Fact-Checking the January Democratic Debate

What the facts are

What Mr. Sanders said:

“Every major environmental organization has said ‘no’ to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase ‘climate change’ in it.”

This is true. Democrats fought for language calling for a commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as binding climate change standards, but those provisions did not make it into the final measure that passed the House. That bill, which awaits a vote in the Senate, does not include any mention of climate change.



“By gutting the Iran nuclear deal, one that, by the way, the Trump administration itself admitted was working, certified that it was preventing progress toward a nuclear Iran, by gutting that, they have made the region more dangerous.”

This is true. After the Iran nuclear deal was approved by the Obama administration in 2015, Congress voted to require the American president to issue regular certifications that Iran was complying with the agreement’s limits on uranium enrichment and other nuclear activity. President Trump twice approved such certifications, affirming findings of American intelligence agencies that Iran was in compliance. He stopped doing so in October 2017 without citing specific Iranian violations.

In May 2018, Mr. Trump abandoned the deal altogether. He made no claim that Iran was in violation but that the “horrible” agreement expired too soon, failed to limit Iran’s ballistic missile program and did not constrain its foreign interventions across the Middle East. Defenders of the deal argue that it was focused narrowly on preventing Iran from acquiring a bomb within 10 to 15 years rather than fundamentally changing Iran’s behavior.



“And the end result of those two, just P.T.N.R. with China, Joe, and Nafta, cost us some four million jobs, as part of the race to the bottom.”

This is mostly true. As we reported when this issue came up last September, while NAFTA often receives much of the blame from Democrats for the loss of American manufacturing jobs, it is P.N.T.R. — Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China — that economists tend to point to as the cause of more job losses.


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