AP FACT CHECK: Trump promises not just the moon, but Mars

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Akasaka Palace, Monday, May 27, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference with President Donald Trump, at Akasaka Palace, Monday, May 27, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Akasaka Palace, Monday, May 27, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump dismissed the hard realities of his trade dispute with China as mere foolishness Monday and told people to expect humans on Mars "very shortly," which isn't happening.

Here's a look at some of his statements in a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and how they stack up with reality:

TRADE

TRUMP: "You know, foolishly, some people said that the American taxpayer is paying the tariffs of China. No, no, no — it's not that way. They're paying a small percentage, but our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: That's not true. U.S. consumers and the public are primarily if not entirely paying the costs of the tariffs, as his chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has acknowledged . That's how tariffs work: Importers pay the taxes and often pass on the cost to consumers. The U.S. is not "taking in" billions from China as a result.

A sustained trade dispute is not painless for China, either. Its goods become pricier and therefore less competitive. But China is not paying a tab to the U.S. treasury in this matter.

As Kudlow said, accurately: "Both sides will suffer on this." But in his view, "this is a risk we should and can take."

___

MARS

TRUMP: "Prime Minister Abe and I have agreed to dramatically expand our nations' cooperation in human space exploration. Japan will join our mission to send U.S. astronauts to space. We'll be going to the moon. We'll be going to Mars very soon."

THE FACTS: Not very soon. The U.S. will almost certainly not be sending humans to Mars in his presidency, even if he wins a second term.

The Trump administration has a placed a priority on the moon over Mars for human exploration (President Barack Obama favored Mars) and hopes to accelerate NASA's plan for returning people to the lunar surface. It has asked Congress to approve enough money to make a moon mission possible by 2024, instead 2028. But even if that happens, Mars would come years after that. International space agencies have made aspirational statements about possibly landing humans on Mars during the 2030s.

___

TRUMP on Iran: "If you look at the deal that Biden and President Obama signed, they would have access — free access — to nuclear weapons, where they wouldn't even be in violation, in just a very short period of time. What kind of a deal is that?"

THE FACTS: That's a misrepresentation of what the deal required . Iran would not have access to nuclear weapons capability in a "very short period" without violating the terms of the 2015 accord. The U.S. withdrew from the multinational agreement last year.

During the 15-year life of most provisions of the deal, Iran's capabilities were limited to a level where it could not produce a nuclear bomb. Iran was thought to be only months away from a bomb when the deal came into effect.

After 15 years, Iran could have an array of advanced centrifuges ready to work, the limits on its stockpile would be gone and, in theory, it could then throw itself into producing highly enriched uranium. But nothing in the deal prevented the West from trying to rein Iran in again with sanctions. The deal included a pledge by Iran never to seek a nuclear weapon. In return, partners in the deal eased sanctions on Iran.

___

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

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

People also read these

S. Korea: Senior N. Korean diplomat based in...

Aug 17, 2016

South Korea says a senior North Korean diplomat based in London has defected to the South, becoming...

Biden's remark on Japan Constitution raises...

Aug 18, 2016

A recent remark by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that America wrote Japan's Constitution is raising...

Taking heat, US officials defend $400M cash...

Aug 19, 2016

The Obama administration defends its decision to make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran...

Chinese ships, planes hold war games in Sea of...

Aug 21, 2016

China's military says its planes and ships held war games in the Sea of Japan last week, during...

Trump's stamina attack on Clinton stirs talk of...

Aug 23, 2016

Donald Trump and his Republican allies say Hillary Clinton is weak, lacks stamina and doesn't look...