Story highlights

Sanders cited helping to defeat ISIS and the economy as accomplishments

CNN fact-checked her list

(CNN) —  

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, defending President Donald Trump against withering criticism from members of his own party, rattled off a list of accomplishments she believes the President has accomplished in his first 10 months in office.

“I certainly think history is going to look at this President as somebody who helped defeat ISIS, who built an economy that is stronger than it’s been in several decades, who brought unemployment to a 16-year low, created over 1.7 million jobs since being elected,” she said. “I think those are the things that people actually care about, not some petty comments from Sen. (Bob) Corker and Sen. (Jeff) Flake.”

Here’s a CNN fact-check of the accomplishments she touted:

Trump ‘helped defeat ISIS’

ISIS was on the decline when President Barack Obama left office, but it is true that Trump is someone who “helped defeat” the terrorist group.

The clearest example: US backed forces fighting ISIS in Syria said this month that “major military operations” in Raqqa have ended and the terrorist group has lost control over the city it once claimed as the capital of its caliphate.

Defense Secretary James Mattis credits Trump’s decision to allow commanders more leeway in undertaking operations on their own authority as a key change to Trump’s ISIS approach.

And the Trump administration has been happy to tout the win.

“Today, those black flags fly in Raqqa no more,” Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech Tuesday.

But the idea that ISIS has been defeated is incorrect, as ISIS-inspired groups have found strongholds across the world.

Most recently, 50 fighters affiliated with ISIS killed four US servicemen in Niger in an ambush, prompting questions on Capitol Hill and across the nation about the size and scope of the mission against ISIS-linked terrorists based in Africa.

Trump ‘brought unemployment to a 16-year low’

The most recent jobs report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the unemployment rate in September stood at 4.2% – the lowest figure since January 2001, when the rate stood at the same level.

In December 2000, the unemployment rate was 3.9%. Sanders’ statement suggests Trump bears full responsibility for bringing the unemployment rate down, though most economists suggest policies enacted by the Obama administration helped lay the groundwork for improving job conditions, including the unemployment rate which has been trending downward since its most recent peak in 2009.

It is true that Trump has overseen the unemployment rate reach a 16-year low – it’s just too early to credit his policies alone as the genesis for the drop.

Trump ‘created over 1.7 million jobs since being elected’

In the 11 monthly jobs reports issued since Trump won last year’s presidential election, roughly 1.65 million jobs have been created, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The White House says even Trump’s election spurred job creation among employers, even though Obama was still in office.

A more traditional measure – the number of jobs created while Trump has been in office – puts the figure at 1.1 million. But using the comparable data set to what Sanders cited, Trump has overseen the creation of 1.65 million jobs compared to 2.09 million jobs under Obama, in the final 11 monthly jobs reports issued during his tenure.

CNN’s Zach Cohen contributed to this report.