Donald J. Trump Is The World’s Number One Liar Page 2
Fact check: A look at the false claim that the previous administration was nowhere on an issue roiling the nation then and now.By Jane C. TimmPresident Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that his predecessor did not take action on reforming police — even though it was under Trump that several Obama-era changes were scrapped. "President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period. The reason they didn't try is they had no idea how to do it," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden before he signed an executive order that encourages police departments to adopt high standards, like banning chokeholds unless the life of the officer is at risk, and to create a database of excessive force complaints. But Obama, the nation's first Black president, who confronted and addressed race and racism frequently, did take action to reform police and try to reduce bias in law enforcement. The Trump administration is well aware of that, too: It unraveled those changes. "He said President Obama did nothing on police reform, but the fact is they made a lot of progress and President Trump rolled it back," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday. Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said, "Donald Trump says President Obama and Vice President Biden didn't do anything on policing reform, but he knows that isn't true because he has spent the past three years tearing down the very reforms the Obama-Biden administration pursued." In August 2017, Trump reversed an Obama policy that banned the military from selling surplus equipment to police, a measure that had been put in place amid criticism over the armored vehicles, tear gas and assault rifles used to control protests after the police killing of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.
Trump, who reversed Obama-era efforts to demilitarize police, now falsely says Obama 'never even tried' to reform policingBy John HaltiwangerAs President Donald Trump outlined his executive order on policing in the Rose Garden on Tuesday in a rambling monologue that was more like one of his campaign rallies than a formal announcement, he falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama "never even tried" to reform law enforcement during this tenure. "President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period," Trump said as he discussed bringing about change to policing. "The reason they didn't try is because they had no idea how to do it. And it is a complex situation." But Trump actually rolled back Obama-era efforts aimed at quelling police brutality, including an executive order aimed at demilitarizing the police. In 2014, after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, people across the US looked on in horror as protests over the killing were met by police officers equipped like soldiers.
By Sarah K. BurrisPresident Donald Trump was criticized as being “low energy” during his Rose Garden announcement on police brutality Tuesday. After meeting with the families of some of the people of color killed by police, Trump welcomed officers, but not the families, to a press event to announce his executive order. It sparked questions as to why the families didn’t attend and if they were invited or if they refused to support Trump’s new policy. But Trump soon riffed on the protests, attacking them as rioters and looters. He followed by bragging about the stimulus bill that Democrats worked to negotiate with Senate Republicans and Steve Mnuchin. He then tried to claim that “school choice” was all about civil rights so families can bus children miles away instead of mandating that all schools in all communities be improved and equalized. He went on to call it the biggest civil rights issue of our time, ignoring the actual Civil Rights Movement.
He also says Trump is not following the Constitution.By AUBREE ELIZA WEAVERFormer Secretary of State Colin Powell called on voters not to reelect President Donald Trump this fall — saying it's time to make America better for all people, not just a few. "I think he has not been an effective president," Powell told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview Sunday morning. "He lies all the time. He began lying the day of inauguration, when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about this favorite thing of lying. And I don't think that's in our interest."
By David Markowitz ContributorI’m an academic who cares deeply about how lying affects communication processes and social relationships. One of the most important and consistent truths about deception is that we are all mostly honest. Most people tell one or two small lies per day, on average, and there are only a few prolific liars in our social circles. Rates of interpersonal deception — the lies I tell you and you tell me — have been remarkably stable in deception research over time. But, as others suggested, something is unusual about President Trump. His rate of deception has increased since taking office. As of early April, Trump has told 23.3 lies per day in 2020, a 0.5-lie increase since 2019. What’s more, Trump has averaged 23.8 lies per day since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the US — another 0.5-lie increase. Even during a pandemic, when the public needs to trust and rely on him the most, deception remains a core part of the president’s playbook. What’s unusual about Trump is not just how often he lies, but what he lies about and where he communicates his lies most often.
By Greg Sargent Opinion writerWhen President Trump floated the despicable conspiracy theory that a 75-year-old man who got brutalized by police might be linked to “antifa,” it dominated an entire news cycle. That’s perhaps understandable. But let’s not lose sight of this: It’s also a huge deal that Trump and his top law enforcement officials have all said repeatedly that the civil unrest has been infiltrated by antifa, not just as a throwaway bit of political theater, but to help sustain the claim that we’re under attack from “domestic terror.” Not only that, Trump has said this to justify floating what would be an enormously consequential policy move — that is, invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 to send in troops to quell the unrest. Trump’s antifa bluster, however, has just taken another hit. ABC News reports:
The president falsely cited the risk of voter fraud in tweeted threats to defund Nevada and Michigan, both 2020 swing statesBy Sam Levine in New YorkDonald Trump falsely accused two states of facilitating voter fraud and threatened to withhold critical election funding from them on Wednesday because of their efforts to make it easier to cast a ballot during the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump targeted Nevada and Michigan, a critical swing state he won by just over 10,000 votes in 2016. Trump incorrectly said Michigan was planning to send a mail-in ballot to every voter for elections in 2020. The state announced on Tuesday it was sending an absentee ballot application, not a ballot, to every registered voter. Georgia’s secretary of state, a Republican, announced a similar plan earlier this year, a plan reportedly developed in coordination with the Trump campaign. Republican secretaries of state in other places, including Iowa and West Virginia have also decided to send absentee ballot applications to all voters. In a second tweet on Wednesday, Trump also suggested he would block federal funding from Nevada after its Republican secretary of state decided to mail a ballot to voters for the state’s 9 June primary. Facing a Democratic-led lawsuit, Clark county, home of 70% of voters, agreed to send ballots to not just active voters, but inactive ones the state suspects have moved. Republicans argue that decision leaves ballots vulnerable to fraud. Several studies have shown voter fraud is extremely rare and Trump himself voted by mail in Florida earlier this year.
By Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly - Washington PostWhen we last updated our database of President Trump’s false or misleading claims, it was on Jan. 19, the end of his third year as president. The president’s most frequently repeated false claim was that he presided over the best economy in the history of the United States. The next day, the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus was reported in the United States. So, with this update through April 3, we’ve added a new category — coronavirus — that already has more than 350 items. Much has changed in the world, with stay-at-home orders, massive economic disruption and topsy-turvy securities markets, but one thing has remained constant — the president’s prolific twisting of the truth. As of April 3, Trump’s 1,170th day in office, our database shows that he has made 18,000 false or misleading claims. That’s an average of more than 15 claims a day, though since our last update 75 days ago, he’s been averaging just over 23 claims a day. That’s slightly higher than the 22 a day he recorded in 2019. With millions of Americans suddenly unemployed or facing cuts in pay, the president’s claims of an economic boom are woefully out of date. But that has not stopped him from recalling the pre-coronavirus environment with rose-colored glasses. “Again, we had the strongest economy in the world,” he said at a news conference on April 3. “We had our best ever. We had probably the best economy in the history of the world, bigger than China, bigger than anybody.” Such economic statistics were a mainstay of the president’s campaign rallies, which were always a rich source of suspect claims. Before the pandemic forced the president to stop holding such events, he held seven rallies between Jan. 30 and March 2. Reading his remarks at those rallies now is like opening a time capsule, as he bragged about job numbers and a soaring stock market while dismissing the coronavirus as a problem akin to the flu that would magically disappear in April. In a case of counting his chickens before they hatch, Trump repeatedly proclaimed he had the best unemployment numbers of any presidential term. But he was measuring his three-year average against full four- or eight-year terms. Given the swoon in the economy, it’s now doubtful he will have best record once his term is completed. Grounded at home, the president has replaced the campaign rallies with his near-daily briefings at the White House on the pandemic. These news conferences have also been a rich source of misinformation. The president has over-promised (such as announcing a Google website that did not exist), sought undue credit or tried to pin the blame for the crisis on others. For many weeks, Trump played down the emerging crisis. He frequently said there were only 15 cases and these patients would soon be better. He often claimed the low figure was the result of travel restrictions he placed on non-U.S. citizens traveling from China. At the time the virus was spreading rapidly through the United States, largely undetected because the Trump administration failed to quickly set up effective testing.
By D'Angelo GorePresident Donald Trump falsely claimed that his administration was not initially able to meet the increasing demand for ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients because “we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration.” We can’t say for sure how many ventilators there were in the Strategic National Stockpile when Trump took office, but there were likely thousands. A 2017 article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated there were roughly 9,000 ventilators in the federal stockpile as of at least 2010, and ventilators in the U.S. stockpile had never been distributed in the 20 years prior to the global coronavirus outbreak in 2020, according to Richard Branson, a respiratory care specialist and professor at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who advises the federal government on ventilator supplies. Reporters also described seeing some of the government’s stash of ventilators in 2016, when they toured at least one of the secret U.S. warehouses where the breathing machines and other equipment are stored in the event of a health crisis, such as a pandemic. Trump repeatedly has made the general claim that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies was “empty” or “bare” when he took office. That’s false, as we have written before. But he specifically said there weren’t any ventilators when answering reporters’ questions during a recent White House event about his administration’s efforts to protect seniors from contracting the novel coronavirus. Seniors are vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, particularly those in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.Trump, April 30: We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration. The cupboards were bare, as I say often. And not only are the cupboards full now, we have ventilators; we’re the king in the world of ventilators. We have thousands and thousands of them now being delivered.But it’s not true that the Trump administration did not inherit any ventilators. Reporters said they saw ventilators during a tour of one of the U.S. facilities housing the stockpile’s massive inventory. “As we walk, I hear a loud hum. It’s a giant freezer packed with products that have to be kept cold,” wrote NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce in June 2016 — only months before Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. “Just outside it, there are rows upon rows of ventilators that could keep sick or injured people breathing. [Shirley] Mabry explains that they’re kept in a constant state of readiness. ‘If you look down to the side you’ll see there’s electrical outlets so they can be charged once a month,’ she says. Not only that—the ventilators get sent out for yearly maintenance.” VICE News also reported seeing the machines when its film crew visited one of the facilities for an episode of “VICE News Tonight” that aired in December 2016. “[A]lthough we couldn’t reveal where it was or what exactly it had inside. It looked like a prepper’s Ikea, with row after row of containers filled with mystery medications and equipment — including that one item everyone’s been talking about lately, ventilators,” Vice News said.
By Daniel Dale, Tara Subramaniam, Liz Stark and Em Steck, CNNWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump's Monday coronavirus news conference in the White House Rose Garden was shorter than usual and at least somewhat less acrimonious than many of the briefings he's held over the past month.But Trump still made false and misleading claims, most of them repeats from past briefings. And Vice President Mike Pence accused a reporter of a misunderstanding about testing that Pence's own words had created weeks earlier.Here are some fact checks from the briefing:Pence's testing promisesPence, Trump and others who spoke at the briefing touted the administration's plan to dramatically increase coronavirus testing in the coming weeks. (Trump said the number of tests conducted would soon be much more than double the current level.) A reporter then asked Pence what went wrong before -- after his early-March claims that four million tests would be available by the following week. Pence said last Friday, a month and a half after those March comments, that 5.1 million Americans had been tested. Pence responded Monday: "I appreciate the question, but it represents a misunderstanding on your part and frankly the -- a lot of people in the public's part -- about the difference between having a test versus the ability to actually process the test."Pence said "the old system" was not able to process the tests at the necessary volume. When a reporter pressed him, asking if he had just been talking in March "about tests being sent out, not actually being completed," Pence said that was correct.Facts First: If there was a misunderstanding, Pence's own remarks helped create it. When Pence said on March 9 and on March 10 that 4 million tests would be distributed before the end of the week, in addition to 1 million already distributed, he did not explain that those millions of tests could not be processed anytime soon. Here's what Pence said on March 9: "Over a million tests have been distributed. Before the end of this week, another 4 million tests will be distributed. But as I said before, with the deployment of the commercial labs, we literally -- we literally are going to see a dramatic increase in the available -- availability of testing, and that's all a direct result of the President's leadership." Similarly, Pence said on March 10: "Over a million tests are out, thanks to the diligent work of (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and (the Department of Health and Human Services). More than 4 million will go out this week. You've worked with commercial labs to expand testing, and that will continue to increase by the day." There were, again, no caveats, and he again mentioned the labs.China tariffsAt Monday's news conference, the President was asked about China's role in the pandemic. Trump repeated his regular false claim that the US "never took in 10 cents from China" before he took office.Facts First: Not only are Americans bearing most of the cost of Trump's tariffs but the US has also had tariffs on China for more than two centuries, generating an average of $12 billion a year from 2007 to 2016. You can read a longer fact check on Trump's China tariffs here. Go deeper and take a listen to Daniel Dale breaking down some of these fact checks and more on The Daily DC Podcast
By Glenn Kessler"The Postal Service is a joke because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other Internet companies. And every time they bring a package, they lose money on it.”— President Trump, in remarks to reporters, April 24President Trump is threatening to veto financial aid for the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service unless it hikes the price it charges for delivering packages — which he said should be quadrupled. Note that he mentioned Amazon by the name. The Washington Post, of course, is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon. The president is often displeased by reporting in The Post, which he occasionally labels the “Amazon Washington Post” even though The Post is not part of Amazon. Bezos has owned The Post since 2013 as a personal investment via Nash Holdings LLC. Be that as it may, it’s certainly worth fact-checking whether the Postal Service loses money delivering packages for e-commerce merchants, as Trump claims.The FactsThe Postal Service is losing money overall, primarily because the rise of email has sharply cut flat-mail volume, and because Congress requires it to prepay pension and health benefits. One problem is the USPS must charge the same price for first-class mail delivery anywhere in the country, no matter how remote. But the USPS consistently says package delivery is a bright spot in its revenue picture, increasing every year. “As a percentage of operating revenue, Shipping and Packages generated approximately 32%, 30% and 28% for the years ended September 30, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively,” USPS said in a 2019 regulatory filing. “As a percentage of total volume, Shipping and Packages represented 4.3%, 4.2% and 3.8% for the years ended 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.” Of course, revenue is not profit. And we do not know the details of the contracts between USPS and Internet retailers. But USPS says it has been raising prices: “Prices for these Competitive services increased an average of 7.4%, 4.1% and 3.9% in January 2019, January 2018 and January 2017, respectively.” Amazon uses the Postal Service for the last mile or so of a package’s journey. But the Postal Service says there are signs Amazon may emerge as a competitor. Note the use of the phrase “competitive services” in USPS documents. Under a 2006 law, USPS has two product lines — services such as first-class mail in which it holds a monopoly and competitive products in which it competes with companies such as FedEx and UPS. Under that law, USPS is prohibited from losing money in the competitive services deliveries. Indeed, the USPS’s most recent public cost and revenue filing shows that in the competitive services sector, first-class package services covered 148 percent of operating costs, while ground parcel post covered 189 percent of operating costs associated with these deliveries. That would suggest profits are being made. So, the law says USPS cannot lose money on package services, and USPS says costs are being covered. How can Trump claim the agency is losing money?The Pinocchio TestRegular readers know the burden of proof rests with the speaker. The president says USPS loses money on every package it delivers for e-commerce merchants. But that appears to be an analysis derived from his gut — or his animus toward Amazon — than any sophisticated analysis of the numbers. USPS, by its own calculation, says revenue from package deliveries far exceeds costs. With Amazon perhaps seeking to bypass USPS, the agency must be careful not to price itself out of the market — and thus face a bigger financial squeeze. Moreover, under the law, USPS is prohibited from losing money in the package-delivery sector. In the end, Treasury cannot show us USPS is actually losing money on its contract with Amazon, as Trump claims. It can assert only that USPS does not know whether it makes a profit. Trump earns Four Pinocchios. We’re happy to revisit this fact check if any evidence supporting his position emerges.
By Daniel DaleWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump lied Friday when he said he was being "sarcastic" when he asked medical experts on Thursday to look into the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus. Doctors and the company that makes Lysol and Dettol warned that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is dangerous. But when Trump was asked about the comments during a bill signing on Friday, he said, "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen." He then suggested he was talking about disinfectants that can safely be rubbed on people's hands. And then he returned to the sarcasm explanation, saying it was "a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside." A reporter noted that he had asked his medical experts to look into it. Trump responded: "No, no, no, no -- to look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us."Facts First: Trump was not being "sarcastic" on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was simply no indication that he was being anything less than serious. He was also wrong Friday when he denied he had asked the medical experts to "check" the idea of disinfectant injections; he was looking at them at the time. And he did not mention hands during his Thursday remarks. Here's what Trump said Thursday while looking in the direction of coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Department of Homeland Security science official Bill Bryan: "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you're going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds -- it sounds interesting to me."
By Daniel Dale, Marshall Cohen, Tara Subramaniam, David Wright and Liz Stark, CNNWashington (CNN) It's hard to know where to begin fact checking. President Donald Trump's latest coronavirus press conference on Saturday afternoon was littered with false claims about both the pandemic crisis and various unrelated matters Trump decided to talk about, from North Korea and Iran to Chinese tariffs. Trump continued to be dishonest on the critical subject of coronavirus testing, wrongly claiming he "inherited" faulty tests -- they were developed this year, during his presidency -- and painting an overly rosy picture of the US testing situation. He also repeated several of the false claims he likes to make at his campaign rallies. Here's a rundown of the claims and the facts.Governors and testingTrump continued to favorably compare the coronavirus testing situation in the US to the situation in other countries. He alleged that Democratic governors are deliberately not using testing capacity the federal government has created -- and suggested that the only governors "complaining" about testing challenges are Democrats. "Now they're giving you the other -- it's called 'testing, testing.' But they don't want to use all of the capacity that we've created. We have tremendous capacity ... they know that, the governors know that. The Democrat governors know that. They're the ones that are complaining," he said. Facts First: There is no evidence that any governor is deliberately not using available testing capacity. And it's not only Democratic governors who have spoken of problems and challenges with testing. Governors from both parties, and public health officials around the country, have warned that they are still unable to do the amount of testing needed to safely lift social and economic restrictions. Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his health chief expressed frustration on Friday that testing at hospitals in the state was being impeded by a shortage of critical components. Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on NBC on Thursday that he believes Maryland is going to get, "in the next several weeks," to the level of testing needed, but he also said: "This has been the No. 1 stumbling block in America, the lack of availability of testing, and you really can't get to any point where you can reopen the country until, not just in my state, but across the country, until we can do much, much larger-scale testing." Republican Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said Wednesday that it has been "a challenge" to get all of the supplies needed to conduct tests. Peter Iwen, director of the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory, told Omaha's KETV in a story published Wednesday that supplies they need to run tests were being sent instead to labs in other states: "We're trying to compete with those people, and we're just not getting the reagents sent to us." Democratic governors are expressing concerns similar to those of their Republican colleagues. Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly told CNN on Thursday: "We have had a very difficult time getting access to tests and all the stuff you need to complete those tests."
By Daniel Dale, Tara Subramaniam and Liz Stark, CNNWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump inaccurately declared at Thursday's White House coronavirus briefing that some states do not have "any problem" with the virus's outbreak, minimizing the situation even in the least-affected states. Trump also repeated his incorrect suggestion that he has the power to decide when governors lift their pandemic-related restrictions. And he argued that "people should have told us" about the virus, omitting the fact that he continued to downplay the virus for weeks after public warnings. We fact checked these items below.States without any problemsAs part of the administration's three-phase recommendation for re-opening the country, Trump said some states could be ready to enter phase one of the reopening process as soon as Friday because, when it comes to coronavirus, "you have states without any problem." He added that some states are "at a point where there is almost nothing" in terms of coronavirus cases, and that "you have states with few cases and those few cases have healed." Facts First: It's not true that some states currently don't have "any problem" related to coronavirus. At the time the President spoke, all 50 states each had more than 200 confirmed cases, and 41 states have more than 1,000 confirmed cases. There is no definitive state-by-state data on how many infected people have recovered. Wyoming, which has the fewest cases of any state, has reported 288 cases. While Trump was hesitant to name which specific states could be the first to reopen, none of them have close to zero cases, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Further, testing issues have raised concerns that cases or deaths are being undercounted, so it's difficult to know the accuracy of the existing data. Trump has made similar false claims in past briefings. In early April, he said that certain states, specifically those without stay-at-home orders, were "not in jeopardy" or at risk from the coronavirus. The number of coronavirus cases in all those states, except Wyoming, have since more than doubled, though two of them -- Wyoming and North Dakota -- remain among the five states with the least amount of cases.
By Rem RiederPresident Donald Trump is making false and exaggerated claims about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Feb. 24 trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown. Pelosi urged people to shop and eat there at a time when tourism was suffering because of the novel coronavirus, which originated in China late last year. Trump falsely tweeted that “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” had deleted a video from Twitter of her visit to Chinatown. “She wanted everyone to pack into Chinatown long after I closed the BORDER TO CHINA,” Trump said. But there is no record such a video was ever posted on Twitter by Pelosi. At an April 13 coronavirus briefing, Trump falsely claimed that during her visit Pelosi said, “‘Let’s all have the big parade — Chinatown parade.'” Pelosi didn’t say that. In fact, that parade had taken place on Feb. 8, more than two weeks before Pelosi went to Chinatown. At a coronavirus briefing on April 15, Trump exaggerated when he said Pelosi “was trying to have, in San Francisco, parties in Chinatown, because she thought it would be great.” Pelosi didn’t mention parties during her visit, although she urged people to come to Chinatown to shop and eat. Trump also falsely said Pelosi visited Chinatown “to show that this thing doesn’t exist,” referring to the novel coronavirus. Pelosi never suggested that it didn’t exist. She stressed the need for “prevention, prevention, prevention” — urging people to be “concerned and vigilant,” but not “afraid.” The president has raised Pelosi’s visit several times in recent days to counter criticism that he was slow to react to the coronavirus. He repeatedly mentions that he issued travel restrictions on China, which he did on Jan. 31. Meanwhile, he points out, the House speaker was urging people to go to Chinatown. Trump is mischaracterizing and exaggerating what she said during her visit. And while Trump did issue the travel restrictions, as we have reported, he also downplayed the danger of the virus in a series of remarks and tweets from Jan. 22 to March 10. The California Democrat’s visit to Chinatown came three weeks before six Bay Area counties implemented shelter-in-place restrictions. On the same day as Pelosi’s visit, Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Here’s Trump’s April 16 tweet accusing Pelosi of deleting a video from her Twitter account:
Fact check: Trump denies saying another thing he said and makes more false claims at coronavirus briefingBy Daniel Dale, Tara Subramaniam and Nathan McDermott, CNN(CNN) Another coronavirus briefing. Another series of false claims. Speaking Tuesday in the Rose Garden of the White House, President Donald Trump denied making a comment he did make. He criticized the World Health Organization for the same thing he has done before. He wrongly suggested he was the only national leader to impose travel restrictions on China. He claimed he was "authorizing" governors to lift coronavirus restrictions even though this power always belonged to governors. He falsely claimed, again, that "nobody ever thought" there would be a crisis like this. And he repeated some of his favorite false claims about his tariffs on China. Here's a rundown of Trump's claims, and the facts around them.Trump's praise for China's supposed transparencyAfter he criticized the World Health Organization for praising China's supposed transparency over the coronavirus, Trump was pressed about his own previous praise of China's supposed transparency. "I don't talk about China's transparency," Trump responded. "You know, if I'm so good to China, how come I was the only person, the only leader of a country, that closed our borders tightly against China?"Facts First: Trump did praise China, and its president, Xi Jinping, for its supposed transparency. Moreover, Trump didn't completely shut down travel between China and the United States; nearly 40,000 people traveled from China to the United States after he announced travel restrictions, according to an April 4 New York Times analysis of data collected in both countries. And Trump was far from the only leader to impose travel restrictions from China. A Washington Post analysis found that 38 countries imposed significant travel restrictions on China "before or at the same time the U.S. restrictions were put in place." (The Post analysis did not count 12 other countries "that took some sort of action before the United States but with measures that were not as sweeping.")
By Lori RobertsonIn early March, President Donald Trump said that restrictions he placed on travel to and from China “saved a lot of lives,” a claim that grew to “probably tens of thousands” and “hundreds of thousands” by early April. But we found no support for such figures. The few studies that have been done estimate the U.S.’ and other countries’ travel restrictions regarding China had modest impacts, slowing the initial spread outside of China but not containing the coronavirus pandemic. We didn’t find a study that looked at the U.S. restrictions alone, and we found only one non-peer-reviewed study, on Australia, that found an impact of such policies on deaths, though it has significant limitations. Past studies, too, have found international travel restrictions could delay the path of the spread of diseases but do little to contain them. Saad B. Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, told us he hasn’t seen any evidence to support the president’s claims. Previous studies of viruses with a reproduction number of 1.9 or higher, meaning the average number of other people one person infects, have shown the restrictions have to be very strict to have an effect, he said. Travel restrictions “can have an impact if you shut down 90% of all travel,” Omer said. But, “even then, it delays it a little bit but it doesn’t stop it.” Omer co-authored a Feb. 3 article on why a travel ban wouldn’t stop the coronavirus. Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the libertarian Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, looked at several of the same studies we examined and concluded that “by themselves, travel restrictions do little but delay the onset of a crisis mentality and shift the curve to the right rather than flattening it.” As we have found with prior claims from the president, Trump’s assertions have progressively grown:
A timeline of Trump promises and predictions on coronavirus -- and how they stack up against the factsBy Tara Subramaniam, Holmes Lybrand, Christopher Hickey and Victoria Fleischer, CNNWashington (CNN) It's been almost a month since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. In that time, the virus has swept across the US, which has gone from having just a few outbreaks to now leading the world in infections. Throughout, the Trump administration has issued a series of promises, predictions and proclamations as it has tried to calm the American people and give the impression the virus is under control. But on topics ranging from testing, to treatments, to the critical supplies that health workers need, reality has continued to fall short of President Donald Trump's rhetoric. While this is a fluid situation, with facts changing every day, here's a look back at some of the promises and predictions the President has made and how they stack up against reality as of Sunday April 5.
By D'Angelo GoreMore than once, President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies he inherited from his predecessor was an “empty shelf.” While the government does not publicize all of the contents of the repository, at the time Trump took office, the Strategic National Stockpile, as it is formally known, reportedly contained vast amounts of materials that state and local health officials could use during an emergency, including vaccines, antiviral drugs, ventilators and protective gear for doctors and nurses. “The SNS was definitely not an empty shell,” Dr. Tara O’Toole, a former homeland security official during the Obama administration who is now executive vice president at the nonprofit strategic investment firm In-Q-Tel, told us in an email. At least three times in the past week, however, Trump has sought to blame former President Barack Obama’s administration for the current state of the stockpile, which has been unable to meet the demand for additional supplies expected to be needed to treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or to protect the doctors and nurses caring for those patients. During a White House coronavirus task force briefing on March 26, in which Trump mentioned the number of respirators, face shields and ventilators that had so far been distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the president said: “We took over an empty shelf. We took over a very depleted place, in a lot of ways.” When a reporter asked him about that claim during another briefing the following day, Trump again said he inherited “an empty shelf” that he had to refill. And he continued to use that inaccurate description on March 30, during an interview with the hosts of “Fox & Friends.” “We started off with an empty shelf,” he said, adding, “We didn’t have very much in terms of medical product … and we built something really good.”Strategic National StockpileThe Strategic National Stockpile was created in 1999, and, as of April 2, was described on a Department of Health and Human Services website as “the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.” (That description was later altered to say, “The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies.” The change was made after Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, said on April 2: “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” Some interpreted Kushner’s remarks to mean the federal stockpile was not meant to be used by states, which would be false. But, in context, Kushner said the federal government is trying to “make informed data-driven decisions, both on ventilators, masks, any other supply we can get, to make sure it’s going to the people who need them.”) Most of the materials in the stockpile are stored in large warehouses around the country, and where those warehouses are located, and exactly what’s in them, is not publicly disclosed. But NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce was allowed to visit one facility in June 2016 — only months before Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. In her article about the warehouse she toured, she described the shelves as being the opposite of bare. “A big American flag hangs from the ceiling, and shelves packed with stuff stand so tall that looking up makes me dizzy,” Greenfieldboyce wrote.
By Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNN(CNN) On two occasions during Sunday's coronavirus briefing, President Donald Trump falsely denied he had said words he had said publicly last week.When PBS's Yamiche Alcindor noted that the President had said he did not believe that governors actually need all the equipment they claimed they did, Trump said, "I didn't say that" — even though he said precisely that on Fox News on Thursday. Later, when CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond noted that Trump had said he wanted governors to be "appreciative" of him, and that "if they don't treat you right, I don't call," Trump said, "But I didn't say that" — even though he said precisely that at the Friday briefing. Here's a closer look.What Trump said about governors and equipmentTrump falsely denied that he claimed governors from certain states are asking for equipment they don't need. At Sunday's briefing, Alcindor, Newshour's White House Correspondent, asked the President whether he felt his comments and belief "that some of the equipment that governors are requesting they don't actually need" would have an impact on the federal distribution of ventilators and other medical resources. As Alcindor attempted to finish her question, the President interjected, "I didn't say that," before going on to say it wouldn't have an impact. Facts First: He did say that. On March 26 during a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Trump said, "a lot of equipment's being asked for that I don't think they'll need" specifically in reference to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and following a tirade against Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump later said he felt Cuomo was requesting an unnecessary number of ventilators. "I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they are going to be," Trump said. "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators." When Alcindor noted that she was quoting from the President's interview with Hannity, Trump said: "Take a look at my interview. What I want to do is if there is something wrong, we have to get to the bottom of it."What Trump said about his dealings with governorsCNN's Jeremy Diamond began a question to Trump as follows: "I'd also like to ask you about some comments you made on Friday. You were talking about governors of different states and you said, 'I want them to be appreciative.' You also said, 'if they don't treat you right, I don't call.'" After Diamond said the words "if they don't treat you right," Trump said, "But I didn't say that." When Diamond finished the sentence, Trump said "I didn't say that" once more. Facts First: Trump did say what he claimed he didn't. As Diamond told Trump, Diamond was reading direct quotes from Trump's Friday briefing. Trump went on to argue Sunday that he was being taken out of context, noting that on Friday he had also said of his "I want them to be appreciative" comment, that he was talking about people other than himself. Trump had said Friday: "I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about Mike Pence, the task force; I'm talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers." Trump is within his rights to urge media outlets to play the full clip, but those additional comments do not change the fact that he had said exactly what Diamond said he did. Trump also said Sunday: "I don't call the governor of Washington now, but Mike Pence calls, and the head of FEMA calls; I don't stop them. Did I ever ask you to do anything negative, Mike, to Washington?" We don't know for sure what Trump might have told Pence in private, but Trump explicitly said Friday that he had indeed tried to get Pence not to call the governors of Washington and Michigan. Trump said Friday: "He calls all the governors. I tell him — I mean, I'm a different type of person — I say, 'Mike, don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan.'" When a reporter pressed Trump on Friday about whether he really doesn't want Pence to call the governor of Washington, Trump confirmed — but said that Pence, a "different type of person," will "call quietly anyway."
By Tara Subramaniam and Daniel Dale, CNN(CNN) Inaccuracies about the stock market. Baffling statements about a closed GM plant. Stating you can call coronavirus the flu. President Donald Trump on Friday continued the false and misleading claims that have become a part of White House briefings on coronavirus, wrapping up a week in which the number of confirmed cases across the country topped 100,000. We are still combing through the transcript, but here is the developing roundup:The real state of the stock market 22 days agoTrump claimed that 22 days ago, "everything was going beautifully" before the US got hit by what he calls "the invisible enemy." He said, "22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world, everything was going beautifully, the stock market hit an all-time high"Facts First: While the market had previously set all-time records under Trump, on March 5, 22 days before Trump's comments, the Dow dropped 3.6% or 970 points, then its fifth-worst single-day point drop on record, adding to a 3,000-point drop since its peak on February 12. That day's fall in the Dow followed drops of 1,000 points and 800 points earlier that week.How unforeseen the coronavirus crisis wasMultiple times throughout Friday's press briefing, the President claimed the current situation was unprecedented and unforeseen. According to Trump, "nobody was prepared for this," not even past presidents. He added, "In all fairness to all of the former presidents, none of them ever thought a thing like this could happen."Facts First: This is false. The US intelligence community and public health experts had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic. Experts had also warned that the country would face shortages of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, if a pandemic occurred.You can read a full fact check here about some of the pandemic warnings. You can read a full fact check here about warnings about the need for additional ventilators in a pandemic.
Seattle NPR Station Says It Will No Longer Carry Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings Live Because Of MisinformationBy Ted Johnson - DeadlineAn NPR station in Seattle said that it no longer will carry live coverage of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus briefings because of concerns that they feature unchecked misleading or false information. “KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus — and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners,” the station tweeted. “However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time. (2) — KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW) March 24, 2020Most recently, Trump has called for lifting of social distancing guidelines in the near future, perhaps by Easter, even though public health professionals are still grappling with the spread of the virus. He also has made false claims about the availability of tests, the timeline for finding a vaccine and the potential benefits of a treatment that includes the ingredient chloroquine. While there is some promising study of its potential use, it has not it has not been approved for treatment. NBC News reported on one Arizona man who died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, and his wife said that they learned about its use after watching a briefing.
By Glenn Kessler and Salvador RizzoOver the course of a day, President Trump appeared in a virtual Fox News Town Hall, in a Fox News interview and in the daily coronavirus task force briefing. During the hours before the camera, he mused about packed churches on Easter Sunday, seeking to jawbone the country back to work despite the advice of medical professionals who fear it may be too early to return to normalcy to halt the spread of the virus. Here’s a guide to 11 of Trump’s claims on March 24, most of which were false or misleading. “I had to make a decision: Do I stop people from China and specifically that area, but from China to come into the country? And everybody was against it. Almost everybody, I would say, was just absolutely against it. We’ve never done it before. We never made a decision like that. … It was instinct.” Trump’s recollection — that his “instinct” led him to take action over the advice of “everybody” — conflicts with reporting on the decision-making that led to the administration, effective Feb. 3, to bar foreigners (with many exemptions) from traveling to the United States from China. The New York Times reported the plan was initially recommended by staff from the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Department, and they were soon joined by public health experts. Trump was reluctant at first when the idea was presented to him.
By TOM KRISHER and HOPE YENDETROIT (AP) — President Donald Trump is falsely claiming that automakers including GM, Ford and Tesla are pitching in to manufacture medical ventilators “fast” to help fill an acute U.S. shortage of the medical equipment for coronavirus patients. Ford and GM have yet to start, and it would take them months, if not longer, to begin production, if it’s even possible.A look at the claim:TRUMP: “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?” — tweet Sunday. TRUMP, on addressing a shortage of ventilators: “General Motors, Ford, so many companies — I had three calls yesterday directly, without having to institute like: `You will do this’ — these companies are making them right now.” — briefing Saturday. THE FACTS: No automaker is anywhere close to making medical gear such as ventilators and remain months away — if not longer. Nor do the car companies need the president’s permission to move forward. Neither GM or Ford is building ventilators at present, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Friday that his company was “working on ventilators” but he didn’t specify how long it might take. His tweets also questioned the need and said it couldn’t be done immediately. Redirecting plants to make completely different products, in fact, will take a long time and a huge effort — possibly too long for some companies to help with medical gear shortages.
The president tried to rewrite his history with advising Americans about the coronavirus. His own words prove him wrong.By Katie RogersWASHINGTON — For weeks, President Trump has minimized the coronavirus, mocked concern about it and treated the risk from it cavalierly. On Tuesday he took to the White House lectern and made a remarkable assertion: He knew it was a pandemic all along. “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” This is what Mr. Trump has actually said over the past two months: On Jan. 22, asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic,” the president replied: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” On Feb. 26, at a White House news conference, commenting on the country’s first reported cases: “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.” On Feb. 27, at a White House meeting: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.” On March 7, standing next to President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil at Mar-a-Lago, his club in Palm Beach, Fla., when asked if he was concerned that the virus was spreading closer to Washington: “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.” (At least three members of the Brazilian delegation and one Trump donor at Mar-a-Lago that weekend later tested positive for the virus.) On March 16, in the White House briefing room, warning that the outbreak would “wash” away this summer: “So it could be right in that period of time where it, I say, wash — it washes through. Other people don’t like that term. But where it washes through.” That comment on Monday was part of Mr. Trump’s inching toward a more urgent tone in recent days. But his assertion on Tuesday that he had long seen the pandemic coming was the most abrupt pivot yet from the voluminous number of claims and caustic remarks he has made about the disease. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump spent much of a lengthy news conference praising his administration’s response to the pandemic, saying the only mistake his administration made had been a mismanagement of relationships with the news media.
The president drew attention for his more somber mood at a coronavirus briefing Monday. But on Tuesday, he said, “I didn’t feel different.”By QUINT FORGEYPresident Donald Trump denied Tuesday that he has adopted a more dire tone in confronting the coronavirus crisis, insisting that he always took the public health emergency seriously despite several past dismissive remarks regarding the threat it posed to Americans. Speaking at the White House coronavirus task force’s daily press briefing, the president was questioned by reporters about his mood at Monday’s news conference, when he struck a graver note relative to his previous appearances discussing the burgeoning outbreak. “I didn’t think — I mean, I have seen that, where people actually liked it,” Trump said Tuesday of the response to his more sober-seeming public-facing demeanor. “But I didn’t feel different,” he continued. “I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” The president has been criticized over the course of several weeks for repeatedly minimizing the coronavirus threat, while public health officials within his administration have issued urgent warnings as to the risk the disease posed to the nation. In his first statements on the coronavirus in late January, Trump said the United States had it “totally under control” and tweeted days later that it “will all work out well.” The president’s efforts to downplay the pandemic continued steadily until as recently as earlier this month. He accused the World Health Organization of producing an inaccurate mortality rate, falsely claimed that “anybody that wants a test can get a test,” and predicted that “it will go away. Just stay calm.” But the White House’s optimism seemed to dim significantly Monday, as the coronavirus continued to ravage communities and the federal government rolled out a new slate of stern guidelines intended to counter its rapid spread. Announcing the new measures, a subdued Trump lamented the “invisible enemy” facing Americans and acknowledged that “this is a very bad one.” The apparent shift in messaging coincided with the release of a report by British researchers estimating that as many as 2.2 million people in the U.S. could perish as a result of the coronavirus if drastic steps were not taken to fight its transmission.
By Daniel DaleWashington (CNN)President Donald Trump's Oval Office remarks on Thursday before a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar were so thoroughly inaccurate it was a challenge to figure out which to fact check first. We're still looking into some of Trump's claims. But here are the two we picked as most egregious:Trump falsely claimed anybody coming into the US from Europe is being tested for the coronavirusWhen a reporter noted that an American could bring back the coronavirus even with Trump's new travel restrictions on some European countries, Trump said, "Sure. But we have them very heavily tested. If an American is coming back or anybody is coming back, we're testing. We have a tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested."Facts First: It's not true that Americans or others returning from Europe "have to be" tested for the coronavirus -- and no system is being set up to actually test these returning travelers. Instead, they will be funneled to specific airports and put through an inspection known as "enhanced screening," which cannot prove whether someone has the virus. Previous US airport screening for the coronavirus has involved temperature checks, questions about travelers' health and travel history, and an inspection for symptoms like a cough or breathing trouble. The administration's statements about the enhanced screening for travelers from Europe made no mention of coronavirus tests being conducted.Trump falsely claimed testing has been "going very smooth"Trump was asked about a case in which a doctor in Houston reported being unable to obtain permission to get a patient tested despite the patient having "symptoms of something" and having tested negative for the flu. Trump responded that this was a mere "one case" and that "frankly, the testing has been going very smooth." He also claimed: "If you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area, you get the test."Facts First: It's simply not true that testing has been going smoothly or that, as Trump suggested, it's simple to get a test by contacting the proper authorities.
Fact check: from coronavirus to Kim Jong Un, Trump makes at least 14 false claims in Fox News town hallBy Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNNWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump made a rapid-fire series of false claims at a televised town hall event hosted by Fox News on Thursday in Scranton, Pennsylvania. We counted at least 14 false claims in our first dive into the transcript, plus four claims that were lacking some important context. The numbers might well rise as we delve deeper, but here's the preliminary list:Hunter Biden's careerTrump claimed that, before Democratic presidential candidate 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." Facts First: 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. Before Joe Biden became vice president in 2009, Hunter Biden, a lawyer who graduated from Yale Law School, worked as a lobbyist. He became a partner at a law and lobbying firm in 2001. (He stopped lobbying late in the 2008 election.) Before that, he had worked for financial services company MBNA, rising to senior vice president and worked for the US Commerce Department. None of this is to say that Hunter Biden's name was not a factor in the Burisma appointment; Hunter Biden has acknowledged that he would "probably not" have been asked to be on the board if he were not a Biden. But Trump's repeat portrayal of him as a pitiful unemployed man is inaccurate.
By Glenn Kessler“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing. And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion. That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason it was made. But we’ve undone that decision.” “This was a very big move. It was something that we had to do and we did it very quickly. And now we have tremendous flexibility. Many, many more sites. Many, many more people. And you couldn’t have had that under the Obama rule, and we ended that rule very quickly.” — Trump, additional remarks at the same meeting. When things get tough in the Trump administration, the president has a default position — blame Barack Obama. The administration has been under fire for its failure to quickly expand testing for coronavirus across the United States; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had distributed flawed tests to state and local health departments. The lack of tests, compared with countries like South Korea that have tested tens of thousands of people, has meant the possible spread of the virus in the United States may be hidden. Trump suggested the problem instead was an “Obama rule” on testing that his administration had recently overturned. But this turns out to be completely wrong. Let’s explore.The FactsThis is a fact check that turns out to be about a complex and technical issue that had attracted little attention outside trade press and a small community of experts. But the quick answer is there was no Obama rule, simply “guidance" that was never acted on because Congress stepped in and decided it would craft the necessary legislation, according to experts we consulted. The Trump administration, in fact, has been working with Congress on such legislation.
By Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield, CNN(CNN) President Donald Trump sought to lay blame on the Obama administration for slowing down new diagnostic testing, but a Republican senator's office and a lab association said this is not correct. "The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we're doing," Trump said Wednesday during on a meeting addressing the coronavirus outbreak. "And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more rapid and accurate fashion." An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the Obama administration made no such rule change. The aide, Taylor Haulsee, said the Obama administration did propose that the Food and Drug Administration have more oversight over approving diagnostic tests, but that did not go through. "There has not yet been significant regulatory reform of diagnostics passed by Congress," Haulsee said.
Trump is already calling coronavirus a Democratic "hoax" — and attacks on his opponents are just startingBy Lucian K. Truscott IVYou may be forgiven if you are under the impression that the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak is just one more example of his incompetence, aggressive ignorance, contempt for science and outright abuse of government. But it's worse than that. For the White House, and especially for Donald Trump's re-election campaign, it's an opportunity to put into play the massive disinformation apparatus they have built for the 2020 presidential race. Just look at what they've done so far. They unleashed their platoon of poodles in the right- wing media to pound the drum for the proposition that the Democrats have "weaponized" the coronavirus outbreak to "bring down Donald Trump," a line of outright horseshit pushed aggressively by Trumpazoid spokesbots Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity on their shows. Their "evidence"? Well, that terrible, nasty, mean Chuck Schumer has been critical of the Trump administration's initial request for only $2.5 billion to fight the virus, proposing instead that more than $8 billion will be needed. Trump himself doubled down against Democrats at his press conference on Thursday, unleashing a new attack on Nancy Pelosi. "I think Speaker Pelosi's incompetent. She's trying to create a panic. I think she's not thinking about the country," he added. "She should be saying we have to work together." As if that's not what Pelosi has been saying. But perhaps the most egregious thing they've done was to announce a rule that all statements coming from administration officials must be cleared through the office of Vice President Mike Pence. For the White House and the Trump campaign, saddled with an out-of-control narrative about a disaster they are singularly unequipped to handle, disinformation is no information at all. The Trump campaign's disinformation "Death Star," as one campaign operative described it to McKay Coppins of the Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-2020-disinformation-war/605530/ is located in an office building in Roslyn, Virginia, just across the Potomac from Washington. "Heavily funded, technologically sophisticated, and staffed with dozens of experienced operatives," the Trump campaign plans to spend more than $1 billion on "the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history," according to Coppins' article. The Trump disinformation juggernaut is overseen by campaign manager Brad Parscale, who was digital director of the Trump 2016 campaign. The Trump campaign ran 5.9 million ads on Facebook in that campaign, according to Bloomberg News, while the Democrats ran only 66,000 Facebook ads. This year's campaign will make even more sophisticated use of the kind of micro-targeting they used in 2016. A political analyst on MSNBC recently pointed out that micro-targeting has become so effective that as few as 800 women in a mid-size city in Wisconsin could be sent a single anti-abortion ad on Facebook, thus eliminating the cost of broadcasting political content more widely.
CNN's Gloria Borger digs into President Donald Trump's history with truth and lies.
CNN's Gloria Borger digs into President Donald Trump's history with truth and lies
By Daniel Dale, CNNWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump is dishonest about a whole lot of things. But he is rarely as comprehensively dishonest as he has been about his dealings with Ukraine and the impeachment process. From the eruption of the Ukraine controversy in September to the Senate trial that officially began on Thursday, relentless deceit has seemed to be Trump's primary defense strategy in the court of public opinion. He has made false claims about almost every separate component of the story, from his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to the whistleblower who complained about the call, to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's own relations with Ukraine.The President has been dissembling about so many different things at once that it can be difficult to keep track of what is true and what isn't. To help you fight Trump-induced dizziness as the trial gets underway, we've tallied his dishonesty on the subject of Ukraine and impeachment. Our original list from mid-November included 45 false claims he has made and a brief fact check of each one. We have since added 20 more for a total of 65.
By Philip Rucker, John Hudson, Shane Harris and Josh DawseyThe theory was born last Thursday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where President Trump stood before men in hard hats and orange construction vests for an environmental announcement and offered a fresh rationale for his controversial order to kill a top Iranian general. “They were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump said, referring to the heavily secured Baghdad facility that had become a magnet for protesters. Later that night, at a raucous campaign rally in Ohio, Trump added to his story. The Iranians, he claimed, were planning to attack not only the U.S. Embassy in Iraq but also an undisclosed number of embassies in other countries.And then Trump fleshed out his claim even further. “I can reveal I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies,” he said in an interview Friday with Fox News Channel. Based on what is known so far, Trump’s statement was at best an unfounded theory and at worst a falsehood. At each turn in the commander in chief’s rapidly evolving narrative of why he authorized the Jan. 3 drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the machinery of government scrambled to adapt and respond.The result is a credibility crisis for an administration that has long struggled to communicate factual information to the public. At a perilous moment for the nation’s security, with the United States at the brink of war with Iran, Trump is unable to rely on trustworthiness to justify his decision to take out Soleimani, both because of his lengthy record of exaggerations and lies and because of his ever-shifting rationales.
CNN's Victor Blackwell used jars of gumballs to represent President Donald Trump's 15,413 false or misleading claims since taking office, according to a count by the Washington Post
Trump asked if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will face a primary challenge, blasting her San Francisco district as "filthy dirty."By Allan SmithPresident Donald Trump fired off a stream of post-Christmas tweets Thursday blasting Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her San Francisco congressional district amid the impeachment impasse."The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats said they wanted to RUSH everything through to the Senate because 'President Trump is a threat to National Security' (they are vicious, will say anything!), but now they don’t want to go fast anymore, they want to go very slowly," Trump tweeted. "Liars!"The president attacked Pelosi's congressional district as "filthy dirty" and "one of the worst anywhere in the U.S." Calling Pelosi "crazy," Trump also suggested she should face a 2020 primary challenge. The president then lamented how "much more difficult" it is "to deal with foreign leaders (and others)" amid impeachment. - The world’s number one liar calling some else a liar is the pot calling the kettle black. A known liar calling you a liar does not make you a liar.
From an imaginary restraining order to a phantom drop in NATO spending: Trump makes 99 false claims in two weeksBy Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNNWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump made 99 false claims over the two weeks that ended last Sunday. Trump made 22 of the false claims at a campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He made 16 of them in a lengthy exchange with reporters during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.The economy was Trump's top subject of dishonesty, with 25 false claims. He made 22 false claims about military affairs, largely on account of his presence at a NATO summit. He made 15 false claims about NATO itself, 11 about impeachment.Trump is now averaging 63 false claims per week since we started counting at CNN on July 8, 2019. He made 38 false claims last week, 61 the week before. He is now up to 1,450 total false claims since July 8. A breakdown of the lowlights from the last two weeks:The most egregious false claim: An imaginary restraining orderTrump has no shortage of factual ammunition for bashing former FBI senior counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who exchanged anti-Trump texts while being involved in the investigation into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia (and while having an affair). But Trump is rarely satisfied with accurate attacks when he can do more damage to his foes' reputations with inaccurate ones. At his December 10 campaign rally in Pennsylvania, he alleged that one of either Strzok or Page had obtained a restraining order against the other.
By Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNNWashington (CNN) It was on White House letterhead. It read like a string of President Donald Trump's tweets. And it was just as dishonest. On Tuesday afternoon, Trump released a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which -- employing his distinctive vocabulary and punctuation -- he blasted Democrats' push to impeach him, defended his dealings with Ukraine and touted his accomplishments in office. Like much of his previous rhetoric about Ukraine and impeachment, much of the letter was false or misleading.Trump repeated multiple false claims that have been debunked on numerous occasions. He also delivered some new claims that were false, misleading or lacking in context. We're not finished going through all of Trump's claims in his letter, but here are some early fact checks.Dealings with UkraineTrump decried "the so-called whistleblower who started this entire hoax with a false report of the phone call that bears no relationship to the actual phone call that was made."Facts First: The whistleblower's account of Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been proven highly accurate. In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower's three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct. Trump claimed the whistleblower "disappeared" because "they got caught, their report was a fraud."Facts First: There is no evidence the whistleblower has disappeared, let alone that they have vanished because they were shown to be inaccurate. Whistleblowers do not have an obligation to speak publicly after filing their anonymous complaints.
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNNWashington (CNN)Donald Trump is looking to survive impeachment the same way he built his powerful presidency -- by assaulting facts and seeking to expand the limitations of the office he is accused of abusing. On the day that Democrats proposed two articles of impeachment against him, the President and his courtiers laid down a fresh fog to obscure the evidence that incriminates him. The President also issued a mocking defense of his conduct at a rally Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tuesday night -- arguing that the charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress are "not even a crime.""Everyone said this is impeachment-lite. This is the lightest impeachment in the history of our country, by far. It's not even like an impeachment," Trump said. Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, reprised his role spinning his boss out of trouble, dismissing his own department's watchdog report that debunked Trump's repeated claim that a "Deep State" coup tried to bring him down. Barr also breathed fresh life into another of Trump's conspiracy theories -- that the FBI's Russia investigation was unjustified and rooted in political bias by Obama administration officials."I think our nation was turned on its head for three years, I think, based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press," Barr said Tuesday in an interview with NBC News. The comments reflected the tendency of the Trump administration to deflect damning facts and to create new narratives that the President and his fans find more appealing. Trump's never-ending stream of misinformation, half-truths and conspiracy theories seems designed to confuse voters and to create ambiguity and uncertainty about the outcome of investigations in a way that leaves even the closest observer unsure about the facts.One expert in the work of such propagandists is former World Chess Champion and Russian political dissident Garry Kasparov. "They know that, you know, they can get people exhausted, they exhaust critical thinking," Kasparov told CNN's Anderson Cooper last week. "I always call Putin (a) merchant of doubt. But now seeing what's happening in America, it's when just Republicans managed to turn the whole political process in this alternative reality. It's like a post-truth world."
ABC News - The Democratic lawmaker responded to Rep. Mike Conway during the fourth day of the House impeachment hearings. Video
by Pilar MelendezPresident Donald Trump said Gordon Sondland “is not a man I know well,” as his ambassador to the European Union delivered bombshell testimony to the House impeachment panel Wednesday. “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well,” Trump told reporters in a short statement at the White House before boarding Marine One. “He seems like a nice guy though... He worked for other candidates, too.”The distancing came just moments after the president recounted Sondland’s impeachment hearing testimony and claimed it proves there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine for an investigation of the Biden family. Full Story - Another Donald J. Trump lie, time and time again Donald J. Trump knows someone until they get in trouble then he no longer know them.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) Over the weekend, President Donald Trump sent this tweet:"Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released statement from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don't know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!" Who is Jennifer Williams, you ask? She must be one of those Republicans who fought against Trump's election and has refused to acknowledge that he is even President, right? Uh, no.Williams is a State Department employee who is currently detailed to Vice President Mike Pence's staff as a a special adviser to the vice president for Europe and Russia. She was handpicked for her current role by Keith Kellogg, the vice president's national security adviser. (Her transgression? She testified behind closed doors that she found Trump's behavior on the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "unusual and inappropriate.") So if Williams is part of the "Never Trump" movement -- and, to be clear, there is ZERO evidence she is -- then she has a lot of people, including the vice president of the United States, fooled.But here's what is even more amazing: This is far from the first time Trump has referred to someone who simply says something he doesn't like as a "Never Trumper." Less than two hours before Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, and State Department employee George Kent publicly testified last week in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Trump tweeted: "NEVER TRUMPERS!" Full Story
The president suggested Adam Schiff “doctored” impeachment hearings transcripts. He did not.By Aaron RuparIt’s not exactly news these days when Donald Trump tells a lie. As of August, he had made more than 12,000 false or misleading claims over the course of his presidency. Even so, Trump began one of the most critical weeks of his presidency — the House will hold its first public impeachment hearings starting Wednesday — with a whopper that ranks among the most unpersuasive he’s ever pushed. On Twitter, Trump suggested that House Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) released doctored transcripts of impeachment depositions conducted behind closed doors — an explosive claim belied by the fact that not a single Republican or witness who has been in the room for them has said anything of the sort.Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer. Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019Schiff’s committee conducted the initial round of impeachment inquiry depositions behind closed doors in part to prevent witnesses from being able to sync up their stories. Despite Republican complaints that the process has been partisan, the 2,677 pages of transcripts that were released over the course of last week show that Republicans were very involved in the questioning. An almost exclusively party-line vote on October 31 set the stage for the public hearings that will begin this week. Ahead of the release of the transcripts, Trump preemptively complained on Twitter that Schiff “will change the words that were said to suit the Dems [sic] purpose.” But the transcripts were vetted by lawyers ahead of their release and nobody has complained about them. Nonetheless, Trump persists.Trump’s tweet on Monday represents a departure from what he told reporters last Friday, when he said he wasn’t concerned about any of the impeachment hearing transcripts because it “has all been fine.” In reality, officials who testified in closed-door hearings before impeachment investigators broadly corroborated a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump used military aid to Ukraine as leverage as part of an effort to get the Ukrainian government to do political favors for him. Perhaps most notably, the whistleblower’s account was corroborated in testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, who was on Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and reportedly said, “I did not think it was proper.” Full Story
By D'Angelo Gore - factcheck.orgPresident Donald Trump downplayed the findings in a case against his namesake charitable foundation, claiming the judge had found only “some small technical violations.” Actually, in a settlement announced this week, the judge ruled that Trump “breached his fiduciary duty” to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in service of his 2016 presidential campaign.The ruling was part of a settlement to a June 2018 case filed by the office of the New York state attorney general against Trump, his three eldest children and their charitable foundation. The lawsuit alleged that the Trump Foundation had long “operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing New York State charities” by, among other things, allowing Trump’s 2016 campaign committee to direct and coordinate the foundation’s televised fundraiser for veterans in Des Moines, Iowa, in January 2016.In a statement posted to Twitter on Nov. 7, Trump called the lawsuit a form of “politically motivated harassment,” and seemingly dismissed the judge’s ruling as insignificant. “All they found was incredibly effective philanthropy and some small technical violations, such as not keeping board minutes,” Trump’s statement read.There was more to it than that.In her ruling on Nov. 7, state Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla wrote that the parties resolved most of the attorney general’s claims on their own, but left it to her to determine what Trump would have to personally pay for his alleged misuse of his foundation.“A review of the record … establishes that Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation and that waste occurred to the Foundation,” she wrote. “Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign.” Full Story
By Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNNWashington (CNN) President Donald Trump keeps making a systematic effort to convince Americans to reject the actual facts of his dealings with Ukraine. Trump made 50 false claims last week. Thirteen were related to Democrats' Ukraine-centric impeachment inquiry. This was the fifth consecutive week that Trump made more false claims about the impeachment inquiry or Ukraine than about any other subject. Fifty false claims from the President in seven days is not good, per se, but it is an improvement from his recent barrage of dishonesty, which included an October week of 129 false claims. Fifty false claims is the fourth-lowest total for the 17 weeks we have fact checked at CNN since July 8 Trump made 16 of the 50 false claims at his campaign rally in Mississippi. He made 11 on Twitter.The most egregious false claims: On the whistleblowerThe whistleblower who complained about Trump's Ukraine-related behavior has been the primary target of his multi-front effort to rewrite the reality of the story. Just last week, Trump said on three more occasions that the whistleblower's account of his phone call with the president of Ukraine was "sooo wrong" and "very inaccurate" (in fact, the rough transcript Trump released proved the whistleblower's account was highly accurate); that the whistleblower "has disappeared" (no); and that Democrat Adam Schiff was, somehow, the one to "pick" the whistleblower (also no).The most revealing false claim: The Dunns' non-meetingTrump, a former reality television star who has demonstrated better instincts for drama than for empathy, apparently tried to stage a surprise encounter between Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, and the parents of Harry Dunn, the British 19-year-old who was killed in a car crash in which police believe Sacoolas was involved.The Dunns had accepted an invitation to the White House. They were aghast, though, when Trump unexpectedly told them Sacoolas was also in the building, and they declined Trump's offer to bring her into the room. Trump compounded the offense in an interview on British radio last week with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Trump said: "Well, I had a meeting set up but all of a sudden, I guess, lawyers got involved. But I had a meeting set up." There was never a meeting set up, said family spokesman Radd Seiger, who told CNN that Trump's claim was "a lie." Full Story
By HOPE YEN - The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) â€” President Donald Trump falsely asserted that he predicted Osama bin Laden's 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in a news conference Sunday aimed at showcasing his administration's accomplishments in stemming the terrorist threat abroad. A look at the president's claims at the briefing, where he announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group: TRUMP: "I'm writing a book ... About a year before the World Trade Center came down, the book came out. I was talking about Osama bin Laden. I said, 'You have to kill him. You have to take him out.' Nobody listened to me." Trump added that people said to him, "'You predicted that Osama Bin Laden had to be killed, before he knocked down the World Trade Center.' It's true." THE FACTS: It's not true. His 2000 book, "The America We Deserve," makes a passing mention of bin Laden but did no more than point to the al-Qaida leader as one of many threats to U.S. security. Nor does he say in the book that bin Laden should have be killed. As part of his criticism of what he considered Bill Clinton's haphazard approach to U.S. security as president, Trump wrote: "One day we're told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin Laden is public enemy Number One, and U.S. jetfighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it's on to a new enemy and new crisis." The book did not call for further U.S. action against bin Laden or al-Qaida to follow up on attacks Clinton ordered in 1998 in Afghanistan and Sudan after al-Qaida bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. attacks were meant to disrupt bin Laden's network and destroy some of al-Qaida's infrastructure, such as a factory in Sudan associated with the production of a nerve gas ingredient. They "missed" in the sense that bin Laden was not killed in them, and al-Qaida was able to pull off 9/11 three years later. In passages on terrorism, Trump's book does correctly predict that the U.S. was at risk of a terrorist attack that would make the 1993 World Trade Center bombing pale by comparison. That was a widespread concern at the time, as Trump suggested in stating "no sensible analyst rejects this possibility." Still, Trump did not explicitly tie that threat to al-Qaida and thought an attack might come through a miniaturized weapon of mass destruction, like a nuclear device in a suitcase or anthrax. more...
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