President Donald Trump spent his first days in workplace pushing false claims in regards to the dimension of his inauguration crowd.
He has spent the ultimate weeks of his time period blitzing the American individuals with falsehoods and far-fetched conspiracies as half of a failed attempt to overturn the election he lost — cementing his legacy as what reality checkers and presidential historians say is the most mendacious White House occupant ever.
“I have never seen a president in American history who has lied so continuously and so outrageously as Donald Trump, period,” presidential historian Michael Beschloss stated in an interview. “Dwight Eisenhower used to say one of the most important tools a president of the United States has is that people believe what he says.”
But that belief in the president’s words has become increasingly dependent on the political party to which a person belongs. Trump decries reports that are unflattering and facts that don’t fit with his world view as “fake news,” fueling a rising partisan info divide on every little thing from the contagiousness of the coronavirus to the reliability of the media.
Trump’s run for the presidency was fueled by political prominence gained by selling the racist “birther” lie about President Barack Obama, and his 2016 victory was secured by a marketing campaign rooted in false claims about immigrants and inner-city crime.
Once within the White House, the president routinely made false claims about every little thing from toilet flushes to tax reform. Some of Trump’s false claims drove policy, whereas conspiracy theories have been elevated in tweets and in public and personal conversations with foreign leaders.
In the final yr of his time period, Trump’s numerous false claims in regards to the coronavirus muddied the U.S. response to the pandemic, which has killed 339,062 individuals as of Dec. 29, in line with an NBC News rely. The president’s totally baseless declare that the election was stolen from him delayed President-elect Joe Biden’s transition for weeks — hampering the incoming administration’s efforts to arrange for wide-scale vaccine distribution and endangering national security, according to experts.
“After two centuries, it is impressive that Americans still are inclined to believe what a president tells them, especially at a moment of crisis,” Beschloss stated. “When a president breaks that bond of trust with the American people, it makes it harder for future presidents to have the kind of moral authority that enables them to protect us.”
NBC News has fact-checked Trump for greater than 4 years. Based on 1000’s of hours of reporting and lots of of reported reality checks, 4 points stand above the remainder because the falsehoods that outline the Trump presidency.
“Just stay calm. It will go away.” – President Donald Trump, March 10, 2020
Dozens of occasions because the begin of the outbreak that has killed 1.7 million individuals world wide, Trump publicly downplayed the severity of the novel coronavirus, suggesting it might go away by itself, whereas evaluating Covid-19, the illness it triggered, to the seasonal flu.
“It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear. And from our shores, we — you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows,” Trump stated Feb. 28, with dozens of instances however no recognized fatalities within the U.S.
“We’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away,” Trump stated March 10, when there have been simply over a thousand recognized infections and 30 deaths.
His view was disputed by public well being consultants, together with the federal government’s personal high scientists, who predicted that even with a powerful, coordinated response, the virus wasn’t simply going to “go away.” Later, the journalist Bob Woodward revealed that Trump had told him at the same time the president was publicly downplaying the virus’s severity, he knew it was extra harmful than the flu and “deadly.”
After states enforced robust lockdown measures to gradual the unfold of the virus — wreaking havoc on the economic system and placing tens of millions out of work to attempt to save lives with hospitals and emergency providers overwhelmed — Trump pressured governors to reopen rapidly, whereas experts cautioned against it. To assist his push, he falsely claimed cases were going down all through the spring at the same time as consultants warned the virus was uncontrolled; in a information convention April 22, he lambasted coverage of experts who warned of a dangerous potential second wave within the fall and the winter as “fake news.”
A month later, Trump once more stated issues have been enhancing: “At some point, it’ll go away. It may flare up, and it may not flare up. We’ll have to see what happens,” he said May 15. By that time, at the least 1.5 million Americans had been contaminated; 88,101 had died. The numbers decreased barely in the summertime as cities that have been dwelling to early surges drove down their caseloads, however by the autumn, the virus had taken root in nearly every U.S. community; regional surges have led to at least one regular nationwide enhance.
Trump continued to match the virus to the flu even after he recovered from Covid-19 himself in early October.
In mid-October, because the nation readied for an anticipated winter surge, he tweeted: “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
His tweet inaccurately inflated flu deaths while downplaying the coronavirus’s danger. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said Covid-19 is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.
Trump also routinely spread misinformation about testing, the efficacy of masks, and potential and unproven treatments for the virus, once claiming that injections of antibacterial cleaning agents like bleach might clean the lungs of the virus.
Ten months in, more than 19.4 million people in the U.S. have been infected, but public polls show a partisan divide on the understanding of the basic facts about the virus, which a large number of Republicans still believe is no worse than the flu. Numerous cases have been tied to large White House events.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, who appeared maskless at the White House before contracting Covid-19, has said multiple times since his recovery that he was wrong — and lamented the politics driving anti-mask sentiment in a public service ad.
“VOTER FRAUD IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY, IT IS A FACT!!!” — President Donald Trump, Dec. 24, 2020.
When Trump received the Electoral College — and thus the presidency — in 2016, he informed lawmakers he only lost the popular vote as a result of of tens of millions of unlawful votes. There was no proof of that, something his own lawyers noted in an election courtroom submitting opposing the Green Party’s recount efforts after the election, however the brand new president was undeterred.
At the beginning of his administration in January 2017, Trump urged states to undertake extra voter roll upkeep within the title of rooting out fraud, stirring alarm over aggressive purges that voting rights advocates feared would disenfranchise eligible individuals. He then launched a fee to hunt definitive proof of his claims of widespread fraud; the group disbanded without finding any proof of it.
Numerous academic studies and criminal investigations, too, have looked for widespread voter fraud over time and are available up empty-handed. But there’s ample proof that restrictive voting legal guidelines aimed toward stopping this alleged fraud disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.
Just over three years later, as Biden was closing in on the Democratic nomination and the fast unfold of Covid-19 was making clear the general public well being dangers of individuals congregating on the polls, Trump started pushing a quantity of falsehoods particularly about voting by mail.
Throughout 2020, Trump baselessly claimed that adjustments introduced on by the pandemic — specifically the large-scale enlargement of mail-in voting in most states, led by governors of each events — have been fraudulent, or that they created alternatives for fraud or foreign meddling. There are quite a few safeguards that keep U.S. elections secure.
When Trump misplaced the final election, he blamed voter fraud and despatched his attorneys to court to try and reverse the results. In a free-wheeling information convention that lacked even a shred of evidence, his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, alleged every little thing from a “centralized” fraud scheme to election interference by international communists. Just a handful of fraud instances have been uncovered in key states: in Pennsylvania, three Republicans have been charged with illegally voting.
The president’s false claims of a rigged or stolen election haven’t achieved the quick aim of overturning the outcomes. But many worry that Trump’s refusal to simply accept his loss isdamaging to the general well being of America’s democracy —some 68 p.c of Republicans imagine the election was “rigged,” in line with a Reuters/Ipsos poll from mid-November.
Voting rights consultants are sounding the alarm over one other consequence: a new flood of restrictive voting laws put forth by Republicans invoking widespread fraud nobody can discover. This situation is already taking part in out in Texas, in line with a report by the Texas Tribune. In Georgia, the GOP has promised a quantity of restrictions, together with rolling again the absentee voting system Republicans there applied a decade in the past. These legal guidelines have the potential to considerably suppress respectable votes, a number of consultants have warned, and can notably hurt Black individuals and voters of colour extra typically.
Trump “amplified the public conversation around voter fraud, he made that more of a household conversation, and he has increased the salience of voting restrictions for his supporters,” Wendy Weiser, a nationwide voting rights professional who directs the Democracy Program on the Brennan Center for Justice on the NYU School of Law, said in an interview this month. “In that way, he made it a lot worse.”
Russia’s interference within the 2016 election
“This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” Trump stated May 11, 2018.
From Day One, Trump has disputed what the U.S. intelligence group has concluded as a reality: Russia interfered within the 2016 U.S. election with the aim of boosting his bid whereas working to tear down his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
He repeatedly known as the then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year probe into the matter a “witch hunt” towards him and the inference itself a “hoax,” regardless of clear and sizable proof that the Russian authorities labored to affect the end result of the election “in sweeping and systematic fashion,” as Mueller’s report concluded. Multiple individuals have been indicted consequently of the investigation, together with a former Trump campaign aide, whereas different shut Trump associates have been charged with unrelated crimes uncovered within the course of Mueller’s probe.
The report gathered proof that the president labored to stymie the investigation, however decided that the Department of Justice couldn’t cost a sitting president and subsequently wouldn’t decide whether or not he had damaged the regulation. Trump, in the meantime, falsely claimed that Mueller’s report “totally exonerated” him from any wrongdoing, together with allegations of his marketing campaign’s “collusion” with Russia.
When requested instantly if the particular counsel did “actually totally exonerate the president,” Mueller said “no.”
In the second half of his presidential time period, Trump started to boost a conspiracy theory that Ukraine and the Democrats framed Russia for election interference in an try and discredit his win. At the identical time, Trump additionally started to advance a concept that Biden, then a possible 2020 front-runner, had acted corruptly whereas serving as vp to learn his son Hunter’s international enterprise pursuits. There is not any proof of wrongdoing by both Biden.
Comments about these conspiracy theories — made in public, in addition to in an notorious non-public telephone name with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July 2019, when Trump requested for an investigation into the Bidens — would finally set off Trump’s impeachment, after Democrats within the House concluded that he had abused the ability of the presidency by searching for international help with his upcoming election.
The conspiracy concept that Russia was being framed for election interference, a model of which was first publicly posted on a far-right message board, 4chan, in March 2017, match into Trump’s yearslong effort to discredit Mueller’s investigation and undercut the concept a international authorities helped get him elected. But in line with the Trump administration’s personal consultants, he performed right into a narrative superior by Russia.
Trump’s former Russia professional, Fiona Hill, known as the concept Ukraine meddled in 2016 a “fictional narrative” promoted by Russian intelligence and rebuked House Republicans for utilizing it to defend the president towards impeachment. Trump, and members of the GOP, have contended that the actions his administration took towards Ukraine have been motivated not by political or private curiosity, however by respectable concern about corruption in that nation, together with alleged Ukrainian election interference.
“In the course of this investigation, I might ask that you simply please not promote politically pushed falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian pursuits,” Hill stated in her opening assertion to Congress. “I refuse to be half of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian authorities is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia — attacked us in 2016.”
The Trump agenda
“Republicans will always protect people with pre-existing conditions,” Trump stated Oct. 20, 2018.
Throughout his time period, Trump made sweeping and false claims to bolster his personal coverage agenda and exaggerate the extent of his accomplishment. He overstated his achievements on every little thing from tax reform to manufacturing investments.
After instituting tariffs on Chinese items, Trump boasted of raking in tens of millions from China; in actual fact, Americans pay the bulk of tariffs on foreign goods. He argued that Obama’s insurance policies had enormously harm Maine’s lobster commerce and declared he’d saved the business with a trade deal. In reality, it’s Trump’s commerce conflict that pinched the business.
Trump usually took credit score for the nation’s financial restoration and inaccurately claimed the economic system was struggling when he took workplace. In reality, the recovery began during Obama’s administration and continued underneath Trump. After the economic system took an unlimited hit when the pandemic hit and prompted mass layoffs, Trump boasted of summertime returns as new growth.
As a candidate, Trump vowed to construct a southern border wall and make Mexico pay for it. As president, he’s constructed 423 miles of border wall, a lot of it in place of older present border buildings. Mexico has not paid a cent, regardless of the president’s false claims on the contrary.
And in what is probably one of his most bold-faced falsehoods, Trump argued for years Republicans have been defenders of people with pre-existing conditions, all of the whereas his administration and several other pink states sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era well being care regulation that assured these protections, with out proposing a plan with comparable protections.
Repeatedly, Trump has inaccurately summed up the successes of his administration. During a significant speech on the United Nations, he said his administration had accomplished more than any other. The assembled world leaders laughed.
“Didn’t expect that reaction,” Trump stated on the time. “But that’s OK.”