The Washington Post is out with an updated count of President Trump’s false and misleading statements since Inauguration Day. And it shows that Trump has surpassed the 10,000 mark. It’s a milestone, but not a cause for celebration. Whatever the opposite of popping champagne is, do that, I guess?
“The president continues to say false or misleading statements at an unbelievable pace,” The Post’s fact-checker-in-chief, Glenn Kessler, said on CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning.
“He hit 5,000 in September. Now here it is, seven months later, and he’s now hit 10,000,” Kessler said. “That’s an average of about 23 false or misleading claims a day in the last seven months.”
Kessler’s new story, co-written with Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, says “the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger.”
Many of the misstatements are about immigration issues — with distortions and utter falsehoods about migrants, border walls, and Democrats.
Other common bogus claims relate to Robert Mueller’s probe, trade talks with other countries, and Trump’s accomplishments in office. The Post’s database includes everything from exaggerations to outright lies.
As of Saturday night, after the president held a rally in Wisconsin, the Post’s official count was 10,111 false or misleading statements in 828 days. The Post has observed that Trump has become looser and looser with the facts over time.
On Sunday, when his team was still crunching the numbers, Kessler told me “we counted 45 misstatements or falsehoods in his interview with Sean Hannity” the other day.
The Hannity chat was barely 45 minutes long, so that means Trump said something deceptive every minute of the television program.
I return to this point about the president’s deceptions quite often — and that’s because I believe the lying often times is THE story. Not what he said, but why he chose to mislead instead of lead.
Speaking on CNN on Sunday, I called Trump the “say anything” president. Whether it’s an outlandish claim, a conspiracy theory, or a contradiction of his own comments, he’s willing to say anything to keep the show going.
Let’s be real: Untold millions of people won’t believe The Post’s research. Some will attack the paper for doing the work at all.
I’m always interested when reporters ask Trump rallygoers about their media habits. The latest contribution to this canon is from Jake Malooley, who spoke with fans at Saturday night’s rally in Wisconsin. “Trump has spawned a new generation of media critic/cynic,” Malooley wrote for Esquire. He says the “fake news” refrain is “one of the crucial ties that bind his most fervent supporters.”
We led Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” television program with the president’s wildly false claim that “mothers and doctors have the option to ‘execute’ babies.” He has brought up this infanticide talking point before, but he was even more explicit about it at Saturday’s rally. It barely generated news coverage on Sunday morning. Matt Fuller of HuffPost tweeted that he was “watching local cable news,” and there was “no mention of the massive lies he told about killing babies or his sanctuary city plan. This isn’t responsible coverage.”