President Donald Trump entered office with a portfolio of untruths as broad and questionable as his real-estate holdings. Obama was born in Kenya; Trump “had people down there and you wouldn’t believe what they’re finding.” He lost hundreds of friends on 9/11. He saw “thousands” of Muslims celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers. Ted Cruz’s father helped assassinate JFK based on a photo in the National Enquirer of him “having breakfast with Lee Harvey Oswald.”
The pace of untruths has only accelerated with the broader platform of the presidency. The nonpartisan fact-checking site Politifact found that 70% of Trump’s statements have been untrue, and 25% are some degree of false.
One newspaper is compiling a database of the president’s false statements, sortable by topic, such as “terrorism,” “the economy” and “Russian ties.” “The extreme, unprecedented quantity of Trump falsehoods is why we started fact-checking everything he said,” says Daniel Dale, Washington bureau chief for the “Toronto Star.” “Some remain difficult to explain.”
The paper found that Trump has made an average of two false statements per day. Here are some of the highlights:
“In just a short period of time, we’ve already added nearly one million new jobs.”
In fact: U.S. government figures say the economy added … a total of 581,000 jobs in Trump’s first four months in office.
“Obamacare, as one of the big insurance companies had said, is in a spiral. It’s in a death spiral. It is dead.”
In fact: We allow Trump rhetorical license to call Obamacare “collapsing” and even “exploding,” though experts say neither is true. But it is plainly false to say the law is “dead.” While its marketplaces have problems, they are still functioning and providing insurance to millions; so is its Medicaid expansion.
“I have just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
In fact: The economic agreements Trump concluded on his nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe will undoubtedly create some jobs, but there is no evidence that they might even possibly create hundreds of thousands. Most of the U.S. companies involved did not offer specific numbers; the “Washington Post” noted that “the only new jobs that have been announced will be in Saudi Arabia, where Lockheed Martin will employ 450 workers to manufacture Black Hawk helicopters.” Attempting to do the math, the “New York Times” could not figure out how the administration came up with its $350 billion figure.
On his claim of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 election:
“Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. OK, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton.”
In fact: These large numbers of illegal voters did not “all” vote for Clinton because they do not exist. Even if they did, it would be impossible for Trump to know that not a single one voted for him, since the ballot is secret. This claim is simply absurd.
Trump told Congressional leaders that “he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in last November’s election because between three million and five million ‘illegals’ cast ballots, multiple sources told Fox News.”
In fact: This claim, also reported by numerous other major media outlets, simply has no basis in reality.
“Many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.”
In fact: NATO members don’t owe money to the alliance or to the U.S. Though many of them, as Trump noted, have fallen short of reaching the alliance’s guideline of spending two percent of their gross domestic product on defense, this is not the same as a debt.
On his and his associates’ ties to Russia:
“(James) Clapper is convinced, other people are convinced, everybody is convinced. They’re saying there is no collusion…they’re all saying there is no collusion, there is no collusion.”
In fact: It is not true that everybody is convinced there was no collusion between his campaign and Russian meddling in the presidential election; the FBI, in fact, is investigating whether there was collusion or not. The day after Trump taped this interview, Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, made clear that he does not know if there was collusion or not.
“When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.”
In fact: Trump had heard of WikiLeaks years before the organization published emails that had been hacked from Democratic Party officials in 2016. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski discovered a 2010 interview in which Trump had described WikiLeaks as “disgraceful.”
“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College!”
In fact: It has never been “almost an impossible thing” for a Republican to win by a large margin in the Electoral College. Since the 1870s, every Republican president except for George W. Bush and Richard Nixon (in 1968) has won a bigger share of the Electoral College than Trump did.
On his inauguration:
“Honestly, it looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was it was, but it went all the way back to the Washington Monument.” Later: “…all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed.”
In fact: The crowd, which may not have even been half a million people strong, did not come close to reaching the Washington Monument.
“It was almost raining, the rain should have scared em away, but God looked down and He said, we’re not going to let it rain on your speech. In fact, when I first started, I said oh no. First line, I got hit by a couple of drops, and I said this is too bad … but the truth is that, it stopped immediately, it was amazing, and then it became really sunny.”
In fact: Neither of these claims is true. The rain did not stop immediately, and the sky then remained cloudy.