The greatest common denominator of Trump’s lies is that he grossly exaggerates the size of things: analysis
President Donald Trump’s long list of lies since taking office has been chronicled by the New York Times in a new list that shows the claim and the fact. Other than the lies themselves, one thing seems consistent: Trump lies most about the size of things.
Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, Trump has been caught in a lie 99 times. Of those 99 lies, 53 of them involve inflating the size of a crowd, money saved or spent or even failures by Democrats.
The first came when Trump claimed Jan. 21 that he had been on the TIME magazine cover 14 or 15 times and set the all-time record” of appearances on the cover. He actually appeared 11 times and former President Richard Nixon beat him with 55 images on the cover.
One of the most notorious “size lies” came from the claim that Trump didn’t actually lose the popular vote to former Secretary Hillary Clinton because 3 to 5 million people voted illegally. At the end of March, he claimed that the reason so many were able to vote illegally was due to voter registration.
“You have tremendous numbers of people,” Trump described. There has been zero evidence to prove this claim, yet he continues to repeat it.
Continuing the campaign to inflate his support among groups of people, Trump claimed Cuban-Americans gave him 84 percent of his vote. The New York Times explained that there no support for the claim. Trump’s highest performing demographic came from old white men over 65-years-old. Even among that demographic, however, he only scored 66.6 percent of the vote, significantly less than 84 percent.
Less than a month into his term, Trump continued his braggadocious claims about the size of his electoral map. He frequently boasts that a Republican can’t win the Electoral College and that his 306 electoral votes were the largest since former President Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all scored higher electoral wins than Trump did.
Trump’s inaugural crowd size has become the source of considerable mockery. He claimed that his crowd size was the largest ever. Yet, despite exhaustive efforts to find evidence to justify the claim, none was found and his crowd remained small. He continued to gloat about crowd sizes well into Feb. 24, when he claimed that the crowd eager to hear his speech at CPAC was lined up for six blocks. Photos prove otherwise.
That same day, Trump claimed that two people were shot and killed during a speech by former President Barack Obama. Two people is actually a much smaller zero people. That wasn’t the first nor the last time Trump made up murders. Trump consistently inflates crime statistics when addressing homicides. On Feb. 7, he claimed the murder rate was the “highest it’s been in 47 years.” Homicide rates were actually higher in the 1980s and 1990s.
As justification for his travel ban, Trump claimed the U.S. has taken in “tens of thousands of people” for whom “we know nothing about.” He claimed that the people weren’t vetted and “they have no papers.” There is an extensive amount of paperwork and the vetting process takes two years, a far cry from the “no vetting” Trump claimed.
The same day, Jan. 26, Trump claimed that he was able to save the U.S. “many hundreds of millions of dollars” for planes the military was purchasing. While there are indeed cuts in cost, most came before Trump took office. He didn’t save “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
A few weeks later, on Feb. 6, Trump claimed he saved more than $700 million renegotiating the F-35. During a Feb. 27 speech, he said he saved $725 million on a “small order of one plane.” That number changed back to $700 million on March 20 and 21 but went back to $725 on April 21, 28 and 29 and once more on May 1.
However, again, the price drop was projected before Trump took office. Someone must have said something because the following day Trump changed his numbers again. Feb. 7 he claimed he saved more than $600 million on the F-35, but the price cuts still came before he entered office.
On Jan. 30, Trump claimed that out of the 325,000 people coming into the U.S. over the weekend Trump instituted his travel ban, only 109 were detained for questioning. He said that the big problems seen at the airports over the weekend were from the Delta computer outages. While he repeated the claim several times, he was off by several hundred when guessing how many were detained — it was 746. Zero people that weekend were concerned about the Delta computer outage because it didn’t happen for another few days. D
Trump made part of his transition team focus on a number of jobs he would save and that more jobs would grow under him than under Obama. Several times, Trump has taken credit for additional jobs that were previously announced before the election. On Feb. 16 Trump took credit for 10,000 Walmart jobs that were announced in Oct. 2016. At the end of March, Trump claimed “plans were going up in Michigan” that weren’t going to be there if he “didn’t win this election.” All of the investments in plans were scheduled before Trump took office.
At the same time, Trump has also inflated the number of jobs that were lost as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency — “by the hundreds of thousands.” There is zero evidence that the Waters of the United States rule resulted in significant job losses.
While making comments about healthcare, Jan. 25, Trump claimed that “millions of people … now aren’t insured anymore.” That number is actually less than a million people, according to the Urban Institute. The exaggerations about Obamacare appeared one month later when Trump claimed that the plan covers “very few people” and that many had care that they loved that “was taken away from them.” More had healthcare under Obamacare — to the tune of 20 million.
He’s also claimed that “nearly half of the insurers” have stopped covering people and participating in the exchanges. The New York Times explains that the number is much smaller than that.
While in Tennessee, Trump claimed that “half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company.” Every Tennessee county has at least one insurer.
Continuing his assault on his predecessor, Trump claimed that Obama released 122 “vicious prisoners” from Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. That number was actually nine. A total of 113 were released under George W. Bush’s administration.
Trump’s slow start to his administration has been the source of a lot of criticism. While the new president has been forced to fire former Director of National Security Michael Flynn, there were many other positions Trump hasn’t even nominated. April 12, Trump blamed the slow start on Democrats being “obstructionists,” claiming he had “hundreds of people that we’re trying to get through.” As of April 12, Trump hadn’t “nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.”
After a trip overseas, Trump began taking credit for negotiations that scored saving and jobs. The Times explained that his numbers were “grossly inflated.” He took credit for an increase in contributions by NATO countries that was struck in 2014.
Trump’s trade numbers are even more exaggerated. He’s claimed that the trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion and Canada is $17 billion. The U.S. actually had a trade surplus with Canada — to the tune of $8.1 billion.
Then there are the little lies. Trump loves to talk about the overwhelming amount of taxes Americans pay. His numbers are frequently inflated and overstated, however. He’s said that we’re the “highest-taxed nation in the world,” when it’s far from the truth. Also, he claims no one cares about his personal taxes, when polls consistently show that Americans do.
He’s even continued to lie about his ability to score big ratings. Trump tried to attack “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert on May 8 by saying that when he appeared on the CBS show the ratings were the largest Colbert has ever had. Trump was way off. When Colbert’s show debut, he scored almost 2 million more viewers than when Trump came on the show.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by a long shot, but Trump will certainly ensure it grows over the coming months.