Sept. 12 Democratic presidential debate, he was asked if he was proposing to take away people's guns.

"I am, if it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield," O'Rourke said. "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

While discussing the candidate's gun proposal Oct. 16 on CNN, host Alisyn Camerota said the plan "sounds like confiscation."

"No, I'm not suggesting that," O'Rourke said. "And I think that's why people use the word confiscation, because it scares people."

A spokesman for O'Rourke's campaign told PolitiFact, "Beto has been clear that he is talking about a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons, which is not confiscation."

A University of Wyoming professor and gun law expert George Mocsary disagrees. "There is no scenario under which the owner of one of the designated weapons gets to keep it. That is confiscation," he said. Read more at http://bit.ly/2Jjv0Zn.

Omar not at Trump rally

When video of protesters in Minneapolis during an Oct. 10 rally for President Donald Trump hit the internet, some users falsely identified a woman wearing a headscarf and face covering as Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, according to The Associated Press.

Omar was on a five-day trip to Morocco with other representatives while the campaign rally was happening, the AP said.

Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix, who shot the video, told the AP he reached out to set the record straight after the footage was circulating on social media with fake information.

"It's disappointing to see people invoking my journalism to make a false claim," he said.

In response to the false identification, California Rep. Karen Bass, who was on the trip with Omar, wrote on Twitter, "So sad to return to bigoted nonsense from people who think that if they see one person with a hijab on, they've seen them all," the AP reported. Read more at http://bit.ly/2qAjoum

McDonald's isn't replacing Happy Meals

An article published last week claiming McDonald's will be replacing Happy Meals with rainbow-themed meals supporting the LGBTQ community was satire, according to Snopes.com.

The fake story, which appeared on the Taters Gonna Tate website, said McDonald's will be offering Rainbow Meals for kids while showing support for the LGBTQ community with a new Rainbow Menu, Snopes reported.

The Taters Gonna Tate website only publishes satirical or humorous stories, but many who read reposts on social media don't recognize that, Snopes said.

A disclaimer on the Taters Gonna Tate reads, "Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined." Read more at http://bit.ly/2pcUW1P.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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