On Friday, President Trump railed against the “Fake News Media” on Twitter, claiming that President Obama once said there were 57 states in the U.S.
“When President Obama said that he has been to ’57 States,’ very little mention in Fake News Media. Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year!”
When President Obama said that he has been to “57 States,” very little mention in Fake News Media. Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year! @IngrahamAngle
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2018
He then tagged Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who had also resurfaced the allegation on her show. So are their claims true? Did President Obama once say there were 57 states?
Did President Obama once say there were 57 states?
Yes. On a campaign stop in Beaverton, Oregon, in May 2008, then-candidate Obama misspoke, referring to his visits to 57 states.
“It is wonderful to be back in Oregon,” Obama said. “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”
After the rally, Obama told reporters he was afraid he had flubbed the number of casualties that resulted from a cyclone in Burma, in addition to his stateside misstatement.
“I hope I said 100,000 people the first time instead of 100 million,” Obama said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I understand I said there were 57 states today. It’s a sign that my numeracy is getting a little, uh…”
But Trump’s new tweet is only partly true. As with other assertions Trump has made about the media, it’s inaccurate to say that Obama’s blooper was ignored by the press. Reuters reported on Obama’s slip the day it happened. The Los Angeles Times covered it (with thorough snark) under the headline, “Barack Obama wants to the president of these 57 United States.” The paper also covered the resulting sale of lapel pins needling Obama by honoring the “57 states.”
George Conway, the husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, smacked back at Trump over his tweet, suggesting the president was out of his depth: “Needless to say, there’s a huge difference between an isolated slip of the tongue and ceaseless, shameless, and witless prevarication on virtually all topics, large and small,” wrote Conway.
Needless to say, there’s a huge difference between an isolated slip of the tongue and ceaseless, shameless, and witless prevarication on virtually all topics, large and small. https://t.co/mvV8cgZLyp
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) September 15, 2018