Trump’s Lies Continue To Mount
As he reaches his 1,000th day in office, Trump's lies pile up at an astronomical rate.
Yesteday, Donald Trump hit his 1,000th day in office, so the team of fact-checkers at The Washington Post figured it was a good time to take another look at their database of Trump lies and misstatements. In doing so, they found that the President had told 13,435 as of October 9th, his 993rd day in office:
As President Trump approaches his 1,000th day in office Wednesday, he has significantly stepped up his pace of spouting exaggerated numbers, unwarranted boasts and outright falsehoods.
As of Oct. 9, his 993rd day in office, he had made 13,435 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement he has uttered. That’s an average of almost 22 claims a day since our last update 65 days ago.
One big reason for the uptick: The uproar over Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25 — in which he urged an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden, a potential 2020 election rival — and the ensuing House impeachment inquiry. We’ve added a new category of claims, Ukraine probe, and in just a few weeks it has topped 250 entries.
In fact, Trump earned his fastest Bottomless Pinocchio ever with his repeated false statement that the whistleblower compliant about the call was inaccurate. The report accurately captured the content of Trump’s call and many other details have been confirmed, yet Trump has repeated this Four-Pinocchio claim 29 times. (It takes 20 repeats of a Three or Four-Pinocchio claim to merit a Bottomless Pinocchio, and there are now 27 entries.)
Another false claim — that Biden forced the resignation of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he was investigating his son Hunter — just barely missed the cutoff for inclusion. (Trump has said it 18 times.) We presume the falsehood will earn a spot on the Bottomless Pinocchio page in the next update.
Trump crossed the 10,000 mark on April 26. From the start of his presidency, he has averaged nearly 14 such claims a day.
It’s easy to understand why the Ukraine scandal, which has sparked an energetic and seemingly relentless impeachment inquiry taking place on Capitol Hill, would be the focus of most of the President’s recent lies. Report after report from Washington journalists with access to reliable White House sources have described the President as increasingly concerned about the impeachment probe and describe him at lashing out at aides for not responding more aggressively. Obviously, the President feels cornered and, along with polling that shows him underperforming against potential Democratic opponents in swing states such as those in the Midwest that gave him the Electoral College win in 2016. He no doubt sees the vultures starting to circle for the first time in his presidency and, having no experience in politics himself, he lashes out with lies, insults, and fabricated conspiracy theories that are too absurd to believe.
In addition to lying about Ukraine and impeachment, Trump not surprisingly lies about the issues central to his campaign. For example:
- About 20% of Trump’s false claims have been related to immigration, including the claim, which he has made at least 218 times that his border wall is being built. In fact, even with the President declaring a national emergency and diverting funding from military construction projects, there has been no money spent on the “new” border wall. All of the money that has been spent has gone toward maintaining, repairing, or slightly upgrading barriers built during the Bush and Obama Administrations;
- ” False or misleading claims about trade, the economy and the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign each account for about 10 percent of the total.”;
- He has claimed 204 times that the U.S. economy today is the best in history. This claim is demonstrably false simply by looking at the available economic statistics from today and from the past. Those statistics show that the economy was much stronger under Presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. As I’ve noted repeatedly, the economy under Trump in his first three years is roughly equivalent to what we saw in the final four years of the Obama Presidency, and there are plenty of signs that it’s slowing down;
- He has made at least 171 false claims about international trade and his trade war. This includes brazen lies claiming that the tariffs he imposes are being paid by the nation from which imported goods originate, or by the foreign company that manufactured them. In reality, they are paid by the American importer and typically passed on to consumers;
- He has also claimed at least 171 times that he and the Republicans in Congress passed the biggest tax cut in history. In reality, as the article notes, the biggest tax cut in history remains the 1981 tax cut passed by President Reagan and a bipartisan majority in Congress. The tax cut passed by the Republicans in December 2017 ranks,at best, at about the 8th biggest and, depending on the revenue numbers over the next ten years, it may turn out to be much smaller; and,
- Finally, at least 20 percent of the lies he has told have come from his Twitter habit, something that has seemingly become an obsession in the past several months as the legal and political vultures have begun circling.
As the article goes on to note, most Americans don’t believe the President’s lies on these and other subjects. A poll conducted in December found that roughly only one-third of those surveyed seem to believe the President even when it’s clear that he’s lying. This number is not very far off, of course, from the roughly 40% to 44% that is believed to be the floor of the President’s levels of support at this point. Among diehard Trump supporters, of course, the numbers who believe are not surprisingly much higher.
This is all becoming part of a recurring theme, of course. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where, if the President speaks publicly or sends a message out via Twitter, he does not tell a lie, mislead, or simply invent things out of whole cloth. In many cases, of course, these lies are duplicative in the sense that they are things he has lied about before, and which he returns to on a regular basis even when it’s pointed out just how wrong he is.
At times it seems like pointing out that a lie is a lie only causes the President and his supporters to double down and keep repeating the falsehoods time and time again until they become articles of faith on the right no matter how untrue they are. This is especially true with regard to many of the accusations he has made about Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation and it is quickly becoming true regarding the enveloping Ukraine scandal and the underlying impeachment investigation. Every now and then, though, something new enters his repertoire and, if he thinks that it works it gets added to the long and growing list of Presidential lies that, sadly, we all seem to have become all too used to over the past two years.
Based on the Post’s numbers as of October 9th, the President is averaging roughly 13.53 lies per day over the 993 days that the Post based its numbers on. If he maintains this average, he will have told an astounding 19,781 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 over 39,562 lies over the course of an eight-year Presidency. As has been the case each time the Post fact-checkers have updated these numbers, this represents a fairly significant increase over where he stood the last time we looked at these numbers in March, in April when James Joyner did the same as Trump passed 10,000 lies, in June, and again in August when the last set of numbers was released. As I said back then while I’m as cynical as the next person when it comes to the tendency of politicians to lie, 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’s obligated 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.
Indeed, each time we’ve looked at these numbers Trump’s average number of lies per day has increased, in some cases significantly. Some of the most significant increases took place while he was campaigning for Republicans in the 2018 midterms. Given that, we can assume that the pace will pick up as we get deeper and deeper into the 2020 re-election campaign and the coming impeachment inquiry. So be prepared to see this number increase significantly as time goes on.