Trump Awarded ‘Lie Of The Year’ For Third Time In Five Years

For the third time since 2015, Donald Trump gets Politifact's "Lie Of The Year."

For the third time in the past five years, President Trump has won the “Lie Of The Year” award from Politifact thanks to a bald-faced lie he told, and keeps repeating, with respect to the Ukraine scandal and ongoing investigation:

A lie from President Donald Trump has been crowned “Lie of the Year” for a historic third time.

PolitiFact, a nonprofit U.S. political fact-checking site, announced Monday that the award for 2019 goes to Trump’s claim that the anonymous whistleblower reported his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky “almost completely wrong.” Trump’s conduct and requests on that call are now at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Since the Sept. 26 release of the whistleblower complaint, the president has claimed more than 80 times that the complaint is “fake, fraudulent, incorrect, ‘total fiction,’ ‘made up,’ and ‘sooo wrong,'” PolitiFact reported.

Despite the president’s repeated insistence that the report was filled with lies, the anonymous whistleblower actually got the call “almost completely” right, the fact-checking site’s managing editor, Katie Sanders, wrote.

“We know this from the very record of the call the president released. We know this from testimony under oath from career diplomats and other officials. And the president and his allies have told reporters that Trump did what the whistleblower suggested — urged the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.”

In a video announcement featuring the site’s executive director, Aaron Sharockman, and Sanders, Sharockman explained that each December they selected the “most significant falsehood of the calendar year.”

“This is something that… makes you angry, it’s kind of ridiculous, it threatens democracy, it’s something so significant that we want to reflect on it and hopefully avoid it in the future,” he said.

“Lie of the Year” is the only time the site will use the word “lie.”

The distinction with the claim that receives the award is that it proves to be of genuine consequence and undermines an accurate narrative, Sanders explained.

More from Politifact:

President Donald Trump started the morning of Sept. 20 dismissing headlines about someone who blew the whistle on a phone call he had with the president of Ukraine. The call, he tweeted, was “pitch perfect.”

Later that morning, Trump and first lady Melania opened the White House for a day of ceremony with Australia’s prime minister and his wife. Before their dinner of sunchoke ravioli and Dover sole, the four sat in the Oval Office as reporters asked Trump about the whistleblower’s account.

“It’s a ridiculous story. It’s a partisan whistleblower,” Trump said, though he added he didn’t know who it was and hadn’t read the complaint. 

Since the Sept. 26 release of the whistleblower complaint about his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump has insisted more than 80 times that the whistleblower’s account is fake, fraudulent, incorrect, “total fiction,” “made up,” and “sooo wrong.” 

On Oct. 5 he tweeted that the “second hand information ‘Whistleblower’ got my phone conversation almost completely wrong.”

“Everything he wrote in that report, almost, was a lie,” Trump told reporters Nov. 8.

“The whistleblower defrauded our country, because the whistleblower wrote something that was totally untrue,” he said to the approval of supporters at a rally Dec. 10 in Hershey, Pa.

Despite what Trump claims, the whistleblower got the call “almost completely” right.

We know this from the very record of the call the president released. We know this from testimony under oath from career diplomats and other officials. And the president and his allies have told reporters that Trump did what the whistleblower suggested — urged the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joe Biden. Their argument is that there was nothing inappropriate or unreasonable about it. Trump on Oct. 3 asked China to look at Biden and his son, Hunter, too.

Every year, PolitiFact editors review the year’s most flagrant inaccuracies in search of a significant false claim that can be elevated to Lie of the Year. 

The distinction is awarded to a statement that is more than ridiculous and wrong. The Lie of the Year — the only time PolitiFact uses the word “lie” — speaks to a falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.

The whistleblower, who to Trump’s consternation remains unidentified, raised the concern that the president’s actions leading up to and on that phone call amount to interference in the coming presidential election. Agree or disagree with the conclusion, or whether the president’s conduct warrants impeachment, the actions described in the complaint stand up to factual scrutiny.

The claim that the whistleblower got his phone call “almost completely wrong” is PolitiFact’s 2019 Lie of the Year.

This is the third time that Trump has won the “Lie of the Year” award since he became a candidate for President. The first came in 2015 and was given not so much for a specific lie but for the plethora of lies that he had repeated numerous times on the campaign trail in just the first six months of his campaign. The second came in 2017 for his repeated efforts to deny that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 Presidential election notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence, including the evidence from all of the nation’s intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, that showed that the President’s denials were inaccurate.

This particular lie is, of course, one that Republicans have repeated numerous times themselves even as the evidence showing that the basically all of the important allegations in the whistleblower’s complaint have been proven true by the transcript of the July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky and by the documentary and witness evidence that was revealed during the course of the hearings before the House Intelligence Committee. It’s a lie that the President and his acolytes continue to repeat. It’s not the only impeachment-related lie we’ve heard from this crowd, of course, but it was the first and it is largely behind the efforts by Republicans to continue to skirt the edges of the whistleblower law by seeking to reveal the whistleblower’s identity, or force him or her to testify regardless of the fact that, at this point, their identity and their testimony is largely irrelevant since we have in hand the first-person testimony of numerous witnesses confirming the contents of the report.

This lie on the part of the President is hardly surprising, of course. This is, after all, the same man who had repeated more than 13,400 lies by the time he reached his 1,000th day in office back in October. It’s a man for whom lying with the same ease that the rest of us slip on a comfortable pair of shoes. What’s perhaps most surprising, I guess, is that he didn’t win ‘Lie of the Year’ for 2016 or 2018. In 2016, the distinction went to the false news phenomenon, which of course was a large part of the methodology behind the Russian campaign interference operation. In 2018, it went to the efforts by some groups to smear the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School who had taken up advocacy for gun control. Nonetheless, the fact that we have a President who has received this “honor” three times now in just five years is, quite honestly, depressing.

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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. Kathy says:

    This is so fake news. he clearly should have won the other two years as well. The system is rigged against the honest liar!

  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This is, after all, the same man who had repeated more than 13,400 lies by the time he reached his 1,000th day in office back in October.

    He has now cleared 15,000.
    No matter…Republicans still bow down to him.
    My favorite is that his daughter has created 14M jobs, by herself.
    Anyone who supports this clown is a moron. Full stop.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I was curious how it was possible Trump didn’t get five straight so I looked. Turns out 2016 went to “fake news” generally and 2018 to smears against the Parkland students. These were sort of collective things, so at least no other individual has beaten Trump at lying.

  4. CSK says:

    Some time last week I read a survey showing that most of the members of Cult45 like Trump more for his behavior–the crudeness, buffoonery, mendacity, cruelty, and vulgarity–than they do for his alleged accomplishments. They identify with him. Trump is, they say, just like them.

    God help us.

  5. Kurtz says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Yes, I think they are stupid too. Well, the ones who believe his lies.

    Some, though, have ulterior motives for supporting him. There are different words for those– ranging from selfish to fuckstick to idealogue to evil.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz: We need to distinguish between professional Republicans and voters, the scammers and the marks.

    The voters feel a tribal affiliation; makers/takers, traditional Christian morality/other, nationalism/globalism, a natural order/equality, and underlying everything white/non-white. They believe Trump’s lies because it makes them feel good.

    Some of the professionals have the same feelings, conservatives believe their own BS. But mostly they cynically seized on and amplified the cultural affiliation of the voters. Mostly the pros have your ulterior motives, career and power. This includes the large donors. When talking about the pros, believing or not believing Trump’s lies is a category error. They think in terms of what will work for them and what won’t.

  7. President Comacho says:

    A major award. …fragile

  8. Kathy says:

    I’ve a sneaking suspicion that some Dennison supporters like him because he’s stupid, boorish, crude, et. He’s the elite they can look down on.

  9. CSK says:

    @Kathy: Then on the other hand, there’s the crew over at, who believe Trump is the smartest, most virtuous, most ethical president we’ve ever had. Savior!

  10. Kurtz says:


    Your comment is spot on.

    I think that the American people, as a whole, have shitty critical thinking skills.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    @President Comacho:

    A major award. …fragile

    You’ll shoot your eye out.

  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    I think that the American people, as a whole, have shitty critical thinking skills.

    I think about this a lot.
    For decades we have heard, primarily from the Right, that a Liberal Arts Education is worthless…people need to learn to get a job. We have made learning to take “the test” the only requirement for a HS Education.
    And everyone who fought against these things, primarily on the Left, was poo-pooed.
    But you are right…today Americans cannot think critically.
    And these things are related.

  13. Kurtz says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    John Dewey was considered a public enemy by the Right for advocacy of critical thinking.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    At risk of riding this hobby horse into the ground, we cannot teach critical thinking in schools because critical thinking leads away from religion.

    It is not an accident that the bulk of Trump’s support comes from the least intellectual, most primitive iterations of Christianity. A big part of this is evangelicals who’ve been praying to Jesus and done nothing but lose ground. They are in effect keeping the title ‘Christian” while abandoning Christ for Trump. They are desperate, so desperate that they’ll resort to idolatry.