The majority of statements made by US President Donald Trump have been false and misleading and he has taken the “art of political fabrication” to a whole new level, according to scholars and a fact-checking website.
Fabrications have long been a part of American politics, but Trump’s sheer magnitude of falsehoods and exaggerations has set him apart from his predecessors, historians and political analysts say.
“Trump is trafficking in hyperbole, distortion and fabrication on practically a daily basis,” said Sheryl Stolberg, a domestic affairs correspondent for The New York Times.
Just 5 percent of Trump’s statements have been completely true, according to PolitiFact, a website that fact checks statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists, and interest groups.
Another 26 percent of his statements reviewed by PolitiFact were mostly or partly true, while a total 69 percent were mostly false, false or a lie.
Experts say institutional changes in American politics over the past two decades have made it easier for politicians to lie. And in an era of hyper-partisanship, politicians often lie with impunity.
Many of Trump’s lies, like the time he claimed that he had made the “all-time record in the history of Time Magazine” for being on its cover so often, are somewhat trivial, said John Weaver, a prominent Republican consultant.
But scholars say that other presidential lies, like Trump’s false claim that millions of undocumented immigrants had voted for his opponent Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, are far more substantive and pose a threat because Washington will build policies around them.
“What’s different today and what’s scarier today is these lies are pointed out, and there’s evidence that they’re wrong,” said Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian and political commentator. “And yet because of the attacks on the media, there are a percentage of people in the country who are willing to say, ‘Maybe he is telling the truth.’”
Trump has reached a new low point in his approval numbers, with 61 percent of Americans disapproving of the job he is doing as opposed to 33 percent approving, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
The president is dealing with multiple investigations into possible collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia— including one by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that threatens to look into the Trump’s business transactions.