“What should a United States senator, or any citizen, do if the president is a liar?” Sen. Bernie Sanders mused in March. The media, elected officials, even Trump’s spokespeople have all struggled to reckon with a chronically dissembling commander in chief. Some have opted not to call Trump’s false claims “lies” at all. “Without the ability to peer into Donald Trump’s head,” an NPR reporter reasoned, “I can’t tell you what his intent was.” But, as Sanders went on to say, “Does ignoring this reality benefit the American people?” We don’t think so: Donald Trump is a shameless, brazen, baldfaced liar. He steals credit, describes the average as superlative, invents history and spins conspiracy theories. Trump even lies about the weather. Here, broken down by subject, is a selected list of Trump’s lies in office.
“The January employment report shows that the private sector added 237,000 jobs last month. A lot of that has to do with the spirit our country now has.” —February 3rd
Trump has called the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report “phoney” and a “total fiction.” But once the numbers served his purposes, he reversed course. Similarly, Trump touted that the national debt was down $12 billion in his first month, compared with a $200 billion increase over the same period for Obama. Both numbers are accurate, and both ought to be attributed to prior administrations. Since inauguration, Trump has also taken credit for Exxon’s “massive job program” (in the works since 2013) and Fiat Chrysler’s decision to expand in Michigan and Ohio (planned for more than a year).
“When President Obama was [in Chicago] two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech, two people were shot and killed during his speech.” —January 25th
This was a tidy example of the kind of “American carnage” that took place on Obama’s watch. Only problem is, according to Chicago police, exactly zero people in the city were shot and killed that day. In Philadelphia, Trump said, the murder rate has been “just terribly increasing,” when in fact, murders have declined in Philly over the past decade, from 391 in 2007 to 277 in 2016. Nationally, Trump said, “The murder rate in our country’s the highest it’s been in 47 years,” but higher murder rates were recorded every year between 1963 and 2010. Trump also said drugs are “becoming cheaper than candy bars.” Dare to dream.
“We have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine… I’ve been on it for, like, 15 times this year.” —January 21st
Two things: Trump has been on the cover of Time 12 times and Richard Nixon has been on the cover 55 times. Trump’s claim that he had “the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches” is likewise untrue – crowd scientists estimated 160,000 people attended Trump’s speech on the National Mall, a far cry from the 1.8 million who turned out to see Obama in 2009 (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush drew larger crowds too). As for Trump’s inauguration TV ratings – “11 million more than the very good ratings from four years ago!” – that’s true, but also a false comparison: Viewership always drops at the start of a second term. About 7 million more people tuned in for Obama’s first-term inauguration than Trump’s. On world affairs, Trump falsely describes NATO as “obsolete” and claims he “predicted Brexit” when all Trump said the day before the U.K. vote was he hadn’t “really focused on it very much.”
“You had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers, and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” —February 5th
Despite Trump’s insistence that the rollout was “very smooth,” an estimated 90,000 travellers were impacted by his executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, which also sparked spontaneous protests across the country. After the ban was blocked, Trump claimed, “Anyone, even with bad intentions, can now come into U.S.,” even though a stringent vetting process has long been in place for asylum-seekers.
“The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.” —March 20th
Both FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers were asked by Congress: “Your agencies agree with the assessment that the Russians’ goal was to undermine the public faith in the U.S. democratic process. Is that still your assessments?” Both said: Yes.
“Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” —January 23rd
No credible person or entity has offered any evidence whatsoever of mass voter fraud, but Trump maintains that “many people have come out and said I am right.” Trump also insists, however implausibly, that “of those illegal votes cast, none of ’em come to me…. They all voted for Hillary.” Even Trump’s aides can’t muster a convincing defence. “The president has believed that for a while,” Sean Spicer said. “It’s a belief that he has maintained for a while, a concern that he has about voter fraud.”
Perhaps to offset his popular-vote loss, Trump likes to mischaracterise the Electoral College victory, inflating the number and historic significance. “I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan,” he said. Nope: It was smaller than any president’s since Reagan, save George W. Bush.
“We saved $700 million-plus on an F-35 after I got involved.” —February 28th
Trump had nothing to do with the price going down. Nearly a month before Trump met with the Lockheed CEO, the head of the defence Department’s F-35 program announced the cost of new planes would be roughly $549 million to $630 million less than the previous generation. At the same time, Trump has lied about how much more money he plans to pump into the military: “I am calling for one of the largest defence spending increases in history.” So far, Trump has called for a 10 percent increase in defence spending ($54 billion), which is “quite average,” as defence-budget analyst Laicie Heeley told PolitiFact.
“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” —March 25th
Trump’s fond of saying the ACA is “exploding,” but the Congressional Budget Office describes the program as “stable.” He has cited a 116 percent premium hike in Arizona as evidence of a failing system, but the average state will see only a 25 percent increase this year, which experts believe is likely part of a one-time market correction. Trump also promised his health care plan would amount to “insurance for everybody,” but the CBO estimated his bill would have left about 24 million Americans without insurance. Trump also said that bill would pass “pretty quickly,” even though the last whip count found only 150 Republicans supported it, well shy of the 215 needed. It failed.