Washington CNN  — 

In his first interview since he was hospitalized with the coronavirus, President Donald Trump sounded like his usual self – lobbing insults, railing against the media and the Russia investigation, boasting at length, and making a whole bunch of inaccurate statements.

Trump made at least 14 false claims in the 55-minute session with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. He also made at least one misleading claim.

Boasting about his tariffs on China, Trump said, “Nobody ever even heard of tariffs. They never even heard of tariffs. Nobody. In fact, when I first started doing it, they didn’t even know what it meant.”

The history of tariffs

Facts First: This is wildly inaccurate; of course people had heard of tariffs before Trump. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries, President Barack Obama imposed new tariffs on China, and FactCheck.org reported that the US generated, from tariffs on China, an “average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb.”

Who is paying the tariffs on China

Trump again claimed that China paid the $28 billion in tariff revenue he then distributed to farmers.

Facts First: This money wasn’t from China. Study after study has found that Americans are bearing the cost of Trump’s tariffs on imported Chinese products. And American importers, not Chinese exporters, make the actual tariff payments to the US government.

The legitimacy of mail ballots

Trump said of mail-in ballots: “But it’s a corrupt system, because they’re sending out millions of ballots.”

Facts First: It is simply not “corrupt” to send out millions of mail-in ballots; there is exceedingly little fraud with mail-in voting. You can read a longer fact check here.

Ballots and North Carolina

Trump continued to make baseless allegations of widespread fraud with mail-in ballots. He cited, as one supposed example, that “they lost 1,000 ballots, or were defrauded, in North Carolina.”

Facts First: It is not true that 1,000 ballots have been “lost” or “defrauded” in North Carolina.

Trump might have been referring to an error that resulted in thousands of North Carolina voters receiving absentee ballot applications (not ballots themselves) with incorrect information, or another case in which fewer than 500 voters in one North Carolina county were accidentally sent two ballots. Neither of those cases involved fraud, and neither error would allow people to vote more than once.

Ballots and a river

Trump again claimed that “they found trays of ballots in a river.”

Facts First: There is no evidence that trays of ballots have been found in any river; White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not identify a river when she was pressed about Trump’s claim last week.

Trump might have been referring to a Wisconsin case in which three trays of mail that were supposed to be headed to the local post office were found on the side of the road and in a ditch off of Highway 96 in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, according to the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office, local TV station WBAY reported. Some of the mail included absentee ballots, the sheriff’s office said, but the Wisconsin Elections Commission later said there were no absentee ballots from Wisconsin; it did not make a definitive statement on whether there were ballots from other states.

Nevada’s governor and ballots

Trump claimed again that Nevada’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, is “in charge of the ballots” in the state, warning that law enforcement is “watching him very strong” for potential wrongdoing.

Facts First: Sisolak is not “in charge of the ballots.” The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, is a Republican. And county officials are the ones who send out the ballots.

Nevada’s governor and signatures

Trump claimed that “in Nevada, they don’t want to have any signature on the ballots.”

Facts First: This is just false. Nevada continues to require signatures from mail voters and continues to check those signatures; its new elections bill signed by Sisolak says signatures will continue to be checked.

Coronavirus recovery

Trump said of his coronavirus infection: “You catch this thing. A lot of people caught it.” He added a bit later, “What happens is, you get better. That’s what happens: you get better.”

Facts First: It is obviously not true that everyone infected with the virus simply gets better, as Trump suggested. More than 212,000 Americans have died of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Many others may have long-term damage from the virus.

Coronavirus treatments

Speaking of the Regeneron antibody cocktail he received to treat the coronavirus, and another treatment from the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, Trump said, “We have – I call ‘em cures. I don’t call ‘em therapeutics.”

Facts First: It’s false to suggest that these therapeutics are cures. There is no cure for the coronavirus. And while it is possible that these therapies may prove to be an effective treatment, their efficacy has not yet been tested on a large number of patients; at the time Trump spoke to Bartiromo, neither drug had obtained even emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, let alone full approval for widespread use.

Road approval times

Trump claimed that it used to take “20 years to get a road approved” before he took office, warning that, if former Vice President Joe Biden reinstates regulations, “it’s gonna take you 20 years to build a highway.”

Facts First: There is no apparent basis for the claim that the environmental approval process for roads or highways used to take “20 years.”

“I’ve never heard of a 20-year NEPA approval process. That’s not to say there’s never been one, but if so it would be an extremely rare outlier, not the norm,” said Brad Karkkainen, a University of Minnesota law professor and expert on environmental and land use law.

The Federal Highway Administration says on its website that the median completion time for the NEPA process was 44 months in 2016 and 46 months in 2019.

Biden’s joke

Trump, rejecting reports that he made disparaging comments about members of the military, said Biden is the one who actually insulted the troops, having called them “a bunch of dirty bastards.” (Trump repeated this claim once more for good measure.)

Facts First: This is highly misleading; Biden’s comment was an obvious joke. In a 2016 speech to troops in Abu Dhabi, Biden spoke about a lieutenant who was present, saying he was the one who had personally nominated her for the Air Force Academy; when the audience didn’t applaud as he had wanted, he said, “Clap for that, you stupid bastards.”

Even the right-wing website Breitbart reported that Biden’s comment was a joke.

Opinion polling

Trump said he doesn’t believe polls that show him trailing Biden; that is his right, and polls are not always accurate. But he also said “the polls are rigged.”

Facts First: There is simply no evidence that any significant opinion poll has been “rigged” to reduce support for Trump (or rigged for any other reason).

Sen. Kamala Harris

Trump said of the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris: “She’s a communist.”

Facts First: We give Trump wide latitude to express opinions about his opponents, but this one is just false. Harris, a liberal, has never expressed support for communism or for anything close to communist ideology.

Trump and Lincoln

Trump said, as he has in the past, “I’ve done more for the Black community than any president except Abraham Lincoln, and it’s true.” He added, “And people don’t even challenge me on it.”

Facts First: The claim itself is not true – Trump’s accomplishments do not come close to the magnitude of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson – and it’s also not true that people don’t even challenge this claim. While people in Trump’s own circle of allies might not, historians and journalists certainly do.

Trump and Churchill

Likening himself once more to the late United Kingdom prime minister Winston Churchill, Trump claimed that Churchill would go up on rooftops during Nazi bombing raids in World War II and give defiant speeches.

Facts First: Churchill did not give speeches from rooftops during bombing raids, seven Churchill scholars told us; he did sometimes sneak up to rooftops to watch the bombing, but he did not address the public from there.