It’s time to Break It Down!
Spoiler Alert: Since I framed and wrote this post (Monday, in full disclosure, due to travel into late Tuesday night), Rosenstein resigned, and Mueller threw a hand grenade into the GOP circle jerk. At first glance, said developments may be more interesting than this post, but they also make this post more compelling. They pointedly indict both Rosenstein and Barr as having joined #45 in presenting and promoting a patently false narrative about Mueller’s report. A narrative that, not surprisingly, was slanted in #45’s favor, and as is frequently the case when it comes to #45, one that is counterfactual. See how that ties into the thematic direction of this post.
Prolific! That’s my personal WOTD. Conceived and utilized expressly for this post.
Just to set the tone, in no particular order, here is a definition and 10 synonyms for prolific:
Present in large numbers or quantities –
All things considered, the above adds up to a cornucopia of ways to describe the frequency with which the dude in the Oval finds himself occupying a space other than that which contains the verifiable truth. While I have written before about the fact challenged nature of #45’s commentary and tweet history, the current situation warrants reiterating not because it’s new, it obviously isn’t, but because his false and misleading claims are increasing at a near exponential pace.
In the early going, it was clear that #45 was going to get the benefit of the doubt by a media reluctant to call his deviations from the truth lies. Never having been confronted by anyone so willing to push the envelope on such things, it was perhaps momentarily, an interesting experiment. It didn’t hurt that he surrounded himself with a team composed of individuals willing to ignore, justify, rationalize, and when necessary double-down on the falsity of the moment.
After the Inauguration in 2017, then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated Mr. Trump’s specious claim that Trump’s Inauguration had the largest crowd ever for the event. When Spicer’s assertion was rightfully called into question, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President co-signed Spicer’s sleight of tongue by saying the Press Secretary had given “alternative facts,” when what he did was make an inaccurate statement.
The Washington Post and The New York Times are among a number of entities tracking Trump’s veracity. The Post deploys a source known as The Fact Checker’s database. According to this resource, through April 27th, #45 has been “credited” with having made 10,111 claims that are either false or misleading, in 828 days. It took 601 days for him to reach 5,000. That equated to an average of 8 claims per day. Unarguably, that’s a prodigious sum, and a high octane pace, in its own right. However, in retrospect, it’s clear the vibrant young man with the very, very large brain, was just getting warmed up. Though it was already clear, the trend line was on the upswing. During his first 100 days, he averaged about 5 such statements per day. At that somnambulant rate, he would have accumulated only around 7,000 in an entire 4-year term.
This month, the last week or so in particular, he has almost certainly put the truth-o-meters into hyper-drive. Take note of these examples:
- In a 45-minute interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News on April, 25th, #45 registered 45 claims
- In an 8-minute gaggle with reporters on April 26th, 8 claims
- In a speech to the National Rifle Association, 24 claims
- In a 19-minute interview with radio host Mark Levin, 17 claims
- In the campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 27, 61 claims
Add in #45’s constant Twitter barrage, and the precocious dissembler ran up 171 false or misleading claims in just 3 days, April 25th–27th. That’s a sum greater than the total for any single month during his first five months in office.
The Fact Checker welcomes academic research into the Trump claims database. Recent examples include Erasmus University, University College London, and University of California at Santa Barbara. You can request their data files with an explanation of your research plans by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The single most repeated claim (160 times) made by #45 is that his border wall is being built. It is not. Congress has yet to fund the wall, as he envisioned it, and in response, he has pitched bollard fencing and repairs of existing barriers as “a wall.” Moreover, he has a tendency to operate from the “If he continues to repeat the same untruth, it’ll be believed.” The Post’s database has noted nearly 300 instances in which #45 has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times. He has also garnered 21 “Bottomless Pinocchios,” claims that have earned Three of Four Pinocchios, and which have been repeated 20 or more times.
The order and degree of things about which #45 makes false or misleading claims has no bounds. A short list includes:
- Trade deficits with China and Japan – He has exaggerated the deficits and frequently claims America loses money from such deficits. We’ve purchased more goods from them than they did from us. Period. Moreover, if we add tariffs to their goods, it is Americans who pay more money to purchase desired goods and services.
- He has said he has nothing to hide from the Russia investigation. Perhaps, but he persists in refusing to testify under oath. Draw you own inference.
- He continued inflating jobs gained under his administration, starting the count from his election, rather than his “largest ever” inauguration.
- He claimed the Green New Deal would require every building in Manhattan to be replaced. No. Just no!
- He took credit for funding a program, the Great Lake Restoration Initiative, which his administration tried to eliminate.
- He claimed that he passed the biggest tax cut in history, and that he cut the estate tax to zero. No…and no.
- He claimed he insisted that the new Embassy in Jerusalem be made of Jerusalem stone. The reality? The British mandated through municipal laws in what was then Palestine that buildings must be faced with a local form of limestone that has a golden hue.
And so it goes; I’m sure you get the readily obvious, and often repeated point. This dude is a piece of work. It amazes me that in a political party in which so many people think of, or who define themselves as free-thinkers, so large a proportion of them display such a phenomenal level of obeisance to this man. I’ll tell you what doesn’t surprise me at all though. “It Was Only A Matter Of Time: #45 Eclipses The 10K Milestone.”
I’m done; holla back!
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