Accuracy in Media

President Trump has told 7,546 through the first 700 days of his presidency, the Washington Post reported Friday.

“The numbers are astonishing,” wrote Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly of the Post staff.

Trump told 1,137 lies – “false or misleading claims” it actually calls them – in the first eight months of his presidency. But last October, “the flood of presidential misinformation picked up dramatically as the president campaigned across the country,” the trio wrote, as Trump reportedly told 1,205 lies – or about 39 per day, they wrote.

Each of the October rallies yielded 35 to 45 suspect claims, and many of those claims were repeated in interviews with local media, gaggles with the White House press corps and statements before and after trips.

There were 866 more lies in November – just short of 29 per day – including 139 at rallies in Fort Wayne, Ind., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cleveland, 130 on Nov. 3 at rallies in Pensacola, Fla., and Belgrade, Mont., and 97 on Nov. 2 at rallies in Indianapolis and Huntington, W.Va.

The most frequent lies, according to the Post, are Trump’s claims to have passed the largest tax cut in history (it is the largest), repeated 124 times; the U.S. economy now is the best in history (it arguably is), repeated 110 times, and the 92 times he claimed the border wall already is being built (it is).

These three “lies” became original members of a new hall of fame – the Post’s “Bottomless Pinocchios” list, reserved for claims the president has made continually that the Post finds false.

Among the claims that made the list, is his “repeated use of the word ‘lost’ to describe a trade deficit,” Kessler and John Fox reported in “The false claims that Trump keeps repeating.”

“Countries do not “lose” money on trade deficits,” the Post reported. “A trade deficit simply means that people in one country are buying more goods from another country than people in the second country are buying from the first country.” In short, the people “winning” the trade deficit end up with more of the money of the people “losing” it than otherwise … as Trump said.

It cites him for 110 lies around the claim that the U.S. economy has never been stronger. It says the economy was stronger under Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, Clinton and even Grant, even though black, Hispanic and women’s unemployment is the lowest ever, growth topped 4 percent at times this year after his predecessor said 3 percent was impossible and there are now more jobs than job seekers for the first time in history.

The Post also considers it a lie by Trump – one repeated 92 times – that “’billions and billions’ of dollars have come into NATO because of his complaints. All that is happening is that members have increased defense spending as a share of their economies – a process that was started before Trump even announced his candidacy.”

Yes, in 2014, NATO members did renew their promises to meet their spending obligations, as a percent of GDP, for defense. But only five complied before Trump began to insist on fairness, and eight more are expected to reach their spending goals this year.

“Throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump has relentlessly pressed NATO members to meet the goal, and he certainly deserves some credit for increased spending,” the New York Times wrote in its assessment of Trump’s claim.

Kessler says Trump presents a unique challenge to fact-checkers because he does not relent when they insist he has made a Four-Pinocchio claim.

“The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it,” Kessler and Fox wrote. “He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.”

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