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Trump Lied, The Truth Died

Donald Trump Shrug

Donald Trump took to Twitter once again this morning, and once again, tweeted out something that was utterly false and based on something he saw either on Twitter or Fox News Channel. It all started shortly after six this morning when Trump took to Twitter to allege that President Obama was responsible for releasing 122 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who had reconnected with their terrorist contacts and were “on the field of battle:”

 

As with many previous Trump claims, this one apparently started with a report on Fox News Channel, apparently via the Twitter feed of Fox & Friends, the network’s weekday morning show:

 

As it turns out, though, this Tweet was false on many levels

  • According to a September 2016  report by the Director of National Intelligence, there were some 693 people who have been released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay since it began taking in War On Terror prisoners in the wake of the September 11th attacks;
  • Of those 693, intelligence indicates that the vast majority of those released (485) have not re-engaged and have not returned to the field of battle, while 122 are definitively known to have returned to previous terror-related activities, and 86 may have returned to the field of battle;
  • Of the 122 who definitively known to have returned to the field of battle, 113 were released under the Administration of President George W. Bush and 9 were released under the Administration of Barack Obama;
  • Of the 86 who may have returned to the field of battle, 75 were released by the Bush Administration and 11 were released by the Obama Administration;

In other words, and contrary to the claim that Trump made in his early morning Tweet, it is the Bush Administration that was responsible for releasing the vast majority of Gitmo prisoners who later returned to participating in terror-related activities. It’s worth noting that the Fox News report that appears to have set off the latest Tweetstorm by the President does not specifically claim that it was the Obama Administration that released the prisoners in question, so it appears that Trump jumped to that conclusion all on his own. It also makes apparent that Trump probably didn’t read the article that the Fox & Friends tweet was linking to since it would have been clear from reading it that they were making no such claim at all. Of course, this fits a pattern for the President, who even as a candidate had a long habit of getting his news not so much from what he reads or sees on television, but from headlines supplemented by whatever his brain decides to insert on its own. In this case, he likely saw the Fox News tweet and, given the fact that he is presently in the habit of blaming his predecessor for everything and only a few days ago accused Obama of bugging the phone lines of Trump Tower in what would have been a violation of the law if it happened the way Trump claimed it did, it was only natural for him to pull Obama out of his hat and add that to the incomplete information he got from Fox News.

As I note above, all of this follows a pattern for Trump, and it’s one we’ve never before in an American President. In the past, it was rare if uncommon for a President to make any public statement at all without having been fully briefed by his staff and having the statement vetted by people in the Communications Office and elsewhere in the White House before it was released to the public. More often than not, the statement would be released via the Communications Office by the Press Secretary rather than the President himself. Part of the reason for this careful process is to ensure that what is being released isn’t inadvertently releasing classified or confidential information, of course, but it also existed to make sure that the information being released or the claims being made are accurate and that the White House and President aren’t, either knowingly or unknowingly, trying to deceive the American people. Additionally, it’s designed to make sure that the Administration itself stays on message and doesn’t step all over the latest policy initiative or otherwise detract from the ostensibly positive news the Administration would like to be getting coverage for.

With Trump and his Twitter feed, that’s all out the window. If it didn’t become obvious during the campaign, it should be blindly obvious now that nobody has any control over Trump and his Twitter habits and that he’s approaching social media with the same stream of consciousness approach that he did long before he was a candidate for President. That fact can be seen in his Tweets this past Saturday when he set off days of news coverage by accusing President Obama of bugging his phone lines before and after the election and then followed it up with tweets about the news that Arnold Schwarzenegger would not be returning to host Celebrity Apprentice after the just-concluded season. This is a sign of a mind that is seemingly incapable of focusing on one thing at a time, incapable of mouthing off on Twitter even when it is quite obviously damaging to his own Administration, and overly obsessed with both social media and untrustworthy sources of news. If this were just your somewhat whacky Uncle Don who spends Thanksgiving talking about what he’s heard from Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin over the previous year it would be one thing. Instead, this is Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, and we’re very likely stuck with him until at least January 2021. I’ll leave it for the reader to decide how bad the consequences of that fact will end up being in the end.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jake says:
  2. al-Alameda says:

    In other words, and contrary to the claim that Trump made in his early morning Tweet, it is the Bush Administration that was responsible for releasing the vast majority of Gitmo prisoners who later returned to participating in terror-related activities. It’s worth noting that the Fox News report that appears to have set off the latest Tweetstorm by the President does not specifically claim that it was the Obama Administration that released the prisoners in question, so it appears that Trump jumped to that conclusion all on his own.

    Trump might truly be the 1st post-WW2, post-modern president in our history.
    He is the perfect president for our A.D.D. addled population: everything is relative, there is no objective reality, facts don’t matter, speaking your mind while showing (even faking) strong emotion is more important than thoughtfulness and consideration.

    He’s the perfect spokesman for 6 Flags Amusement Parks, not so much for the United States of America.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  3. Franklin says:

    @Jake: There are specific posts on OTB about other subjects (including the one you are trying to deflect to). Since you appear incapable of staying on the subject of this post, we’ll assume your admission that Trump is indeed lying again.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  4. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    In other words, and contrary to the claim that Trump made in his early morning Tweet, it is the Bush Administration that was responsible for releasing the vast majority of Gitmo prisoners who later returned to participating in terror-related activities. It’s worth noting that the Fox News report that appears to have set off the latest Tweetstorm by the President does not specifically claim that it was the Obama Administration that released the prisoners in question, so it appears that Trump jumped to that conclusion all on his own.

    Did you read it?
    It does not at all dismiss the possibility that Trump and or his operatives had knowledge tha the Russians were going to try to influence our election – you know, those damaging leaks, stuff like that? Nor does it dismiss the possibility that Trump may have financial interests and entanglements in Russia that could well affect American-Russian relations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    @Jake:

    Admittedly I just skimmed the NR piece to which you linked, but it appears to have…nothing…to…do…with…the…subject…at…hand, which is 122 Gitmo prisoners.

    Does it ever bother you that Trump seems incapable of assimilating and understanding even a headline?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    There is so much complete BS coming from the Republicans…from the orange blob on down the chain…that it’s impossible to keep up.
    Even Jake, the most reliable of mindless sycophants, is still stuck on defending Saturdays lies…he can’t even get to defending today’s lies today.
    Then there is the Republican Obamacare replacement destruction…millions losing insurance but Insurance execs getting a tax cut.
    Look…if Trump is talking, or tweeting, then he is lying. As Letterman said; we have to get past the fact that he is lying and figure out how to protect ourselves.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  7. Moosebreath says:

    @CSK:

    “Does it ever bother you that Trump seems incapable of assimilating and understanding even a headline?”

    Why should it? Jake seems to be in training to emulate him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. Argon says:

    Shouldn’t the title be: “FOX lied, truth died. 72-yo grandpa escapes nurse, gets on internet again”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  9. JohnMcC says:

    To anyone paying attention to ‘conservative media’ there has been no such thing as truth for at least a decade or two. Mr Trump is the end result of a long process.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  10. DrDaveT says:

    Dear sweet Jesu, America has elected Emily Litella president.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Terribly ironic that so many support Trump because he is supposedly not a politician and yet he lies more than any other politician ever could…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  12. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Never mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. EddieInCA(but not today) says:

    CNN/FOX/MSNBC/NPR/CBS/ABC/NBC/AP: Donald J. Trump just shot an unarmed man on 5th Avenue for no reason.

    Trump Supporter #1: Donald Trump pisses off liberals, so I’m okay with him shooting someone.
    Trump Supporter #2: That guy jumped in front of Trump’s bullet, so it’s his own fault.
    Trump Supporter #3: So what, Obama shot thousands of people on 5th Avenue. MSM silent on that. I read it on Brietbart and Drudge.
    Trump Supporter #4: But HIllary’s Emails and BENGHAZI!!!

    Sean Spicer: Today, Donald Trump showed, first hand, how to keep America safe. The shot man could have been a terrorist. He wasn’t – this time. But he could have been. Which only proves what a serious man Donald Trump is.

    KellyAnne Conaway: You say he shot him. That’s your view. Did you SEE him shoot the man? The 20 people who saw it were obviously Obama Supporters trying to bring down this president.

    Donald Trump (via Twitter): Shot man on 5th Avenue. Bad Hombre. Had no choice. He was wearing MAGA hat backwards. Obama’s fault. Sad! P.S. Buy Ivanka

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 0

  14. CSK says:

    @EddieInCA(but not today):

    Excellent, but you forgot Trump Supporter #5: “This is fake news.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. Joe says:

    With every tweet, the United States President’s impact and importance die a little more. We start this Administration with the news reporting what the President says and we will soon have only the President reporting what the news says (at least certain “news”). Soon, no one will care what the President says about anything as they realize more and more how meaningless he is.

    Look at the bright side: this will surely undermine the imperial presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    And we haven’t even gotten to the orange-blob doing business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    And here’s a great explainer about how the baby-king is going to bumble his way into war with China and N. Korea…which is the perfect cover he needs for his failing and flailing so-called presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Terribly ironic that so many support Trump because he is supposedly not a politician and yet he lies more than any other politician ever could…

    This is an important point. Trump has pioneered something which I’ve come to call a “sky is red” lie. The classic example (and I never tire of mentioning it) is when he claimed the defunct Trump Steaks were still on the market by holding up a steak bearing the label of a different company.

    That’s the essence of the Trump lie. It has two primary characteristics: (1) He’ll lie about anything, even something trivial that he has no good reason to lie about other than that the truth is a blow to his galactic-sized ego (2) His lies are always plainly false and moronically easy to disprove.

    Normal politicians simply don’t do this. They lie, they even tell whoppers, but they usually try to avoid doing it in a blatant or obvious way. The most bizarre thing about Trump’s lies isn’t just their sheer quantity–though that’s part of it–but that he does it as if he doesn’t care whether he’ll get away with it or not. That’s why his statement about shooting someone on 5th avenue is so revealing. The chief difference between him and a normal politician is that he does what they do in broad daylight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Dumb Brit says:

    Seems like POTUS is trying to Make America Grate Again

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The link:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/a-major-geopolitical-crisis-is-brewing-in-north-korea.html
    This administration has been a raging dumpster fire from day one…there is zero indication they can handle an actual crisis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Franklin says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Was just telling my co-worker that he’ll start a war a month or two before the next Presidential election and hope the usual wartime surge of popularity carries him over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Franklin:

    Was just telling my co-worker that he’ll start a war a month or two before the next Presidential election

    He won’t get that far…we will be at war before the year is out…likely before summer is over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. SenyorDave says:

    @Kylopod: The chief difference between him and a normal politician is that he does what they do in broad daylight.

    And in addition to the lying, we have a president who is actually selling access to his presidency out in the open. That’s why he’s in Mar a lago every weekend, he wants his $200k per year members to get what they are paying for. Assuming he lasts the year, I would imagine that 2018 memberships will increase sharply, maybe he’ll double the cost again to $400k. Why not? And the added bonus is you get cabinet officials as a freebie! Apparently Jeff Sessions doubles as a greeter, maybe he can get a job as a Walmart greeter if Trump goes down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  24. CSK says:

    @Franklin:

    My guess is that he wouldn’t wait till 2020 to start a war if he felt his incumbency was really threatened. Or his masculine self-image.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @JohnMcC:

    To anyone paying attention to ‘conservative media’ there has been no such thing as truth for at least a decade or two. Mr Trump is the end result of a long process.

    This.

    A thousand times this.

    Those who still call themselves GOP have chosen to ignore facts and truth some time ago.

    Truthiness.. We’ve known about it since 2005.

    Embrace it GOP. These lies are you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Dumb Brit:

    Seems like POTUS is trying to Make America Grate Again

    So… no shredded cheese?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    “Seems like POTUS is trying to Make America Grate Again

    So… no shredded cheese?”

    And logs in every fireplace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. dennis says:

    @EddieInCA(but not today):

    Haha! That was excellent, Eddie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Jake: Jake if you can link to an article that has nothing to do with the post, so can I…here is an article about Trump the crook breaking the law, doing business with corrupt foreigners and helping Iranian terrorists make money.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Terrye Cravens:..Excellent idea Terrye.
    Here we have Jake’s Role Model demonstrating proper dating etiquette to his stooges.

    “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”
    “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
    “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
    “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

    http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/donald-trump-on-getting-women-grab-them-by-the-pussy-1787545407

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Hal_10000 says:

    Stuff like this is the biggest reason I couldn’t vote for Trump. Presidents lie, sometimes by mistake, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by selective use of numbers, sometimes outright. You can consult Politifact or the WaPo to find numerous instances of Obama lying or Clinton lying or Bush lying or whoever.

    But Trump is in a different category altogether. He lies constantly, massively and repeatedly. He says things that aren’t just wrong but laughable (e.g., 90 million unemployed). He doesn’t care about the truth. He is, in the words of Harry Frankfurt, a BSer, someone who just says whatever and has no interest in whether it’s connected to the truth or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. Mr. Bluster says:

    test

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Terrye Cravens:..Excellent idea Terrye.
    Here we have Jake’s Role Model demonstrating proper dating etiquette to his stooges.

    “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”
    “I did try and fvck her. She was married.”
    “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
    “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

    http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/donald-trump-on-getting-women-grab-them-by-the-pussy-1787545407

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Hal_10000:..He lies constantly, massively and repeatedly.

    If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
    Attributed to Adolph Hitler

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. Hal_10000 says:

    @Mr. Bluster:

    Yeah, but I tend to be dubious of attributing n-dimensional chess to Trump’s political actions or statements. Human being are pattern-seekers. In politics, we’re used to a politician having a philosophy or a strategy. And so we naturally assume Trump has one as well. Maybe he does. But it seems to me that he just spouts off random crap. And our attempts to read something strategic into it are the political equivalent of seeing Jesus’s face in a slice of burnt toast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. de stijl says:

    Doug Mataconis:

    It’s worth noting that the Fox News report that appears to have set off the latest Tweetstorm by the President does not specifically claim that it was the Obama Administration that released the prisoners in question, so it appears that Trump jumped to that conclusion all on his own.

    As did everyone who reads the Fox & Friends twitter feed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  37. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Hal_10000:..But it seems to me that he just spouts off random crap. And our attempts to read something strategic into it are the political equivalent of seeing Jesus’s face in a slice of burnt toast.

    You may find some degree of solace in this analysis of President Pud’s behavior.
    I do not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. SC_Birdflyte says:

    The classic theory is: Make sure you control the narrative. The problem is that DT confuses “the narrative” (which presupposes a pretty complete knowledge of the facts) with “what I want my followers to believe.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. KM says:

    @de stijl :
    There’s a reason the Thanks, Obama meme took off like it did. They always blame him even when not explicitly blaming him. For gods sake, they think he’s still running a shadow government to undermine Trump (the deep state nonsense) because it’s ALWAYS Obama’s fault in FOX world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0