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Trump tells another massive whopper: Our military has plenty of bullets — thanks to Obama

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David Cay Johnston
David Cay Johnston

We know that Donald Trump lies every single day as he creates his own reality. But Monday he told a ridiculous whopper that also showed he is a mentally unstable moron.

At the core of this delusional observation lies a conspiracy theory so bizarre that the National Rifle Association labeled it baloney.

Speaking to television cameras Monday at the White House, Trump asserted that the U.S. military was without ammunition in January 2017.

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“When I took over our military, we did not have ammunition, I was told by a top general, maybe the top of them all. ‘Sir, I’m sorry sir, we don’t have ammunition.’ I said I will never let that happen to another president.”

The military had so much more ammunition than it could use that Congressional investigators recommended giving more away.

Not only did the military have literally tons and tons and tons of ammunition, it has so much more than it could use that Congressional investigators recommended giving more away to state and local policing agencies.

That report was for the year 2016, Obama’s last in office, putting the lie to what Trump fantasized that he encountered in January 2017.

GAO has published a wall’s worth of audits since 1965 on procuring ammunition, prices paid for bullets, inventories, etc. There are at least 371 GAO reports on ammunition with the recurring theme that the armed services have more than they need.

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But wait, what Trump said gets even crazier.

Trump’s delusional claims on Monday built on his earlier crazy-making claims.

False Claims at Rallies

We embedded a reporter with the audience at Trump’s Sept. 16 campaign rally outside Albuquerque. The venue was small, which made his crowd seem large, many of them regulars who follow Trump around the country.

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Trump told the faithful that our military had “very little–slash—no ammunition.”

He also said:

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“You know, when I came here three years ago almost, General Mattis told me, ‘Sir, we’re very low on ammunition.’ I said, ‘That’s a horrible thing to say’.”

“I’m not blaming him. I’m not blaming anybody, but that’s what he told me,” Trump claimed.

“We were in a position where with a certain country — I won’t say which one — we may have had conflict. And he said to me, ‘Sir, if you could, delay it, because we’re very low on ammunition.’ And I said, ‘You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general.’ No president should ever every hear that statement. And we now have more ammunition, more rockets, more tanks, we have more of everything than we ever had before…”

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So, where did this nonsense come from? Partly Trump misheard whatever Mattis told him or, as he often does, Trump just made it up.

Congress Says ‘Too Much’

What makes his delusional whopper hard to understand is that back in 2013 legislation was introduced to restrict how much ammunition the Obama administration could buy.

Rep. Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, introduced a bill to limit ammo purchases to the levels of the George W. Bush administration.

What promoted Lucas and Sen. James Inhofe, also an Oklahoma Republican, to propose these restrictions?

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Investors Business Daily, a newspaper full of stock market charts, reported that a “lack of a credible official explanation for such awesome ammunition acquisitions” by Obama era federal law enforcement agencies fueled conspiracy theories. Other rightwing websites carried similar stories.

Lucas and Inhofe claimed that Obama was buying up bullets to create a shortage of ammo available to individual gun owners. Lucas said the military already had two years of bullets stockpiled so it didn’t need to buy more.

The notion that the Obama administration was buying up ammo to limit civilian access was so insane that even the National Rifle Association called nonsense. It issued a statement warning about “internet rumor mill” theories that are nonsense.

The crazy Lucas and Inhofe tale of Obama’s people buying up bullets to keep them from civilians, especially the hollow point bullets that mushroom on impact and ensure maximum bodily damage, is the exact opposite of what Trump claimed.

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That’s the way it is now with high-level Republicans in Washington – they tell mutually exclusive and polar opposite stories and hope you are too dumb to notice.

The theory was so insane that even the National Rifle Association said it was baloney. You know a theory is absolutely crazy when the NRA denounces it.

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