Washington Post fact checkers calculated that President Donald Trump is averaging 30 false or misleading claims a day in the last seven weeks and that he said 1,104 things that were blatantly false or misleading during the month of October. On October 22, said 83 untrue things in a single day. Currently, the president has made 6,420 false or misleading claims since he took office 649 days ago.
Some recent examples:
- On October 30, Trump claimed that "Richard Cordray will let you down, just like he did when he destroyed the government agency that he ran.” (Cordray is running for Ohio governor. He was also the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As the Washington Post points out: "It's hard to understand how he could destroy something that had not even existed before.")
- On October 27, Trump said: “US Steel is bringing back many plants. You know that. And they're opening up some new ones.” (U.S. Steel has not announced the opening of six to eight facilities, despite the president's tendency to repeat that claim. The Post notes that the company "has only announced the reopening of two blast furnaces at a plant in Illinois."
- On October 26, Trump insisted that “The African-American unemployment rate has hit the lowest level ever recorded in the history of our country.” (Trump has repeated this claim 91 times since July 25. "The black and Hispanic unemployment rates have been calculated only since 1972, so it's an exaggeration to say the current numbers are the lowest in history. The U.S. jobless rate for Asians has been around for less than 20 years," the Post notes. "Although the black unemployment rate was at an all-time-low 5.9 percent in May, it had risen to 6 percent in September. That was still significantly higher than the overall unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.
As the nation grapples with tomorrow's midterm elections, multiple individuals, including Tony Schwartz, the CEO and founder of the Energy Project, have condemned the president's lies and rhetoric.
"The magnitude of Trump's lies in the run up to the midterms is astonishing, even by his standards," he wrote.
Earlier, Schwartz encouraged all Americans to vote, saying that the United States "cannot survive this hatred unleashed for another two years."
Daniel Dale, a Washington correspondent with The Toronto Star, documented numerous statements Trump made during a recent appearance. Among the lies: Trump claimed that he was on Oprah Winfrey's television show in its last week because she had on "her five most important people." A simple fact check found that Trump was actually on the show a few months before it officially ended in 2011. (Dale notes that Trump has made this claim four times.)
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger at the Washington Post defended the roles journalists play to uphold the Fourth Estate.
"We are obliged to track Trump’s lies, if only to remind Americans of the difference between truth and fiction and to trace the pace of his lies," she wrote.
"It's truly stunning -- and frightening -- stuff. What's more terrifying to me is that Trump's supporters don't seem to know -- or care -- about any of this. They regard fact checks by the media as simply the "fake news" doing everything they can to slow down Trump's momentum," writes CNN's Chris Cillizza, adding:
And to the extent they acknowledge that Trump doesn't tell the truth a lot of the time, they write it off as either a) him just talking or b) that all politicians lie. (Most politicians do say untrue things from time to time. When called on them, however, they stop saying the false things. Trump is not like that.)
Trump also works aggressively to ensure that his base sees him as the only honest man in the country, the only person who is really telling it like it is.
A New York Times report from last week appears to support Cillizza's observations. "Supporters at his [Trump's] rallies across the country tell reporters that they understand he may not be strictly accurate in his roaring stump speeches, but they see him as a champion of their values," the report, which discusses what even a Trump ally referred to as his "reality distortion field," reads.
The president's behavior has also impacted the U.S.'s relationships with foreign countries.
Last month, the Pew Research Center found that “as the second anniversary of Trump’s election approaches, a new 25-nation Pew Research Center survey finds that Trump’s international image remains poor, while ratings for the United States are much lower than during Barack Obama’s presidency.”
Pew found that:
- That “Large majorities say the U.S. doesn’t take into account the interests of countries like theirs when making foreign policy decisions”;
- that many people “believe the U.S. is doing less to help solve major global challenges than it used to”;
- and that “there are signs that American soft power is waning as well, including the fact that, while the U.S. maintains its reputation for respecting individual liberty, fewer believe this than a decade ago.”
Over the summer, The Scotsman, Scotland’s national newspaper, published a particularly scathing editorial denouncing Trump ahead of his visit to the United Kingdom.
"The 45th US President is an appalling human being,” the editorial staff observes, before launching into an exhaustive list of Trump’s transgressions.
Trump, among other things The Scotsman notes:
- “is a racist, a serial liar, and either a sexual abuser or someone who falsely brags about being one in the apparent belief that this will impress other men.”
- has attacked NFL players who, in refusing to stand for the national anthem, staged peaceful protests against police brutality and systemic inequality, saying that they “maybe… shouldn’t be in the country.”
- claimed there were “very fine people” on both sides of last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, even after meeting with then-newly installed FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and acknowledged that the Justice Department had opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed after she was struck by a Dodge Challenger driven by James Alex Fields, who had traveled to the city from Ohio to protest at the rally with fellow white nationalists.
- “pushed the lie” that Barack Obama, the first African-American president, is not an American citizen, despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.
- has called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States, statements which many people have been given the rubber stamp by last month’s Supreme Court ruling upholding his travel ban.
- has expressed considerable racial animus toward Mexican immigrants (referring to them as “rapists and criminals”; said Nigerians would “never go back to ‘their huts'” after seeing the United States and referred to African nations as “shitholes.”
- claimed that Gonzalo Curiel, the Indiana-born judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University “was biased against him and unfit to take the case” because of his Mexican heritage.
The Scotsman‘s editorial team also takes Trump to task for his penchant for decrying the media as “fake news,” a mantra which many believe galvanized a gunman who killed several people at the headquarters of Maryland’s Capital Gazette while already embroiled in a lawsuit against the paper. More recently, many have suggested that the president's rhetoric inspired a man to send a string of mail bombs to prominent Democrats and to the headquarters of CNN.