President Trump's 12-day trip to Asia has been relatively quiet in terms of awkward moments — unlike his trip to the Middle East, there has been no sword dancing or hand-slap on the tarmac. There was, however, one densely questionable press conference.
The president made 11 false statements in a question-and-answer session aboard Air Force One on the way to Vietnam on Saturday. They were quite varied. "He was wrong about Barack Obama. He was wrong about trade deficits. He was wrong, bizarrely, about his own television-watching habits, falsely claiming reporters are lying when they report that he likes watching television," reports the Toronto Star, which is keeping a running record of the president's false claims. That brings the total to 858 untruths in 297 days in office, or an average of 2.9 a day.
Here are some of the Star's highlights from Saturday:
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"Well, look, I can't stand there and argue with him (Vladimir Putin, about election interference). I'd rather have him get out of Syria, to be honest with you. I'd rather have him -- you know, work with him on the Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not -- because that whole thing was set up by the Democrats."
In fact: The accusation that Putin meddled in the U.S. election was not "set up by the Democrats." It is the conclusion of the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus and of independent experts.
"And then tonight they're having a state dinner in Hanoi. And we then go to the Philippines, which was a rough trip the last time. That was a rough presidential trip, but this won't be."
In fact: Obama's trip to the Philippines was not a "rough trip." He made his state visit in 2014, when the president was Benigno Aquino III; they had friendly relations. Trump was mixing up this visit with something else entirely: Obama's 2016 cancellation of a meeting with Aquino's successor, Rodrigo Duterte, after Duterte profanely insulted him. That meeting was supposed to take place in Laos, not the Philippines itself.
"And believe it or not, even when I'm in Washington and New York, I do not watch much television. I know they like to say -- people that don't know me, they like to say I watch television. People with fake sources -- you know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don't get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I'm reading documents a lot, and different things."
In fact: "Much television" is subjective, but it is objectively false that reporters are "fake" to report that Trump likes to watch television. Trump himself regularly proves this -- tweeting praise at the morning show Fox and Friends and tweeting out responses to the show as it airs. Less than a month prior to this statement, he told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, "I watch absolutely almost all the time, even if it means TiVo or whatever device you happen to be using at the time."
"I mean, I have an obligation -- we lost, last year, with China, depending on the way you do your numbers, because you can do them a numbers of ways -- anywhere from $350 (billion) to $504 billion."
In fact: Trump is wrong that the trade deficit with China is as high as $504 billion if you "do your numbers" a certain way; the "$504 billion" figure is simply inaccurate. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $310 billion last year, according to data from the U.S. Trade Representative. Excluding trade in services, it was $347 billion. There is a clear, accepted definition of trade deficit: the difference between the value of goods and services exported and goods and services and imported.