The Magnitude of Trump’s Lies

According to fact-checkers, he makes an average of 32 false or misleading statements a day.

The Washington Post fact-checkers have produced an update that truly shocking.

In 2017, President Trump made nearly 1,999 false or misleading claims. In 2018, he added another 5,689, for a total of 7,688.

Now, with a few weeks still left in 2019, the president already has more than doubled the total number of false or misleading claims in just a single year.

As of Dec. 10, his 1,055th day in office, Trump had made 15,413 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement he has uttered. That’s an average of more than 32 claims a day since our last update 62 days ago.

The major contributor to the recent increase is that Trump thinks he can lie his way out of impeachment.

A key reason for this year’s jump: The uproar over Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25 — in which he urged an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden, a potential 2020 election rival — and the ensuing House impeachment inquiry. Nearly 600 of the false or misleading claims made by the president in the past two months relate just to the Ukraine investigation…

For instance, more than 60 times he has claimed that the whistleblower complaint about the call was inaccurate. The report accurately captured the content of Trump’s call and many other details have been confirmed. Eighty times, Trump has claimed his phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” even though it so alarmed other White House officials that several immediately raised private objections.

The claim that the whistleblower complaint was inaccurate was chosen by Politifact to be the lie of the year.

Every year, PolitiFact editors review the year’s most flagrant inaccuracies in search of a significant false claim that can be elevated to Lie of the Year.

The distinction is awarded to a statement that is more than ridiculous and wrong. The Lie of the Year — the only time PolitiFact uses the word “lie” — speaks to a falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.

Notice that the folks at Politifact chose a lie that isn’t just wrong, but “undermines an accurate narrative.” In this case, the accurate narrative is that Trump pressured the leader of a foreign ally to announce investigations that would undermine his political opponents. In other words, he is lying about his abuse of power, one of the articles of impeachment.

Beyond that, we’re now at the point where the president of the United States is lying 32 times a day on average. Cynics love to toss out the idea that all politicians lie. But with Trump, it is more than just the sheer volume that puts him in a different league. The Washington Post fact-checkers have been tracking what they call “Bottomless Pinoccios” which are the ones Trump has told more than 20 times. In other words, after getting called out on the lie, the president goes on to repeat it more than 20 times, demonstrating a total disregard for the truth. While the list now has over 30 entries, the ones related to Trump’s impeachment are starting to pile up.

Besides the claim about the whistleblower, the two other claims on the Bottomless Pinocchio list are that Biden forced the resignation of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he was investigating his son Hunter and that Hunter Biden scored $1.5 billion in China after hitching a ride on Air Force Two with his father.

Congressional Republicans are, at minimum, condoning, if not parroting,  these Trump lies. Until one or more of them stands up to speak the truth, they are all complicit. That’s why no one should be crying any crocodile tears about a so-called “partisan” impeachment. This level of lying should be an impeachable offense.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.