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Fact Check: Trump’s false statement on military pay

  • ED JONES/POOL VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Donald Trump spoke to military personnel and their families stationed in South Korea in Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, Sunday. With wide grins and a historic handshake, President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone on Sunday and agreed to revive talks on the pariah nation’s nuclear program.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump is kicking off a flag-waving week with the false statement that he gave troops their first raise in a decade.

TRUMP: “You also got very nice pay raises for the last couple of years. Congratulations. Oh, you care about that. They care about that. I didn’t think you noticed. Yeah, you were entitled. You know, it was close to 10 years before you had an increase. Ten years. And we said, ‘It’s time.’ And you got a couple of good ones, big ones, nice ones.” — remarks Sunday to service members at Osan Air Base, South Korea.

THE FACTS: He’s been spreading this falsehood for more than a year, soaking up cheers from crowds for something he didn’t do. In May 2018, for example, he declared to graduates of the United States Naval Academy: “We just got you a big pay raise. First time in 10 years.”

U.S. military members have received a pay raise every year for decades.

Trump also boasts about the size of the military pay raises under his administration, but there’s nothing extraordinary about them.

Several raises in the last decade have been larger than service members are getting under Trump — 2.6% this year, 2.4% last year, 2.1% in 2017.

Raises in 2008, 2009 and 2010, for example, were all 3.4% or more.

Pay increases shrank after that because of congressionally mandated budget caps. Trump and Congress did break a trend that began in 2011 of pay raises that hovered between 1% and 2%.

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