If there's one trait you want in a president, it's somebody who tells the truth. That doesn't seem to be the case with this administration, though. Recently, The Washington Post reported that President Trump has uttered more false or misleading claims in 2019 alone than in the previous two years of his presidency combined. With Trump launching a re-election campaign for 2020, his propensity towards misleading or false statements should be a primary concern.
Over the past few years, Trump has made a lot of claims that just aren't true, which have been tracked by the Post's Fact Checker database. In 2017, Trump made almost 1,999 false or misleading claims, and he added another 5,689 in 2018, for a total of 7,688.
You might think that's a lot of false claims, but those two years are nothing compared to 2019. In this year alone, Trump more than doubled his total amount of false or misleading claims, bringing the total to a whopping 15,413.
Part of the reason for the uptick in Trump's falsehoods is the ongoing impeachment process, according to the Post. October and November of 2019 rank as the second and third biggest months for false claims, per the database.
The Fact Checker database provides a pretty through breakdown of what Trump has said and why it's false. For example, earlier this month Trump tweeted that impeaching a president who produced "perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history" is "political madness."
However, the U.S. isn't experiencing the strongest economy in its history by any stretch of the imagination. According to the Fact Checker database, the economies under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and even Ulysses S. Grant all faired better.
These sketchy claims didn't magically begin the moment Trump stepped into office. In fact, Trump proffered a lot of them during his 2016 campaign, which led to reporter Daniel Dale, then The Toronto Star's Washington bureau chief, compiling an "unauthorized database of false things." (Dale has since moved on to CNN.)
In the Star's database, Dale sorted and provided analysis of 560 false claims — about 20 per day — that Trump made on the campaign trail. One stunning example include the time Trump claimed 65 percent of Black children under the age of 6 are in poverty, which the Star reported as "not true in even one state."
There was also the time Trump claimed "thousands of refugees are being admitted with no way to screen them," despite refugees undergoing an extensive screening process.
Trump's false claims clearly aren't limited to one platform. According to the Post, Twitter accounts for 20% of his false and misleading statements, but Trump has thrown some out at rallies and to the press too.
The problem here isn't simply the fact that Trump traffics in untruths — although that's certainly an issue. It's also the fact that Trump seems to double down on his claims. For example, Trump's repeated statements linking immigration to criminality have been debunked, but those messages continue to be a major part of his platform.
In response, Trump has painted the press as "the true Enemy of the People," and he constantly accuses the media of reporting "fake news." As noted by USA Today, "By discrediting the press, he discredits criticism and scrutiny of his administration, character, and words." That comprises an efficient deflection strategy for when he's accused of making false statements.
Politicians and presidents have said false things before, but Trump seems to take it to a whole new level. Perhaps most alarmingly, as Trump continues to do so, his supporters continue to believe him.