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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s speech stretches on taxes, energy

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump took his penchant for inflated claims to his biggest stage Tuesday night, asserting in his prepared State of the Union speech that he signed the most consequential tax cuts in history, when his achievement was far from that, and declaring an end to a “war on American energy” that did not exist when he took office.

A look at statements in excerpts released by the White House of his speech to Congress later in the evening:

TRUMP: “We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.” — excerpt of speech released by White House.

THE FACTS: No truer now than in the countless other times he has said the same. The December tax overhaul ranks behind Ronald Reagan’s in the early 1980s, post-World War II tax cuts and at least several more.

An analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in the fall put Trump’s package as the eighth biggest since 1918. As a percentage of the total economy, Reagan’s 1981 cut is the biggest followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that financed World War II.

Valued at $1.5 trillion over 10 years, the plan is indeed large and expensive. But it’s much smaller than originally intended. Back in the spring, it was shaping up as a $5.5 trillion package. Even then it would have only been the third largest since 1940 as a share of gross domestic product.

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TRUMP: “We have ended the war on American energy.” — excerpt of speech released by White House.

THE FACTS: Energy production was unleashed in past administrations, particularly Barack Obama’s, making accusations of a war on energy hard to sustain. Advances in hydraulic fracturing before Trump became president made it economical to tap vast reserves of natural gas. Oil production also greatly increased, reducing imports.

Before the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. for the first time in decades was getting more energy domestically than it imports. Before Obama, George W. Bush was no adversary of the energy industry.

One of Trump’s consequential actions as president on this front was to approve the Keystone XL pipeline — a source of foreign oil, from Canada.

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Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

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EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures

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