CLAIM: Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer criticized Democrats during the Iowa presidential debate, saying they would "destroy the economy in 15 minutes if they get in control.”
THE FACTS: A video that circulated on social media following the debate was edited to make it appear Steyer made a derogatory comment about Democrats and the economy. A review of debate footage shows that Steyer was discussing President Donald Trump's campaign and the role the economy would play in it.
“Look, we know how Donald Trump is going to run for president. He’s going to run on the economy. He’s already told Americans last month in Florida, ’You don’t like me and I don’t like you, but you’re all going to vote for me because the Democrats are going to destroy the economy in 15 minutes if they get in control.'”
The comment was made in response to a question from CNN moderator Abby Phillip, who asked the California businessman about spending more than $100 million of his own money on television ads: “How do you convince voters you are more than just your money?” Sarah Dolan, executive director of the America Rising PAC, tweeted the misleading video as the debate ended. Trump then retweeted it early Wednesday. “I agree with him on this, 100%,” Trump tweeted. “But why would anyone vote Democrat? We are setting all time records with the economy!” America Rising did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
Shortly after Trump’s tweet, Steyer responded telling the president he should read the transcripts of his full remarks on the economy during the debate. “Read the transcript. It’s actually perfect,” he said in a tweet. “I said you’re a fraud and a failure — and I’ll expose you. Now go to bed.” Alberto Lammers, Steyer’s campaign press secretary, told The Associated Press that Steyer’s remark about Trump was in reference to a December speech Trump made at the Israeli American Council National Summit, in Hollywood, Florida. At the December event, Trump noted that many of the attendees work in real estate and should consider voting for him if they want to stay in business. “You’re brutal killers,” he said. “Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me; you have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax.” The remarks were published by the White House.