Final tally of lies: Analysts say Trump told 30,000 mistruths – that’s 21 a day – during presidency

Gino Spocchia
·3 min read
<p>Former US president Donald Trump</p> (AP)

Former US president Donald Trump

(AP)

Donald Trump made more than 30,000 false or misleading statements during his four years as president of the United States, analysis suggests.

The astounding figure, which roughly equates to 21 false statements per day (or 20.94 to be precise) of his tenure at the White House, comes after a tumultuous post election period in which he spent weeks falsely alleging that the 2020 election was “stolen”, in remarks that spurred on his supporters to storm the US Capitol on 6 January.

According to analysis by the Washington Post, Mr Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims between his first day in office, on 20 January 2017, and his final day on Wednesday, when Joe Biden was sworn in as the country’s next president.

Among the Republican’s most repeated untruths was that his administration “built the greatest economy in the history of the world”. That phrase, according to the Posts’s analysis, was used at least 493 times.

Another favourite – and his second most repeated falsehood – was the former president’s claim that tax cuts introduced by his administration were the biggest on record.

That phrase, the analysis showed, was repeated 296 times, and as recently as his final day in office, when he made a farewell speech from Joint Base Andrews hours before Mr Biden was sworn in.

“We also got tax cuts, the largest tax cut and reform in the history of our country, by far,” Mr Trump told those who had turned up to see him off for the last time.

Mr Trump’s tax cut, which came in at the equivalent of 0.9 per cent, was 2 per cent lower than the tax cut introduced by the Reagan administration in the 1980s, according to the Post.

Mr Trump went on to make a number of other falsehoods in his farewell speech on the tarmac outside Washington DC, which included claims wife Melania Trump – who CNN said was the most unpopular outgoing first lady in American history – was “so so popular with the people, so popular”.

He also claimed that his administration had overseen “such good job numbers” that were “absolutely incredible”.

However, unemployment has almost doubled while he has been president, with 6.7 per cent of Americans currently without work. That number reached 14 per cent in April last year – the highest since the Great Depression.

And in December, the American economy lost more jobs than at any point since April – at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic last Spring.

Unemployment, in fact, has been featured at least 644 times in Mr Trump’s mistruths, with the former president in December having tried to suggest that "We have slashed the unemployment rate from 14.7 per cent all the way down to 6.7 per cent. And a lot of people thought that the 14.7 per cent could be 32 per cent, or 40 per cent, or 45 per cent.”

According to the Post’s fact-checkers, however, economic forecasts predicted highs of 20 per cent unemployment – nowhere near the 45 per cent suggested by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump also claimed for one last time on Wednesday that he “rebuilt the United States military,” although recent military spending budgets – when adjusted for inflation – are lower than the biggest annual budget ever seen, which under former president Barack Obama in 2010.

October 2020 was the worst month for Mr Trump’s misleading claims, according to the Post’s fact-checkers, who counted 3,917 untruths in the month before the presidential election. The second worst month was September 2020, also shortly before the election, when 2,239 false statements were counted.

His worst day in office for saying things that weren’t true, however, came on 2 November, just one day before Americans voted him out of office, when he was said to have uttered 503 false or misleading remarks.

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