A dozen Trump lies at the Fox New town hall

Last Thursday, Fox News held a town hall event in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Trump. Here are a dozen lies he made at the event.

Lie 1: Trump claimed that, before Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden “didn’t have a job.”

The facts: At the time Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma in 2014, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.

Lie 2: Trump claimed that “this area of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania itself, has the best numbers it’s ever had. It’s got the best economy it’s ever had. It has the best unemployment numbers it’s ever had. And Scranton has the lowest and best unemployment numbers they’ve — and employment numbers too — that they’ve ever had, by far.”

The facts: Neither the unemployment rate for Pennsylvania nor the unemployment rate for the Scranton area is at its lowest level ever. And both rates have crept higher over the past several months. The December 2019 unemployment rate for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area was 5.6% — worse than various rates under Clinton and Bush and also worse than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office, 5.4% in December 2016.

Lie 3: Trump claimed, “We got hit with the virus really three weeks ago, if you think about it, I guess. That’s when we first started really to see some possible effects.”

The facts: The US had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on January 21, more than six weeks before Trump spoke, so it’s not true that the US had not really seen even “some possible effects” until three weeks ago.

Lie 4: Trump repeated his claim that he had reversed an Obama-era decision that had somehow impeded testing for the coronavirus.

The Facts: There is no regulation or decision from President Barack Obama that impeded coronavirus testing.

Lie 5: Trump claimed Obama called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “many times” but “Kim Jong Un did not want to talk to him. And me, he wanted to talk to.”

The Facts: There is no evidence that Obama called Kim even once. “This is a total fabrication,” Susan Rice, who served as Obama’s national security adviser, said on Twitter in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. There’s also no evidence for Trump’s previous claim that Obama begged Kim for a meeting.

Lie 6: Trump claimed “I opened up LNG plants in Louisiana” where companies had been unable to get permits for “for 10, 12, 14 years and longer.” He said, “I got them built, a $10 billion plant in Louisiana.”

The Facts: The $10 billion LNG facility Trump visited in Louisiana in 2019 was granted its key permits under Obama, and its construction also began under Obama.

Lie 7: Trump called the whistleblower who complained about his dealings with Ukraine a “phony whistleblower” and claimed this person had described “a call that didn’t exist.”

The Facts: The whistleblower’s account of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been proven accurate. In fact, the rough transcript Trump released showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct.

Lie 8: Trump claimed President Barack Obama left him “142 openings” on the courts, in part because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who thwarted many of Obama’s judicial nominees — did a “great job.”

The Facts: There were 104 court vacancies on January 1, 2017, 19 days before Trump took office, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments.

Lie 9: Trump claimed that “normally,” presidents are left no court vacancies at all; “if you have one,” he said, it’s “lucky.”

The Facts: It is standard for presidents to inherit dozens of vacancies. According to Wheeler, there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office; 107 vacancies on January 1, 1993, just before Bill Clinton took office.

Lie 10: Trump claimed that “we have right now 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our border.”

The Facts: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Mexico’s defense minister said in October that it was about 15,000 on the US border, about 12,000 on Mexico’s own southern border.

Lie 11: Trump claimed, “China is paying us billions and billions of dollars because of what I did to them with tariffs.”

The Facts: Study after study has shown that Americans are bearing the vast majority of the cost of the tariffs. And it is Americans who make the actual tariff payments.

Lie 12: Trump said he wants the US to have the world’s cleanest air and water, then claimed, “Our conditions now are much better than they were three years ago.”

The Facts: US air was cleaner under Obama than it has been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.

Can Trump tell the difference between truth and his lies?

Trump issues so many plainly untrue statements that one must wonder if he’s divorced from reality.

This is more important than a few executive orders signed by President Donald Trump. It’s more important than his nominations for positions in his administration. It’s even more important than who gets appointed to the Supreme Court, or whether Obamacare gets repealed.

Nothing in the headlines these days is more important than this: The President of the United States is divorced from reality, unable to tell the difference between the truth and what he wants to be true. In August, much of the American press finally broke out the word “lie” to describe many of Trump’s statements, but that’s not enough. Reporters must now press the president to explain if he believes these statements to be true and why. Plenty of politicians deceive, but one who cannot discern reality from fiction is dangerous.

Read more details at http://europe.newsweek.com/trump-difference-truth-lies-552292

A Lie by Any Other Name

From Charles Blow:

This is not a presentation of “alternative facts,” whatever that may mean, as Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s mistress of misdirection, posited over the weekend.

These are lies; good old-fashioned lies, baldfaced and flat-out lies.

Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged.

Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science.

And Trump for his part continues to rage about three to five million illegal votes causing him to lose the popular vote in November. This, too, is a lie. A lie. Not the euphemisms you hear on television, like “unsubstantiated,” or “unproven,” or “baseless.” It is a lie, pure and simple.

But Trump won’t let it go. His pride is hurt, his vanity tarnished. The man who prides himself on winning lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million votes, the biggest popular vote loss by a winning candidate in American history. That stings.

So, even after his lie is reported and rejected, he continues to perpetuate it. This is what makes Trump qualitatively different from our leaders who came before him: He believes that truth is what he says it is, and the only reason it has yet to be accepted is that it has yet to be sufficiently repeated.

We all have to adjust to this unprecedented assault on the truth and stand ready to vigilantly defend against it, because without truth, what’s left? Our president is a pathological liar. Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it.

full column: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/opinion/a-lie-by-any-other-name.html

Trump’s endless lying threatens his ability to govern and even exasperates GOP leaders

In the first five days of his presidency, Donald Trump has put the enormous power of the nation’s highest office behind spurious — and easily disproved — claims.

He began with trivial falsehoods about the size of the crowds at his inauguration but has since escalated a graver claim that undermines the trustworthiness of the nation’s electoral system. In a White House reception Monday night for congressional leaders, Trump alleged that as many as 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, denying him a popular-vote majority.

It was a claim that Trump had made in the aftermath of the election, with no evidence to back it up.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, whose own credibility has been undercut during his first week on the job, offered no evidence Tuesday to back up the president’s claim.

“The president does believe that,” Spicer said. “He has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign, and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”

Beliefs, however, are not the same as facts. Pressed to produce the basis upon which Trump bases his assertion, Spicer claimed that a 2008 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts “showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens. There’s other studies that have been presented to him. It’s a belief he maintains.”

Pew made no such finding. Its study, it has noted, was issued in 2012 and dealt with inaccurate, outdated voter registration rolls. It did not address large-scale voter fraud.

Trump’s attraction to conspiracy theories and his contempt for facts that tarnish his pride may have serious implications for his ability to govern.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was a stalwart Trump supporter, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that he was mystified by Trump’s claim about illegal voters — and by his motivations for bringing it up.

“I have no evidence whatsoever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there are that many illegal people who voted,” Huckabee said. “And frankly it doesn’t matter. He’s the president, and whether 20 million people voted, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump’s claim “undermines faith in our democracy. It’s not coming from a candidate for office. It’s coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was a stalwart Trump supporter, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that he was mystified by Trump’s claim about illegal voters — and by his motivations for bringing it up.

“I have no evidence whatsoever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there are that many illegal people who voted,” Huckabee said.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump’s claim “undermines faith in our democracy. It’s not coming from a candidate for office. It’s coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”

On Saturday, the new president stood at CIA headquarters, before a wall of stars memorializing slain officers, and claimed that a dishonest media had refused to report the true size of the crowd on the Mall for his inauguration. Trump offered his own estimate of “a million, a million and a half people.”

Later that day, he dispatched Spicer to the White House briefing room, where the press secretary — in his first formal encounter in that setting with the reporters who cover the president — rattled off another round of unproven figures and contended that the crowd represented “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe.”

On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway compounded the damage in a contentious interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” in which she said: “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”

ref: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-disregard-for-the-truth-threatens-his-ability-to-govern/2017/01/24/945c81aa-e272-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html

Conway calls Trump’s lies “alternative facts”

A top adviser to President Donald Trump on Sunday said White House press secretary Sean Spicer provided “alternative facts” to reporters during his first briefing.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving, Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” Conway said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Host Chuck Todd fired back at Conway over her comments.
“Look, alternative facts are not facts,” said Chuck Todd. “They’re falsehoods.”

ref: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/315527-conway-spicer-used-alternative-facts-in-press-briefing

Trump creates a hellscape of lies and distorted reality

From a Washington Post column by Margaret Sullivan:

Consider, for example, the saga of Serge Kovaleski, the highly regarded New York Times reporter whose disability limits the use of his arms.

Yes, this is the reporter whom Trump mocked during the campaign — waving his arms in a crude but unmistakable imitation of Kovaleski’s movements. When criticized for doing so, Trump vehemently denied that mocking Kovaleski was even possible because he didn’t know him. (Which was also a lie.) All this, because Trump wanted to promote a myth — talk about “fake news” — that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11, which he falsely claimed Kovaleski reported while working at The Washington Post. Any reasonable person looking back at the facts would find that ­absurd.

How to deal with these endless lies? That’s the challenge facing us as we go forward into the Trump hellscape of lies and distorted reality.

Full column at https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-hellscape-of-lies-and-distorted-reality-awaits-journalists-covering-president-trump/2017/01/15/3656a17e-d90f-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html