"I don't like Pinocchios," said President Trump yesterday, referring to the symbols used by the Washington Post in a fact-checking column to rate falsehoods by severity.
Eight minutes later, he'd earned himself another four of them.
The scene was a White House speech to open Trump's "Made in America" week. Trump claimed he had “signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president ever.”
Seemingly realizing this was blatantly false, he said, "I better say ‘think,’ otherwise they’ll give you a Pinocchio. And I don’t like those, I don’t like Pinocchios."
Thought or statement, it was untrue and it turned out he was just warming up. Only eight-and-a-half minutes later, Trump said, without qualification, that the U.S. had added 45,000 coal mining jobs since he took office.
“In Pennsylvania, two weeks ago, they opened a mine, the first mine that was opened in decades. Opened a mine!” he said. “And you know all the people that were saying the mining jobs? Well we picked up 45,000 mining jobs in a very short period of time. Everybody was saying, well, you won’t get any mining jobs. We picked up 45,000 mining jobs.”
“And the miners are very happy with Trump and with Pence,” he added. “And we’re very proud of that.”
Washington Post Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler tackled both Trump's jab and his math on Twitter. “Well, this is how you end up with Pinocchios!” he said, linking to the Post’s fact-check of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's similar, and similarly false claim.
On June 4, Pruitt told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the country had added "almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector" during the Trump administration, and "in the month of May alone, almost 7,000 jobs."
There are only 50,800 coal mining jobs nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Washington Post gave Pruitt four out of four Pinocchios, and PolitiFact rated the statement “mostly false.” (The Post said the increase in all mining and logging jobs — not just coal — was about 33,000.)
At the end of June, the New York Times famously listed every lie the president has told in office. They found he had been lie-free for 39 days in six months.