Facts? Donald Trump Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Facts

Welcome To The Donald Trump Campaign. Where the facts are made up, and the truth doesn't matter.

Trump Nixon V

In an exchange with Bill O’Reilly Monday night, Donald Trump summed up so much of his Presidential campaign in one short statement:

File this in the already-knew-it-but-can’t-believe-he-said-it category: Donald Trump doesn’t fact-check his tweets.

On Fox News Channel on Monday night, “O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly called out the Republican presidential candidate for a bunch of bogus homicide statistics he retweeted over the weekend. The stats, which grossly inflated the rate at which black people kill white people, have been thoroughlydebunked and widely labeled as race baiting.

Here’s the Tweet in question:

Trump’s response when O’Reilly correctly pointed out just how bogus these statistics are? Well, here it is:

O’Reilly: This bothered me, I gotta tell ya. You tweeted out that whites killed by blacks — these are statistics you picked out from somewhere — at a rate of 81 percent. And that’s totally wrong. Whites killed by blacks is 15 percent, yet you tweeted it was 81 percent. Now …

Trump: Bill, I didn’t tweet, I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert, and it was also a radio show.

O’Reilly: Yeah, but you don’t wanna be. … Why do you want to be in that zone?

Trump: Hey, Bill, Bill, am I gonna check every statistic? I get millions and millions of people, @RealDonaldTrump, by the way.

O’Reilly: You gotta, you’re a presidential contender, you gotta check ’em.

Trump: I have millions of people. You know what? Fine. But this came out of radio shows and everything else.

O’Reilly: Oh, come on, radio shows?

Trump: Excuse me. All it was, was a retweet.

Or, as Homer Simpson put it:

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Todd says:

    I’m sure most of us know a few Trump supporters. They’re the type who get mad and accuse you of “spreading liberal propaganda” if you direct them to a site like snopes or politifact in response to their own sharing of similarly bogus graphics. So yes, at least when it comes to playing to his base, actual facts don’t matter in the least.

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    What is even the point of Bill O’Reilly challenging Donald Trump on the facts? It’s just a signal from Roger Ailes to Fox viewers that Trump = bad.

    I’m more curious why they are sending it. Does Fox fear Trump the candidate’s effect on the GOP or does it actually not want a fascist running for President?

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Trump doesn’t care about facts. Trump is blowing dog whistles for extremists.

  4. Pch101 says:

    This is the byproduct of the sort of #AllOpinionsMatter anti-intellectualism that exists in every culture but is embraced by a considerable number of Americans. Facts aren’t necessary when we have gut feelings and conspiracy theories and rhetoric to serve in their place.

    We don’t need to have a Ministry of Truth to rewrite history — plenty of people do it on their own. It may not help that we tell our schoolkids that “there are no stupid questions.” Yes, there really are questions that are stupid if you deliberately ignore the facts and can’t be bothered to learn how to do some research for yourself.

  5. Franklin says:

    @Todd: Surprisingly, no one I know has ‘come out’ as a Trump supporter. Could be because most of my older generation relatives have passed on, and the fact that I avoid Facebook like the plague.

  6. JohnMcC says:

    There’s a wonderful example in this mornings NYTimes of Our Donald not letting facts get in his way. Seems he built a golf resort on an island (Lowes Island) in the Potomac. He put a memorial overlooking the river with a plaque honoring the fallen US and Confederate soldiers who died there in such numbers that the Potomac became “a river of blood”.

    But it never happened. Several university historians and ‘local historians’ were quoted saying nothing of consequence happened there.

    They quote Mr Trump thus: “That was a prime site for river crossings,” Mr Trump said. “So if people are crossing the river and you happen to be in a civil war I would say that people were shot — a lot of them.”

    What could be more clear?


  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I read a fascinating notion: Trump is using the “Drunken Monkey” style of rhetoric — he seems to stagger around randomly, but achieves his goal by getting people to talk about the subject. Those already invested in hating Trump will immediately bring up the real numbers, and those not invested in hating Trump will see those real numbers and see that, for all the hysteria about racism, a black person is 11 times more likely to be killed by another black person than a white person.

    Link that to notions like how you’re more likely to be killed by furniture than a terrorist, and the “black lives matter” mess starts to look just a wee bit overblown. Which is a shame, because it lumps real problem cases like Chicago in with the BS ones like Ferguson.

    But Doug, if you like stories in this vein (and want to show that you’re really, really not in the tank for Hillary), here’s the AP showing that Hillary completely made shit up about gun violence.

    Nah. You’re too busy establishing your libertarian credentials by trashing Republicans and conservatives at every opportunity, citing authoritative sources like Mother Jones, and talking about how you’d be willing to vote for a Socialist. You can’t be bothered.

    You can’t even bother to correct your piece about how CNN selectively edited Trump’s talk about that “Muslim database.”

  8. Bill Lefrak says:

    That black on black homicide stat truly is staggering. Decades of leftism as policy in the big cities. Welfare. Affirmative action. Big spending. But a virulent opposition to vouchers. Drugs. Revolving door courts. Lockstep voting for the Daleys, O’Malleys, Dinkinses and of course the Rahm Emanuels of the world. The irony will be lost on much of the punditocracy.

    Trump is an amazing phenomenon. It says quite a bit that apparently so many people support this farce of a candidacy. A symbol of the nation’s decline.

    A Park Avenue trust funder and multi-decade Manhattan Democrat / Bloomberg Republican. Socially liberal. Inherited wealth. Very limited talents, unless you count bankruptcy filings as a talent. His father was a real talent, but that’s kinda the whole point. Cocktail parties. Ski vacaycays in Aspen and Vail. The effete trust fund liberal NYC demographic, but with a ghastly twist. He’s decided to be this generation’s Pat Buchanan. A rabble rouser. Utterly clueless. Tapping into one of the worst overall demographics in the entire body politic: the GOP’s addled primary selectorate. Ultimately he might wind up being this generation’s Ross Perot, too, either directly or indirectly. Thereby electing the final nail in the coffin.

    The future is bleak.

  9. Modulo Myself says:


    But Trump raises a good point:

    “How would they know that?” Mr. Trump asked when told that local historians had called his plaque a fiction. “Were they there?”

    History is bunk. Golf is real.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @Modulo Myself: Wow, what a brilliant mind. Using Mr. Trump’s logic, we can get rid of a huge swath of history! The fall of the Roman Empire, the invasion of England by the Normans, the death of Jeanne d’Arc….

    Come to think of it, what evidence do we have that the Civil War ever happened in the first place?

  11. Modulo Myself says:

    @grumpy realist:

    He’s for taking history and placing it in everything Trump. What do the historians know about classy luxurious Trump-endorsed products anyway?

  12. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    BS ones like Ferguson.

    The justice department report showed a clear, systemic pattern of abuse directed at black folks in Ferguson by the police/criminal justice system there. Sorry, but having a not particularly bright white boy dismiss the problem on the internet does not make it go away.

  13. anjin-san says:

    Hey Jenos, what’s the body count on the Ebola epidemic in the US anyway? We better ban travel from Africa while we still have some freedom of action left!

    Now say something about my guns – you can have a cookie if you do…

  14. CSK says:

    If you look at sites where the Trumpistas gather, he’s already convinced them that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims poured through the streets of Jersey City. It didn’t happen–but all Trump had to do was say he saw it.That’s all that’s necessary. He says something; the groupies buy it. Anything.

    That is very scary.

  15. al-Ameda says:

    Trump is no fool, he knows that the Republican base does not care much what the facts are. He knows that base Republicans dismiss out-of-hand facts that do not emanate from preferred ideological sources.

    Trump and other Republican candidates have figured out that they do not have to answer questions that might lead them to facing uncomfortable facts, or owning outright lies – all they have to do now is accuse the questioner of political correctness.

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You’re absolutely right, annie. Because some cops had been bad in Ferguson, we should have convicted Wilson, even though he did nothing wrong that time. He probably did something wrong previously.

    And just why do you feel the need to own your guns, anyway, annie? I wasn’t planning on bringing that up, but 1) you went off-topic with the Ebola, and 2) there’s a cookie involved.

  17. WR says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: How sweet. A response from our own little Trump Junior.

  18. Tony W says:

    @anjin-san: You just don’t get it. the Ebola victims were quietly killed and buried during Jade Helm.

  19. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Trump is using the “Drunken Monkey” style of rhetoric — he seems to stagger around randomly, but achieves his goal by getting people to talk about the subject.

    Trump is business savvy. He has figured out that the best way to build his brand is to sell deeply to the demographic that wants he is peddling, not to attempt to broaden his market by making inroads with those who oppose or are skeptical of him.

    In his particular case, this benefits him more than most since the rabid populists like that kind of rhetoric. (One person’s crazy talk is a whackjob’s “straight talk.”)

    Every time that Trump says something absurd, the negative responses from both liberals and establishment conservatives signal to his fan club that he must be doing something right.

    That sort of bile is ultimately a weakness because he probably can’t win over the middle in a general election, but I doubt that he really wants the job — this is partly for sport, partly for a media deal. (I fully expect this to result in a book deal and a TV show — don’t be surprised if there is an effort to produce a “Political Apprentice” type show from this.)

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Pch101: I don’t see any contradiction between what you say and what I said. I wouldn’t be impossible for both theories to have a certain level of accuracy.

    Buy hey — look what Trump’s accomplished. Eric Holder said we needed a national discussion on race, and now we’re having one. Trump got people to notice and acknowledge that blacks are more than 11 times more likely to be killed by another black person than a white person. So there’s that…

  21. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Trump got people to notice and acknowledge that blacks are more than 11 times more likely to be killed by another black person than a white person.

    When I read “revelations” like that, my first response is “there’s a guy who hasn’t taken a statistics class.”

    Contrary to the claim made on Trump’s GIF file, most whites are murdered by whites. Yet I don’t see white folks apologizing or fretting about the epidemic of white-on-white crime.

    Crime generally takes place within communities. Criminals victimize those who are convenient to victimize. Why should anyone be surprised that a gang member in Watts is more likely to kill a rival from a few blocks away than he is to slay a farmer in Vermont?

  22. Guarneri says:

    I’d check Trumps “facts” but I’m too busy dodging sniper fire, prosecuting incendiary YouTube video makers and perfecting my genuine black, or southern or whatever dialect……..

  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: OK, let’s play with those numbers.

    A white person is twice as likely to be killed by a black person than a black person is to be killed by a white person. So shouldn’t whites be twice as worried about interracial killings than blacks?

    Me, I’m worried about something far more dangerous. And I’ve seen a hell of a lot more black or brown couches than I’ve seen white ones…

  24. Pch101 says:

    It’s easy to abuse statistics when you don’t understand them.

  25. Pete S says:

    It is kind of ironic, Trump complains about political correctness but that is all that is keeping mainstream reporters from calling him a chronic luar.

  26. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pete S: Trump complains about political correctness but that is all that is keeping mainstream reporters from calling him a chronic luar.

    That certainly has been a godsend for Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton…

  27. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: The FBI numbers say that 8% of blacks killed are killed by whites, while 15% of whites killed are killed by blacks. So yeah, it’s not 100% higher, it’s 87.5% higher, but close enough for casual conversation.

    Let me see if I can put it precisely: if you’re white and killed, the odds that your killer will be a black person are very nearly twice they are for a black person to be killed by a white person.

    Note I am not offering any kind of opinion or judgment, just looking at the numbers and noting what they say.

  28. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian

    As I will note for the third time, a failure to understand statistics will lead to faulty conclusions.

    The numbers aren’t telling you anything. What you are hearing is the voice inside your head that is determined to misinterpret them.


  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: So, I’m wrong because you said so three times? Feel free to explain why I’m wrong. Or to shut up. To keep saying “you’re wrong because I say you’re wrong” is… well the kind of thing I’ve come to expect from a couple of the regular idiots. Try to uphold a higher standard.

  30. dazedandconfused says:

    My pet theory that he’s only in it for free publicity and doesn’t actually want the job purrs contentedly…

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: Eh, you tie a statistic to a chair and beat it with a hose and it’ll mean anything you want it to.

  32. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Actually, no. Whites outnumber blacks in the U.S. by a ratio of 5 to 1. So although in general, murder takes place within a community (so blacks tend to murder blacks, and whites tend to murder whites), the average black person is 5 times more likely to encounter a white person than a white person to encounter a black person. Yet since the actual statistics are that 7.5% of black people are killed by whites, and 15% of whites are killed by blacks, blacks only kill whites at a rate of 2 times more frequently than whites kill blacks, instead of 5 times you should expect if it were based on probability of encounter. Black people thus have far more to fear from violent whites than the reverse.

  33. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m wrong because you said so three times?

    No, you would be wrong whether or not I was pointing it out. Your failures to understand the topic have nothing to do with me, I’m just helping to show that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    There are a lot of data points that could be examined. The fact that you have decided to look at only one factor at the exclusion of all of the other factors tells me more about you than it does about the data.

    For one, it tells me that you don’t know anything about statistics, because someone with a working knowledge of the subject would know not to do that. You should be examining many factors, not just one.

    For another, it tells me about your politics because you’ve decided to stop inquiring when you heard what you wanted to hear. (This is called “selection bias.”) You’ve decided that race is the be-all, end-all of this subject, and you will cherry pick accordingly.

    I already gave you a hint above as to what is relevant. Violent crime victimization correlates strongly with exposure to poverty. Blacks are more likely to be poor, but poor whites and poor blacks tend to be victimized by violent crime at roughly equal rates. Go ahead and connect those dots if you can.

  34. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Or another way to put it: in 2013, 1 in every 200,000 black people was killed by a white person, vs. 1 in every 480,000 white people was killed by a black person.

  35. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Since you asked, the math works like this–a fifteen percent chance of getting killed is 1 in 7 odds; to have your chance double, the odds need to be 2 in seven. The 8 percent chance is one in 12.5 odds. One in 12.5 is not equal to 2 in 7. There may be another statistical term that will match your needs, but odds isn’t it.

    (By the way, buying two lottery tickets doesn’t double your chance of winning either.)

  36. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Monala: I tried to phrase it carefully, to reflect that I was talking purely percentages, and not absolute numbers. Let me try that again:

    Going strictly by percentages, which is the data cited at Politifact, the odds of a white person’s killer is black is twice as likely as a black person’s killer is white. In both cases, the likelihood that the killer is the same race as the victim is overwhelmingly high.

    To say that I’m wrong because I’m not using the absolute numbers is incorrect. I am deliberately not talking in absolute numbers, so I can be neither right or wrong.

  37. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Not only do you not understand what “odds” are, but you don’t realize that you don’t know and you clearly unwilling to learn. Hence, my earlier comment about your lack of understanding of the subject.

  38. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You’re still incorrect, based on percentages and not raw numbers. Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker talked about odds above; 1 in 7 murders of white people are committed by blacks (vs. 1 in 12.5 murders of black people are committed by whites). That’s of the people who are murdered, not of all white people or all black people. When you look at the population as a whole, in percentages, black people are more likely to be killed by a white person than the reverse.

  39. Pch101 says:


    I believe that one of the problems here is that he is confusing the likelihood of being a perpetrator with the likelihood of being a victim, while jumbling together a bunch of concepts as he attempts to find correlations that aren’t there.

    This is too complex to teach to someone over the course of a few posts on the internet, particularly when the recipient is determined not to learn.

  40. anjin-san says:

    Hey, can one of the statistics gurus in here tell me about the probability of a single individual – lets call him Jenos – being publicly humiliated so many times in a single thread on a blog?

  41. Rafer Janders says:


    This is too complex to teach to someone over the course of a few posts on the internet, particularly when the recipient is determined not to learn.

    Or, frankly, too stupid to learn.

  42. Pch101 says:

    This is necessarily incomplete, but here is some 2014 data for single-victim/single-perpetrator homicides in the US.

    (In addition to the fact that one year’s worth of data is admittedly not enough to make general conclusions — sorry but I’m not going to put much time into this — this does not include murders that involved multiple perps or victims or other racial groups, or murders for which the numbers are unknown, so it omits about half of the murders for the year. But here it is, anyway.)

    -There were about 241.9 million whites and 40.3 million blacks in total
    -3021 of the whites and 2451 of the blacks were victims of single murders perpetrated by one assailant, so about 1 in 80k whites and 1 in 16.4k blacks were victims
    -2756 of these single victim/single perpetrator murders were perpetrated by whites and 2693 by blacks, so about 1 out of 88k whites and 1 out of 15k blacks were perpetrators
    -2488 of the murders were white-on-white
    -446 of the murders were black-on-white
    -187 of the murders were white-on-black
    -2207 of the murders were black-on-black

    Based upon this, one can surmise:

    -Blacks murder at much higher rates than whites
    -Blacks are murdered at much higher rates than whites
    -The odds that a black person will kill a white person are about the same of a white person killing a white person (1 out of 97k whites killed a white person; 1 out of 90k blacks killed white person)
    -The odds that a white person will kill a black person are considerably lower than a black person will kill a black person

    Accordingly, there isn’t much reason for whites to particularly fear blacks, as blacks don’t target white victims to any appreciably greater degree than do white perpetrators.

    Blacks have more reason to worry about being murdered, although the deed is most likely to be done by another African-American. Whites disproportionately target other white people.

  43. Pch101 says:

    To append to the above:

    -If you genuinely care about the victims of murder, then you should be most concerned about protecting African-Americans, as they are clearly the most vulnerable members of American society

    -If you just care about white people (and I can think of at least one guy on this thread who probably matches that description), then keeping the focus on blacks isn’t helping your cause, as whites are not particularly threatened by blacks

    Of course, we can see what Trump is doing and what Jenos Idanian is buying into: They paint whites as victims of blacks and blacks as perpetrators, when the facts don’t support that. A more accurate assessment is that the poor are most likely to be victims, which means that blacks are more likely to be the victims and most in need of protection. Of course, that isn’t a compelling argument to a right-wing crank who thinks that black victims are getting what they deserve from their own kind, which is why Trump said what he said.

  44. Stan says:

    I can’t see any point to Jenos Idanian’s comments other than incitement to ethnic hatred. The same goes for LeFrak. What exactly do you guys think you’re accomplishing?

  45. mantis says:

    Jenos is too stupid to understand anything complex and predisposed to racist bias, but thinks he is intelligent and clever. Your basic Trump supporter.

  46. ringhals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “…a black person is 11 times more likely to be killed by another black person than a white person.
    Link that to notions like how you’re more likely to be killed by furniture than a terrorist, and the “black lives matter” mess starts to look just a wee bit overblown.”

    I have to hand it to you, Jenos. You’re a master of the non sequitur and the straw man argument. BLM isn’t about the rate at which white people kill black people or blacks kill whites. It’s about the extrajudicial execution of American citizens by representatives of the state.

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    Wow. Look at the people who had nothing better to do on Thanksgiving than to say how bad a person I am. I thought my life was empty, but that really takes the pumpkin pie.

    @Pch101: I have no intention of contesting any of your points, because they weren’t part of the initial data set. My comments were based entirely on that initial set of statistics, and not intended as any kind of overarching comment.

    @ringhals: I simply linked two recent thoughts from around here, without any actual attempt to draw a conclusion. The “furniture is more dangerous than terrorists” came from here, and the statistic that a black person is far more likely to have been killed by another black person than by a white person was in the “debunking” link our host provided. (I noted that the statistic was labeled “killed” and not “murdered,” so I presume it includes killings ruled legally justifiable, as police killings most often are.) I’m no trained statistician, but it seems to me that “white police officers” would be a subset of “white people,” and that the percentage of killed black people whose killers were white cops would be smaller than the 8% listed in that chart.

    So I made the connection, and found myself wondering how the absolute numbers of “black people killed by furniture” stack up against “black people killed by white cops” stack up. I thought about trying to find those numbers, but I had real plans for Thanksgiving, so instead I whimsically imagined a “Black Lives Matter” march going through a local IKEA and took the day off from politics.

    I thoroughly enjoyed that break, and pity those who couldn’t allow themselves the same.

  48. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I have no intention of contesting any of your points, because they weren’t part of the initial data set. My comments were based entirely on that initial set of statistics, and not intended as any kind of overarching comment.


    Shorter Jenos: I will steadfastly ignore the reality that contradicts my cherrypicking of data to support predetermined, racist conclusions. Tralala!

  49. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I have no intention of contesting any of your points, because they weren’t part of the initial data set. My comments were based entirely on that initial set of statistics, and not intended as any kind of overarching comment.

    Yeah, everyone knows that you got your backside handed to you.

  50. Pch101 says:

    Incidentally, the exercise that I performed above took perhaps two minutes to complete. The US population data came from the US Census (yes, they actually calculate that kind of thing), while the crime data came from the FBI (again, a shock that the national police agency would compile crime statistics.) Calculating ratios based upon those two is just a matter of some basic long division, which was something that you should have learned before you had hair on your chest.

    This isn’t that hard. No consumption of bird, stuffing or cranberry sauce was hindered by this simple bit of Googling and math. If you want to mouth off about stuff, then you should be willing to spend couple of minutes making sure that your ideas aren’t ridiculous, if but for your own sake.

  51. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: For Jenos, being ridiculous is kind of for it’s own sake. It’s what makes us miss him when he’s gone for the periodic trips he makes to wherever he goes for help.

  52. ringhals says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Yes, well, I’m not sure what to make of that word salad, but that and this quote from the “furniture” thread:

    “You wanna see people really, really lose their… stuff? Point out that far, far more black men are killed by other black men than by cops. Ask if black lives matter only when they’re taken by white people. You’ll learn a whole bunch of new synonyms for “racist” in very, very short order.”

    suggests to me that you were drawing a conclusion and that you don’t, or aren’t willing to, consider my point.

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    I still don’t see how what I said was inaccurate, based on the single source cited. Let me put it one more way: if a black person is killed, they are far more likely to have been killed by another black person. Similarly, if a white person is killed, they are almost as likely to have been killed by another white person. Interracial killings are far rarer than intraracial killings, with black-on-white killings a higher percentage than white-on-black killings. That is an entirely accurate interpretation of the statistics Doug initially cited.

    @mantis: I’ve noticed that the vast majority of “Shorter” comments translate as “I don’t want to address what he said, so I’ll pretend he said something else and mock him for something he didn’t say.”

  54. Pch101 says:

    I can see that this guy isn’t smart enough to realize that he is an idiot.

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: Keep telling yourself that, cupcake. Keep reassuring yourself that you’re just so, so much superior. With luck, maybe you’ll actually convince someone else of it, too.

  56. Pch101 says:

    You made an ass of yourself above. Your inability to see it or to learn from the experience isn’t exactly something to brag about.