Ever since the creation of newspapers, there have been people screaming “Fake news!” about their contents. For the first time in history, though, the person screaming it the loudest is now the president of the United States.
Donald Trump has a pathological aversion to criticism. When it comes to news about himself, he dismisses out of hand everything that isn’t explicitly ass-kissy. “Any negative polls are fake news,” he tweeted last February, doing away with all doubt over which common quality comprises the fakeness in news about himself. The cumulative effect of this frequent designation is that 42% of Republicans reportedly now believe that accurate but negative stories about the president qualify as fake news.
Trump has been waging his war on the mainstream press in tweets, interviews, and speeches–blaming the constant chaos of his presidency on the people holding him accountable. “If you want to discover the source of our division in the country,” he said at a rally in Phoenix in August, “look no further than the fake news and the crooked media.” Never mind that he announced at this rally that he would be pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio–a criminal who likened his own fascist anti-immigration tactics to concentration camps–the problem is clearly with how the media portrays such moments. (With facts, rather than flattering fantasy.)
The war on the free press continued into 2018 when on January 2 Trump tweeted that he would be announcing the winners of The Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards the following Monday. (He eventually pushed the date back to Wednesday, January 17.) Late-night talk shows fell all over themselves campaigning to win the singularly unnecessary and tacky event, because nothing isn’t entertainment anymore. And when the big day came, Trump sure enough delivered on the promise in classic boorish fashion.
But as often as Trump continues to deride mainstream media coverage as fake news, he can’t seem to stop spreading misinformation and lies himself. It’s sort of his whole deal. There’s now a problem in America where people don’t believe the real news about fake news because the fake news told them the real news was fake–and instead of combatting this problem, the president is one of its most flagrant offenders. In honor of Trump’s depressingly dumb and self-serving award show spoof, here are 10 of Trump’s Most Dishonest Moments Since He Took Office.
Election Fraud Claims
“Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” –January 23, 2017, in remarks to congressional leaders.
“Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong–in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.”–March 22, 2017, in an interview with Time.
There’s been no evidence of widespread voter fraud so far, and Trump quietly disbanded his commission looking into it on January 3.
“Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”–February 3, 2017, in a tweet.
“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”–April 16, 2017, in a tweet.
Despite much speculation regarding George Soros, there has been no evidence of any paid anti-Trump protesters.
“So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.”–January 25, 2017, in an interview with ABC News, despite the fact that there were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.
“When you look at the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation, it’s Chicago.”–November 7, in a news conference with the president of South Korea, despite the fact that several other cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have stronger gun laws, and ignoring the well-documented fact of how readily available guns are in nearby Indiana.
Obama Tapped My Wires
“Obama tapp[ed] my phones during the very sacred election process”–March 4, 2017, in a tweet.
As far as we know, President Obama did not tap Trump’s phone during the election; the FBI independently may have done so while investigating candidate Trump.
“You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”–February 18, in a Florida rally, despite the fact that there was no such attack. Perhaps he was trying to one-up advisor Kellyanne Conway, who two weeks before had referenced the Bowling Green Massacre, a nonexistent terrorist attack.
“I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.”–March 22, in a Time interview, despite the fact that riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.
Trump retweeted a flurry of unverified videos from British far-right extremist groups, purporting to show Muslims committing unprovoked violence, on November 29. “Whether the video is real, the threat is real,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of the controversial, Islamaphobic retweets.
Lying to Sell His Tax Plan
“Our tax plan is focused on the middle class, including a near doubling of the standard deduction.”–December 27, during a weekly address, despite the fact that most of the benefits in the tax bill flow to corporations and the wealthiest 1%.
“No, I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit. In fact, very very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”–September 28, in a speech, despite the fact that as soon as the tax bill passed, Trump bragged to the wealthy Mar-a-Lago visitors, “You all just got a lot richer.”
“Stock Market is at an all-time high,” Trump tweeted many times, despite the rise being a continuation of a bull market that started under President Obama, and with stocks lagging slightly behind their foreign equivalents.
“So many things accomplished by the Trump Administration, perhaps more than any other President in first year. Sadly, will never be reported correctly by the Fake News Media!”–December 23, in a tweet, despite the fact that Trump signed fewer bills in his first year than the last 10 presidents.
“. . . and we have companies pouring back into our country.”–December 21, in a speech, the latest instance of Trump taking credit for projects that were in the works way before he became president, and despite the fact that Carrier, the plant he “saved” just laid off 215 workers.
Kneeling at NFL games
“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”–September 25, in a tweet, willfully distorting the NFL players’ statements on kneeling to protest police brutality.
The La David Johnson Incident
“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls.”–October 16, in a speech, despite the fact that other presidents did call families of soldiers killed in action.
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof).”–October 18, in a tweet, after Trump allegedly told Myeshia Johnson, widow of sergeant La David Johnson, that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” Congresswoman Fredererica Wilson, a family friend, was in the car with Johnson when the call came in and was listening to it with her.
“The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!”–October 21, in a tweet, despite the fact that Wilson was an invited guest on the condolence call. Later the description of Trump’s awkward phrasing was confirmed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
“We’re saying Merry Christmas again” is something Trump boasted a number of times, implying that President Obama did not say it. If only there were so many examples of President Obama saying and tweeting Merry Christmas over and over again.