During the presidential campaign between Clinton and Trump, PolitiFact checked the statements of both candidates. 26% of Clinton’s statements were deemed to be false, while 70% of Trump’s were deemed to be false, and on average, he lied every 5 minutes. Here are some of Trump’s lies.
- Built the Vietnam Memorial. Trump claimed that he helped build the Vietnam War Memorial and said “I was very responsible along with a group of people for getting the Vietnam Memorial built”. The fact is that, although he was on the memorial board, Trump only attended two or three meetings out of about 20. The first time he attended was at its launch, and the second was when he arrived with a reporter who was doing a profile on him.
- Raised and donated money to veterans. Trump boycotted a candidates’ debate and instead held a fundraiser in Iowa. At that fundraiser, he stated that he had raised $6 million for veterans, and that he had contributed $1 million out of his own pocket. The Washington Post found that Trump did not raise $6 million as he claimed, nor did he make a $1 million contribution himself. When quizzed about this at a press conference, he maintained that the press should thank him for doing such a good job. It turned out that half of the reported cheques from Trump to veteran’s organisations were dated the day the Washington Post published the story questioning whether he had distributed all of the money. One of the ironies here is that Trump demanded to see tax documentation from some of the organisations before he would donate the money. Not only this, but at a later time, he claimed he didn’t use the $6 million figure, which was also not true.
- Clinton started birther caper. On 16th of September, 2016, Trump stated “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States – period.” That Clinton started the demands for Obama to show his birth certificate is a lie. In addition, Trump didn’t finish anything. Obama had already produced a birth certificate before the racist questions about his birthplace started, fomented partly by Trump. When Obama produced his long form birth certificate, Trump still wouldn’t shut up about it until September 2016.
- Barack Obama founded ISIS. On 11th of August, 2016, Trump claimed that Barack Obama founded ISIS, with help from Hillary Clinton. The conservative radio host interviewing him, presumably being more sensible, asked “ You mean that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS”. Trump responded with “Well, I disagree. I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about. If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS. Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.” This is ridiculous of course. Obama followed the timeline set by George W. Bush to withdraw all troops from Iraq no later than the end of 2011. You could argue that withdrawing these troops created a power vacuum, but this ignores the fact that the Iraqi government would not agree to troops staying beyond that deadline. In fact you could argue that it was decisions taken by Bush which led to the formation of ISIS. Bush purged the Baathist officials from government and the military, and some of these became ISIS leaders, while the civil war fought while Bush was in office led to the rise of al Qaida in Iraq, parts of which grew into ISIS.
- Trump didn’t support Iraq invasion. Trump supported the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and supported the intervention in Libya to remove Ghaddafi in 2011, but he now claims otherwise. He also supported the withdrawal of troops by Bush from Iraq in 2007 and 2008.
- Global warming is a Chinese hoax. Trump tweeted on November 6, 2012 that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese inn order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”, but when Clinton, in the candidates’ debate stated that was what he said, Trump immediately denied it. Over a year later Trump tweeted “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!” In September, 2015, he stated, “I am not a believer in climate change”. He has backed away from his assertion that it was a hoax begun by China, and has tried to pass off the original tweet as a joke. Despite this, Trump International Golf Links applied for a permit to build a sea wall at his golf course in Ireland to protect it from “global warming and its effects.”
- Only a $1 million loan. Trump has stated on several occasions that he built his businesses from a $1 million loan he received from his father. But he does not mention that some time later he obtained another $14 million in loans from his father. The elder Trump also acted as guarantor on loans his son applied for elsewhere. Yet, despite this, Trump has gone bankrupt several times
- Did not want to renegotiate debt. Clinton stated that Trump said he would renegotiate down the national debt if elected, but Trump denied this was true. However, in a debate in May 2016, Trump in fact stated that he would try reducing the national debt by attempting to get creditors to settle for less than the total owed. Clinton made the initial statement in their debate, and Trump simply said “Wrong.” A few weeks later Trump stated that he had been misquoted about renegotiating the debt.
- Stop-and-frisk laws constitutional. Trump claimed the New York City stop-and-frisk policy was not ruled unconstitutional, but it was. A federal judge deemed the policy carried out under Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor, violated the constitution.
- Crime rate increasing in New York City. Clinton stated that the crime rate in New York, including murders was decreasing. Trump interjected and said “You’re wrong”. The NYC Police department data showed that the murder rate had declined 4.3% from 2015 to 2016. However, in the US overall, FBI figures show an increase in murders for 2015. Since 1990, the murder rate in New York City, has declined 80% from 1990 to 2016.
- Saving thousands of jobs at Sprint. Trump took credit for saving several thousand jobs at Sprint, an Internet Service Provider. To quote him: “Because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hop, I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they’re going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States…I just spoke with the head person. He said because of me they’re doing 5,000 jobs in this country.” In fact Sprint’s parent company SoftBank announced that the company was sinking $100 billion into a tech-investment fund, and reports of the jobs to be created come from as far back as April 2015. Trump therefore had no hand in generating these jobs.
- Dossier is false. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence tried to reassure Trump that the intelligence community had “not made any judgement” about the reliability of the dossier, Trump then tweeted that he had been told by Clapper that the dossier was “false and fictitious”
- Millions voted illegally. Trump insists he won the popular vote because 3 million people voted illegally. That is an out-and-out lie.
- A million and a half crowd at inauguration. In a speech to about 400 CIA staff, Trump stated that the crowd at his inauguration “looked honestly like a million-and-a half people” and said “it went all the way back to the Washington Monument”. The media estimated that the crowd was about 250,000. Trump stated “now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie. Late Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer maintained that Trump had the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period. The photographs are available on the web and clearly show a crowd vastly smaller than that for Obama’s in early 2009. Given that Obama’s crowd at his first inauguration was estimated to be over 1.5 million, 250,00 looks about right for Trump’s inauguration
People who have followed Trump’s career, states Maria Konnikova (in Politico.com), have found that “his lying isn’t just a tactic, but an ingrained habit”. She continues, that “New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and ‘90s found him categorically different from other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them.” This is one of the traits of a pathological liar, lying about things that to most people are inconsequential, and at times when it is completely unnecessary. These liars are often psychopaths or sociopaths, but it can also occur in people with a lesser character impairment. Although this type of lying may seem pointless to others, to the liar it is used to manipulate and manage the impressions of others, thereby maintaining a position of advantage. Disturbed characters such as these do not like a level playing field when they engage with others.
I knew a couple of people like this. One was a friend of the family and was a kind and amiable person. However, he could not help himself when it came to telling me about his experiences during the Second World War. As a person who had an interest in military history, I knew that most of what he told me were lies, but as a teenager, I didn’t say anything. To hear him talk, the repair and readiness of the US Pacific Fleet after the Pearl Harbour attack was largely down to him. The family knew about it, but just rolled their eyes and said: ‘that’s just the way he is’. It didn’t seem to matter to him that everybody knew he was lying.
Pathological lying is a controversial topic among psychiatrists, and there is no consensus on its definition, but there is general agreement on its core elements. It is characterised by a long history (sometimes almost lifelong) of frequent and repeated lying for which to the outsider, no apparent motive or benefit can be discerned. Ordinary lies are directed towards achieving some benefit, but pathological lying often appears purposeless, and in many cases easily proven to be lies. Some researchers have concluded that the lying behaviour appears to be a gratification in itself; an internal reward, with no external benefit. A study of pathological liars, has shown them to be of average or below average intelligence. Trump has been shown to lie to the extent that his lies are easily shown to be false, and achieve no external purpose other than some internal need of his, perhaps to feel good about himself. It doesn’t seem to matter to Trump that he has been caught lying. All he does is state that the media are lying, and the gullible buffoons who voted for him do not have the capacity to detect lies, or do not want to know, in case they have to admit their gullibility. So, while all politicians lie, now the USA has a pathological liar for a president.