Trump Keeps Lying, The Truth Keeps Dying

Two years into his Presidency, Donald Trump continues to set the wrong kind of records.

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration, and the guys at The Washington Post Fact Checker blog, who have been keeping track of the President’s lies and misrepresentations since taking office, decided to update their numbers, only to find that the number of the President’s lies over his two years in office continue to reach astounding numbers:

Two years after taking the oath of office, President Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.

That includes an astonishing 6,000-plus such claims in the president’s second year.

Put another way: The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. But he hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year, almost triple the pace.

We started this project as part of our coverage of the president’s first 100 days, largely because we could not possibly keep up with the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements. Readers demanded we keep it going for the rest of Trump’s presidency. Our interactive graphic, managed with the help of Leslie Shapiro of The Washington Post graphics department, displays a running list of every false or misleading statement made by Trump. You can also search for specific claims or obtain monthly or daily totals.

In the first 100 days, the president made 492 unsupported claims. He managed to top that number just in the first three weeks of 2019. In October, as he was barnstorming the country in advance of the midterm elections, he made more than 1,200 false or misleading claims.

Not surprisingly, the biggest source of misleading claims is immigration, with a tally that has grown with the addition of 300 immigration claims in the past three weeks, for a total of 1,433.

(…)

By our count, there were only 82 days — or about 11 percent of the time — on which we recorded no claims. These were often days when the president golfed.

But there were also 74 days, or about 10 percent of his presidency, in which Trump made more than 30 claims. These were often days when he held campaign-style rallies, riffing without much of a script.

Trump has made many misleading claims about the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, claiming 192 times a variation of the statement that it was a hoax perpetuated by Democrats. The CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency had announced that they had “high confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the election, with a clear preference for Trump. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was appointed by Trump’s Justice Department, and the congressional committees investigating the matter have been headed by Republicans.

Trump repeated 127 times the falsehood about securing the biggest tax cut in U.S. history, even though Treasury Department data shows it would rank eighth. And 126 times, he has falsely claimed that the United States has lost money on trade deficits. Countries do not “lose” money on trade deficits. A trade deficit simply means that people in one country are buying more goods from another country than people in the second country are buying from the first country. Trade deficits are also affected by macroeconomic factors, such as currencies, economic growth and savings and investment rates.\\\

Essentially, what this means is that there is barely a day that doesn’t go by where the President does not tell a bald-faced lie or grossly misstated the facts as they are known. This includes situations where he quite simply makes things up out of whole cloth, such as the numerous claims he makes about immigrants or immigration in general. Many of these lies, of course, are situations where it is repeating the same falsehoods over and over again. Every now and then, though, there’s something new that enters his repertoire of lies and ends up getting repeated endlessly. Usually, it’s something he’s seen on one of the many Fox News Channel shows he’s known to watch in the morning and the evening and sometimes, it’s something that clearly came from a piece of propaganda that is being passed around conservative media circles that ends up being completely false. Quite often, those lies filter down to other Administration personnel who repeat what their boss is saying and to Administration spokespersons who defend the President on other cable news networks. Ultimately though, it is the President who is the source of these lies and the one who keeps repeating them time and time again.

Based on the Post’s numbers as of yesterday, the President is averaging roughly 11.16 lies per day over the first two years of his Presidency. This average has increased significantly each time the Post’s fact-checker has reviewed its numbers and seems to be getting worse as the President gets sucked into the pressures of the Mueller investigation, the investigation of the U.S. Attorney in New York, the political pressures created by the Democrats taking over the House of Representatives and the ongoing government shutdown. While this average is likely to increase even more over time, it’s already at an alarming level even for him. For example,  if he maintains this average, he will have told an astounding 16,316 lies for the duration of his first term in office. If he maintains this average over the course of two terms, then he will have told just under 32,632 lies over the course of an eight-year Presidency.  While I’m a rather cynical person when it comes to the tendency of politicians tell the truth, this is an extraordinary number of lies coming from one person and it’s arguably consistent with the type of person who either does not believe he is obliged to tell the truth or that he is simply so used to lying that it comes as easily to him as putting on a pair of shoes. Of course, this should come as no surprise for a man who lied consistently while on the campaign trail and who began his Administration with easily disproven lies about the size of his Inauguration Day crowd as well as spreading false claims that millions of people illegally cast votes for Hillary Clinton in the election, a claim for which he has of course never provided anything close to proof.. From that point forward, the trend was set and we’re now at the point where I’m sure that Glenn Kessler and the rest of the fact checkers at the Post and other similar outfits are glad to have access to a computer that can keep track of the numbers for them.

Given the extent to which he makes things up on the fly, whether it’s during one of his rallies, during an interview, or on Twitter, it’s hardly surprising that the President has faired so badly with the fact-checkers. From the start of his campaign, he’s made false and easily disproven claims about Mexicans and crime, about immigrants in general, about Muslims, and about policy issues ranging from international trade to foreign policy to history. Indeed, it can truly be said there are few politicians in American history who have been quite as skilled as Donald Trump when it comes to being able to lie so easily and so frequently. Additionally, the ease with which he does so makes it seem as though he believes what he’s saying, or that he simply doesn’t care if it’s true or not. It’s a skill he honed during the time he was considered a “celebrity” before becoming a Presidential candidate. Back then, of course, even his most obviously exaggerated claims about his own business success would be slavishly repeated by the media rather investigated to see if they were actually true. If Trump learned from that experience is that it largely did not matter if the claims he made were true or not. For the most part, the people reporting the “news” about Trump back then were not inclined to check just how much of what he said was true. Indeed, given the fact that it was his status as an ostentatious celebrity that caused the public to tune in or buy newspapers and magazines when they covered him, it was not in their interest to deflate him, but rather to build him up since the relationship between celebrities and the media that covers them is largely a symbiotic one where the media benefits by inflating the ego of the celebrity, and the celebrity benefits by letting the media cover him or her.’Throughout his pre-Presidential life, Trump took advantage of that relationship with the media to hype his “brand” even when it meant telling outright and obvious lies that only a handful of reporters bothered to try to verify.

If all of this is starting to sound like a broken record that keeps repeating itself endlessly, that’s because it is. That Donald Trump lies is not news anymore. That he lies with the ease that most of us put our shoes on each day is not shocking. That he tells lies that are so easily disproven doesn’t even appear to bother a large number of people. For those who have given up on him, the lies are just a matter of course. For those who will continue to support him no matter what, the lies are either irrelevant or the people who establish that he is, in fact, lying are agents of the “Deep State,” the “mainstream media,” or they simply ignore them. More concerning, though, is the fact that many of these Trump supporters simply don’t care that the President is lying to them. For some, it’s because they’ve, like many other conservatives long ago locked themselves into the Fox News/conservative media bubble. For other’s those, it’s because they’ve become part of what can only be called a cult of personality that has built up around Trump. These people aren’t going to be persuaded by the truth, heck they wouldn’t be persuaded even if the President were found to have acted in a criminal manner and forced out of office. While there have been Presidents in the past who have been personally popular, especially within their own parties, we’ve never seen this kind of cult of personality before, and it’s own that should concern everyone.

In any case, getting back to the issue at hand, as I’ve said before we’ve established beyond a reasonable doubt that this President is a congenital, habitual liar. Nothing he says can be trusted to be true, nor should it be. The implications this could have for a future crisis of either a domestic or international scope cannot be overstated. After all, if our President can lie so easily about something as trivial as the size of his Inauguration Day crowd, what basis do we have for trust anything he says about any subject?

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    Remember, there’s a downside to everything. Or, as I like to say it sometimes, every silver lining has a cloud.

    This means any policy, regardless of what it intends to accomplish, will have a downside. No one likes downsides, naturally. It’s harder to sell a policy to the voting public if the downsides are advertised in advance. Therefore, politicians will lie, attempting to obscure, obfuscate, or minimize the downsides, which rival politicians, and often the press, will bring up.

    This is the normal type of lying politicians do, not only on both sides, but in every side in every country.

    The upside of a policy is usually the stated objective. Politicians may lie about this, too, but usually only as how great the benefits will be, not about the actual objective. This, too, is “normal.”

    What does it say about a policy, like Trump’s and his base’s immigration policy, that its proponents must lie so much about the objective, the upside, and the downside, and don’t even care whom they damage in the process?

  2. CSK says:

    Trump reminds me of a guy I knew long ago who, if there were nine honest and profitable ways to do business, would invariably pick the tenth dishonest and ultimately unprofitable way. Trump seems to share that pathology. This guy, like Trump, was even mixed up with the Mafia.

    He came to a bad end.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For some, it’s because they’ve, like many other conservatives long ago locked themselves into the Fox News/conservative media bubble. For other’s those, it’s because they’ve become part of what can only be called a cult of personality that has built up around Trump. These people aren’t going to be persuaded by the truth, heck they wouldn’t be persuaded even if the President were found to have acted in a criminal manner and forced out of office.

    Hmmmm…. Maybe those FEMA Re-education Camps conservative conspiracists rant on and on about aren’t such a bad idea after all?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK:

    a guy I knew long ago who, if there were nine honest and profitable ways to do business, would invariably pick the tenth dishonest and ultimately unprofitable way.

    Sounds kinda like my ex-wife. She did 6 years.

  5. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Back when I knew this guy, I wondered if his senior high class had voted him “boy most likely to end up in the trunk of a car with two bullet holes in the back of his head.”

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    It’s Martin Luther King Day. Instead of focusing on Donald Trump, let’s take a moment to remember the contribution of the FBI in trying to get King to kill himself:

    In view of your low grade, abnormal personal behavoir I
    will not dignify your name with either a Mr. or a Reverend or
    a Dr. And, your last name calls to mind only the type of
    King such as King Henry the VIII and his countless acts of
    adultery and immoral conduct lower than that of a beast.

    King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete
    fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes. White
    people in this country have enough frauds of their own but I
    am sure they don’t have one at this time that is any where near
    your equal. You are no clergyman and you know it. I repeat you
    are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that. You
    could not believe in God and act as you do. Clearly you don’t
    believe in any personal moral principles.

    King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could
    have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have
    turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral
    imbecile. We will now have to depend on our older leaders like
    Wilkins a man of character and thank God we have others like
    him. But you are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel
    Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you.
    King, I repeat you are done.

    No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself.
    Lend your sexually psychotic ear to the enclosure. You will find
    yourself and in all your dirt, filth, evil and moronic
    talk exposed on the record for all time. I repeat – no person
    can argue successfully against facts. You are finished. You will
    find on the record for all time your filthy, dirty, evil
    companions, male and females giving expression with you to your
    hidious abnormalities. And some of them to pretend to be ministers
    of the Gospel. Satan could not do more. What incredible evilness.
    It is all there on the record, your sexual orgies. Listen to
    yourself you filthy, abnormal animal. You are on the record. You
    have been on the record – all your adulterous acts, your sexual
    orgies extending far into the past. This one is but a tiny sample.
    You will understand this. Yes, from your various evil playmates
    on the east coast to —– and others on the west coast
    and outside the country you are on the record. King you are done.

    The American public, the church organizations that have been
    helping – Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what
    you are – an evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed
    you. You are done.

    King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know
    what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact
    number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite
    practical significant. You are done. There is but one way out for
    you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self
    is bared to the nation.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/magazine/what-an-uncensored-letter-to-mlk-reveals.html

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I knew a guy in HS who loved to fight. Went out of his way to get into fights. Saw his act once and decided that wherever he went I was gonna leave because sooner or later I would get sucked into that drama and one day it just wouldn’t end well.

    Got cut up real bad at a Strassenfest in downtown STL, died like 3 times on the OR table. That finally got his attention. As far as I know he’s still alive.

  8. Daniel Hill says:

    By our count, there were only 82 days — or about 11 percent of the time — on which we recorded no claims. These were often days when the president golfed.

    You’re assuming the liar-in-chief fills his score card honestly. Then again, maybe he thinks having the most strokes is winning (like he thinks you win a trade war by having the highest tariffs)…

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Hmm…

    I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again.

    How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.
    How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow.
    How long? Not long.

    Truth forever on the scaffold,
    Wrong forever on the throne,
    Yet that scaffold sways the future,
    And, behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God within the shadow,
    Keeping watch above his own.

    How long? Not long,
    Because the arc of the moral universe is long,
    but it bends toward justice.

  10. mike shupp says:

    Don’t worry. Just about all the high school US history and civics texts that will appear in the rest of this century will describe Trump as “controversial” and “forceful,” without explaining in the slightest detail what those adjectives meant. TV newscasts will report at weekly intervals that “Former President Donald Trump, from his retirement home in Florida, had this to say about recent economic developments.” At churches across America, pastors will voice their hopes and expectations to God every Sunday before their congregations with the hope that the Lord Almighty will continue to shower health and wealth and fecund young ladies and all other blessings on our former leader. YouTube will instantly remove videos that denigrate retired politicians in the interests of “harmony” and “civility.” Amazon will not stock biographies written by hostile academics (except on Kindle, of course).

    Truly, this is the Best of Times. Half the country will never believe anything else. And soon enough. there will be no one left in the USA who remembers when Donald Trump was seen as less than a sometimes harsh but necessary transformative leader who made America great again!

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  11. Gustopher says:

    @Ben Wolf: downvoted for poor formatting.

  12. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Hey, as long as he owns the libs, that’s all that matters!

    Librul tears, amirite?

  13. Paul says:

    Using the Trump Factchecking standard, this is a lie from Obama.
    “I had an uncle … who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps.”
    False: US troops did not liberate Auschwitz.
    https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/may/27/barack-obama/uncle-liberated-camp-but-not-auschwitz/

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  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul:

    Using the Trump Factchecking standard, this is a lie from Obama.

    Seriously?

    Dude. Seek professional help. It’s not too late.

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  15. An Interested Party says:

    @Paul: Wow, that’s the best you got? When you find 8,158…no, wait, when you find 80 more examples of supposed lying by Obama, then we can talk about comparing the two presidents, m’kay? Until then, know that you are completely full of shit in making the comparison…

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  16. Ben Wolf says:

    @Gustopher: If that were true you’d have “unhelpfulled” the person who wrote it.

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul: My Mama raised me to be kind and considerate of the mentally afflicted among us. Having said that, I will say nothing more.

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  18. mattbernius says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    I think he was trying to say that he downvoted you for not fixing the hard line breaks in the quote.

  19. JohnMcC says:

    @An Interested Party: You don’t remember that ‘if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor’? Hey, that’s such an affront to heaven and earth that nothing, NOTHING! could ever wipe the stain from anything ANYTHING that Democrats do.

    And – SQUIRREL!

  20. Ben Wolf says:

    I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin—we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

    https://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/21/dr_martin_luther_king_in_1967

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  21. Ben Wolf says:

    @mattbernius: They weren’t breaks, they were a space in the original letter where the writer apparantly forgot to continue their words. It was written by a moron, but that’s the FBI.

  22. Kathy says:

    Yet another book critical of Dennison’s White House.

    It hardly qualifies as news any more. But, staying on topic of this thread, it does make one think: if even, oh, one quarter of what Trump claims as his successes were true, wouldn’t there be at least one book by a former staffer praising El Cheeto?

  23. Barry says:

    @Paul: WaPo was actually making those comparisons. They compared Trump to Obama, Shrub, Clinton and Bush I.

    Last I heard, he left their *combined total* in the dust.

  24. Teve says:

    OT: Lindsey Graham, the new chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, announced that he’s going to open investigations into… Hillary’s emails.

  25. Paul L. says:

    @An Interested Party:
    “you find 80 more examples of supposed lying by Obama”
    Here is a start.
    You can keep your health plan/Doctor.
    IRS targeting of tea party groups was done by rouge employees in Cincinnati.
    Marriage is between a man and woman.
    Most transparent administration in History.
    Close Gitmo.
    First I heard of Fast and Furious gunwalking/IRS targeting of tea party groups was when I read it in the paper.

  26. Teve says:

    IRS targeting of tea party groups was done by rouge employees in Cincinnati.

    right-wing nut jobs are now complaining about IRS agents’ makeup?

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  27. Paul L. says:

    @Barry:
    https://hotair.com/archives/2019/01/17/notice-media-isnt-accusing-pelosi-lying-sotu-postponement/
    The media expanded the description of Trump “lies. to include “false or misleading statements. Even things the President says which have to be interpreted as opinions are added to the total of lies he’s supposedly uttered”

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  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.: Hot air is like geese farts on the wind.

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  29. Mister Bluster says:

    …grab them by the pussy!..

    The one adage that REPUBLICAN MAN subscribes to.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    Funny how only Trump cultists think his lies compare him favorably to previous presidents when, in reality, he far exceeds anyone who held the office before him…

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    IRS targeting of tea party groups was done by [rogue] employees in Cincinnati.

    You’re right — that was a lie. The subsequent TIGTA investigation determined that, in fact, tea party groups were not disproportionately targeted, and the employees in question were not ‘rogues’, they were just doing their best to administer the law with the resources they had.

    Shame on Obama for slandering those poor civil servants like that.

  32. Kylopod says:

    @Paul L.:

    You can keep your health plan/Doctor.

    Fair enough, that was a lie (included as Politifact’s Lie of the Year).

    IRS targeting of tea party groups was done by rouge employees in Cincinnati.

    See DrDaveT‘s response.

    Marriage is between a man and woman.

    I happen to think Obama was lying about his personal views when he claimed to oppose SSM, just as I think Trump was lying when he suddenly announced he was pro-life while first eyeing the GOP nomination in 2011. But you won’t find either of those examples being debunked by fact-checkers, and for good reason: there’s no way to prove those were lies, since they’re simply statements of personal belief on an issue. Now it is possible to fact-check someone if they mischaracterize what their stated position was, like when Trump denied having called global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese even though the statement was still on his Twitter feed. If Obama ever claimed he’d never publicly opposed SSM, that would be provably false and would deserve mention by fact-checkers. But just because you and I think he was lying about what he believed in 2008, that isn’t proof of anything, it’s just speculation.

    Most transparent administration in History.
    Close Gitmo.

    At best those are broken promises, not lies. Obama tried to close Gitmo; one of his first acts as president was signing an executive order to do so. The problem is that he was rebuffed by 90% of the Senate. Trying and failing at something after promising to do it isn’t a “lie.” To my knowledge, none of the fact-checkers called Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare a “lie” simply because he didn’t succeed (but they did call it a lie when he falsely claimed to have already repealed the law).

    The issue of the Obama Administration’s transparency is more complicated, and I’ll give you that his promise was foolish and unrealistic, and that he fell badly short on this front (though nowhere near as badly as the current president).

    So, in your list, you’ve mentioned only one unambiguous, provable lie by Obama. And this, let’s recall, covers an 8+ year period. I can name 5 unambiguous, provably false statements that Trump has made in the last month, and specifically regarding the border wall:

    * Claimed Mexico would be paying for the wall indirectly through TRAFTA.
    * Claimed never to have said he’d get Mexico to pay for the wall directly.
    * Made the completely evidence-free assertion that 20,000 children were illegally brought into the country last month by “vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs.”
    * Claimed Dems requested that the wall be a steel barrier rather than concrete.
    * Suggested that El Paso went from being “one of the most dangerous cities in the country to one of the safest cities in the country overnight” after construction of a wall.

    None of those are statements of opinion, or vague promises he may or may not have failed to keep, or matters of subjective interpretation. They are all specific empirical claims he made, and it is an objective fact that they are all demonstrably false. It is an objective fact that trade agreements aren’t major sources of government revenue. It is an objective fact that he claimed he’d get Mexico to pay for the wall directly. It is an objective fact that there’s no record anywhere of 20,000 children being brought into the country illegally by gangs in the last month. It is an objective fact that Dems never requested the wall be a steel barrier. It is an objective fact that El Paso has never been one of the most dangerous cities in America. It is an objective fact that crime in El Paso didn’t fall after construction of a wall (actually a fence); it rose.

    All of those are things Donald Trump unquestionably said, and they are all demonstrably, provably, unambigously false. You tried to scrape together 5 examples of Obama lies by looking at the many years he’s been on the political scene (starting before he was even president) and combining several unrelated topics, and even then you couldn’t find more than 1 unambiguous example.

    Now it’s your turn. Tell me 5 unambiguous, provably false statements Obama made on the same topic within a single month of his presidency. I’m betting the response from you on this will be crickets.

  33. rachel says:

    @CSK: That sounds like it could make a good screenplay. Maybe Michael should interview you for color and write it up.

  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    Fair enough, [you can keep your doctor] was a lie (included as Politifact’s Lie of the Year).

    That always seemed a bit harsh to me, given that it was 95% true… The only people who could NOT keep their health plan and physician were people who had junk plans to begin with that they shouldn’t have wanted to keep.

  35. Kylopod says:

    @Kylopod:

    Now it’s your turn. Tell me 5 unambiguous, provably false statements Obama made on the same topic within a single month of his presidency. I’m betting the response from you on this will be crickets.

    Paul L., I wrote that two days ago, and so far my prediction is accurate. You’re incapable of making a point you didn’t crib from some right-wing site, so as soon as you’re challenged on specifics, you quickly am-scray from the discussion. And in this case there’s no way you could meet my challenge, because you won’t find a right-wing source in creation documenting 5 unambiguous Obama falsehoods told in a single month. But before long you’ll be back in another Trump-lies thread screaming “Whataboooout Obama?!” and pretending your argument wasn’t destroyed the last time you brought it up. I’ll be waiting around to see when that prediction comes true, and I’ll be sure to remind everyone of it, too.