(Getty/Win McNamee)

Donald Trump's latest breakthrough: 10,000 presidential lies

Trump made roughly 23 false or misleading claims a day in the last seven months, reports the Washington Post


Shira Tarlo
April 29, 2019 3:55PM (UTC)

It has been clear for some time that President Trump has a less than cordial relationship with the truth. But the extent of Trump's use of "alternative facts" and declarations that "truth isn't truth" have now hit a stratospheric new level.

As of April 27, Trump had made 10,111 false or misleading claims during his two-plus years in the White House, according to an analysis by the Washington Post published Monday.

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The newspaper's fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, reported that the rate of the president's lies have increased dramatically throughout his time in office.

It took Trump 601 days to rack up 5,000 false and misleading claims, an average of eight claims a day. But as of April 27, which marked his 828th day in the White House, he had broken through the 10,000 mark, the result of an admittedly impressive average of nearly 23 false claims a day. Kessler noted that the spike was in large part due to the president's unhinged Twitter activity, interviews with Fox News and speeches at fiery campaign rallies, which he kicked off late last month as he lays the groundwork for his 2020 re-election bid.

"The president continues to say false or misleading statements at an unbelievable pace," Kessler said Monday on CNN.

Trump reportedly made 45 false claims last Thursday alone during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, who acts as an informal adviser to the president. Then the president topped that on Saturday with a staggering 61 false statements on Saturday during a "Make America Great Again" rally in Wisconsin that he attended while skipping the White House Correspondents Association Dinner. In fact, over the three-day period between April 25 and April 27, Trump managed to rack up 171 of those "false or misleading claims" — more than he made in any single month during the first five months of his presidency.

About one-fifth of the president's falsehoods related to immigration, a percentage the Post said has grown since the partial government shutdown late last year after Congress and the White House failed to break a bitter budget standoff over funding for Trump's entirely nonexistent wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Kessler noted that Trump often repeats variations of the same false or misleading claims "at least three times." The president's most repeated falsehood — repeated at least 160 times — is that his border wall is actually being built.

"The White House failed miserably to achieve its objectives on funding for a border wall, receiving relative peanuts. It sought $25 billion but ended up with 5 percent of that," Kessler wrote earlier this month. "Moreover, the money came with strings attached so that it could be used only for fencing, not the 'great' and 'beautiful wall' promised by Trump."

The fact-checker has been tracking Trump's falsehoods since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. He applies "Pinocchios" on a sliding scale from one to four depending on the severity of the false or misleading statement.

Late last year, Kessler and the Post introduced the "Bottomless Pinocchio" to rate politicians "who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation."

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"Trump's willingness to constantly repeat false claims has posed a unique challenge to fact checkers," Kessler wrote at the time. "Most politicians quickly drop a Four-Pinocchio claim, either out of a duty to be accurate or concern that spreading false information could be politically damaging."

As of April 27, Trump has earned 21 Bottomless Pinocchios.

Throughout his time in office, Trump has declared a war on fact-checkers, slamming them as "some of the most dishonest people in media," in addition to his repeated attacks on media coverage he deems negative or unfavorable as "fake news."

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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