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Washington Post’s List of Lies Has its Own Truth Issues

The Washington Post claimed Wednesday [1] that President Trump has surpassed 3,000 documented lies since he took office.

The Post began keeping the list shortly after Trump was sworn in, and reports that his average number of lies per day has increased as time has passed.

Trump was averaging 4.9 false claims per day; now he is up to 6.5 claims per day overall and nine per day in the last two months.

A graphic on the Post website shows “every false or misleading statement made by Trump” and catalogs “the president’s many flip-flops, since those earn Upside-Down Pinocchios if a politician shifts position on an issue without acknowledging that he or she did so.”

The Post reports [1] 113 of the 3,000 lies have been repeated at least three times. The most common – told 72 times – is the president’s claim that the tax cut package he signed earlier this year is the largest in history, when, according to the Post, it ranks eighth.  

It bases that claim on a story written before the tax cuts were passed [2].

That story reported that the tax cuts should be measured as a percentage of the economy, rather than in dollars saved. Measured in that way, Trump is correct; this is the largest tax cut in history.

In second place, at 53 retellings, is Trump’s assertion “the Russia probe is a made-up controversy.”

This is a political opinion – one bolstered Tuesday when MSNBC’s Katy Tur of MSNBC said it was unlikely anything would come of the Russia collusion [3] allegation.

In third place are the 41 variations of the “false claim that Democrats do not really care about the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump terminated.”

In January, Trump offered the Democrats a deal [4] – an end to the DACA program in exchange for offering a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants. The Democrats refused the deal [4] and have not bargained over the issue since.

In fourth is Trump’s assertion – made 34 times — “that a border wall was needed to stop the flow of drugs across the southern border, even though the Drug Enforcement Administration says a wall would not limit this illegal trade, as much of it travels through legal borders or under tunnels unaffected by any possible physical barrier.”

Again, that appears to be a political opinion. The companies vying to construct the wall say their walls would keep out 99 percent [5] of those attempting to enter the country illegally.

The Post also reported that Trump has lied 13 times in recent weeks in saying the wall is already being built, but even Vox admits the wall is under construction [6].

The president told 44 lies in his speech Saturday in Michigan [1], according to the Post. Among them were that 3 million jobs have been created “since the election,” which the Post considers untrue because Trump was not sworn in until two months later.

But business and the stock market responded immediately to Trump’s election [7]. And even the Post admits 2.5 million of those jobs have been created since Trump took office.

The Post also called it a lie for Trump to cite falling unemployment rates – he reminds us periodically that they are the lowest for black and Hispanic citizens since such figures have been gathered – because “he repeatedly said during his campaign that the unemployment rate was phony and could not be trusted.”

Trump has previously said that so many people had been out of the workforce for so long they no longer were counted in unemployment statistics. This is true – workforce participation at the end of the Obama administration sank to rates not seen since the Great Depression. [8]