Lies and The Lying Liar in Chief—Trump Sets ‘Sad’ 6-Month Record
By his sixth month in office, President Donald Trump averaged 4.9 “false or misleading” statements per day for a total of 836 misstatements, alternative facts, or lies, according to the Washington Post‘s running scorecard, The Fact Checker.
Today marks the president’s six month anniversary in the Oval Office. The Post published a “Greatest Hits” countdown of Trump’s most frequently repeated false claims in celebration.
Glenn Kessler and his fellow reporters explain that the reason they chose “most repeated” over “most false” is because this president does something almost unique in political history: when a claim is proved to be incorrect, the president almost always repeats it, sometimes more vehemently. “Many politicians will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the same claim over and over,” Kessler writes.
The Fact Checker is an interactive database instead of a series of articles written to examine each example of a president’s lies as it appears because the volume of the president’s misstatements and false claims has outstripped the Post’s capabilities, by the staff’s own admission: “We decided to compile this list because the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up.”
On three occasions, the president has topped 25 lies in a single day: in March, in June, and one day last week. The average retail sales associate may not have the opportunity to ask “How may I help you?” that many times on a busy day.
The Top Five
- Forty-four times thus far in his presidency, and as recently as yesterday, Trump has claimed that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is dead, dying, about to die. He had not yet balanced any of these clams with even one statement of what a better health care system might look like in the future.
- Thirty times, he has asserted that “jobs are coming back,” contrary to evidence, or has taken personal credit for business deals that were agreed to by the previous administration but implemented in this calendar year.
- Nineteen times, but not since May, the president has stated that he arranged a reduction in price for the Defense Department’s Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The price reduction was the result of negotiations between the Defense Department and Lockheed that took place before last year’s election. The most frequent version of the claim comes in a moment of false modesty in the president’s speeches: “I won’t talk about how much I saved you on the F-35 fighter jet. I won’t even talk about it.”
- NATO member nations agreed in 2014 to cease cutting defense spending and each nation pledged to spend at least two percent of its gross domestic product on defense appropriations. This was two years before the presidential election, yet president Trump has taken credit 17 times thus far for NATO members increasing their spending. He tends to make NATO sound like a scofflaw that has relied on the United States for hand-outs and bail-outs, instead of an organization that has self-imposed a mutual spending increase worth $13 billion in 2017 alone: “And you know, I’ve been pretty hard on some of the members of NATO for not [meeting their financial obligations], and the money is pouring in. I can tell you.”
- Fourteen times, the president has claimed that ongoing investigations into his election campaign’s curious relationship with Russian officials amount to nothing more than “fake news.” This one may start to climb the charts as the summer months wear on.
A president’s relationship with his own rhetoric is never “fake news.” This president’s apparent disdain for statements of fact when they contradict his own preferred facts, his incessant need for his authority to be recognized and celebrated even when he obviously does not know what he is talking about, his belief that his own assertion of a claim is what makes it a fact are what give us almost 4.9 lies a day.
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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