Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Trump Tells 131 Whoppers in Janesville

In 90 minute speech, President Trump made 131 false or inaccurate statements.

By - Oct 27th, 2020 11:21 am
Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

On Saturday night President Donald Trump spoke at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville before several thousand people packed together in a setting where social distancing was not possible and only about one-third of his supporters wore a mask. And just two minutes and 28 seconds into his speech, according to an analysis of his speech by New York Times reporters,  Trump delivered his first lie.

“When you look at our numbers compared to what’s going on in Europe and other places,” Trump said about the global coronavirus pandemic, “we’re doing well.”

“The truth? America has more cases and deaths per capita than any major country in Europe but Spain and Belgium,” the Times story noted. “The United States has just 4 percent of the world’s population but accounts for almost a quarter of the global deaths from Covid-19.”

“Over the course of the next 87 minutes, the president made another 130 false or inaccurate statements,” the story by Linda Oiu and Michael D. Shear reported. “Many were entirely made up. Others were casual misstatements of simple facts, some clearly intended to mislead. He lied about his own record and that of his opponent. He made wild exaggerations that violate even the pliable limits of standard political hyperbole.”

The story includes a graphic of the entire text of the speech with all the false statements highlighted in red and it’s a veritable sea of red ink. “More than three-quarters of the president’s assertions were either false, misleading, exaggerated, disputed or lacked evidence. Less than a quarter were true.”

Trump didn’t bother to fashion new lies for his Janesville audience. “Trump has delivered similar versions of his stump speech at airport hangars in Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada. In each place, he repeats many of the same lies, often verbatim, despite being called out by fact checkers.”

The high point of mendacity in Janesville was a three-minute stretch of his speech where Trump “made eight inaccurate statements that had been fact-checked repeatedly before. He claimed to have enacted the ‘biggest tax cut in history’ (it wasn’t); that Mr. Biden was ‘going to raise your taxes substantially, like quadruple’ (the Democratic candidate has promised no tax increase for people making less than $400,000); that ‘everybody owns stocks’ (half of the country does not); that ‘we cut more regulations than any administration in history’ (there is no evidence for this); that Mr. Biden would ‘ban fracking’ (he has said he would not); that Democrats would reduce the child tax credit (Mr. Biden has promised to expand it); that it ‘used to take 18 to 21 years to get a highway built’ but that he had reduced the time to two years (the average has been three to six years, and remains three years); and warned that Mr. Biden would impose a ‘draconian, unscientific lockdown’ (Mr. Biden has said that if scientists believed it was necessary, ‘I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists’).”

The Trump presidency is historic in countless ways but his current campaign, where three quarters of his speech is untrue, has set a new record for a national election one can only hope will never be equaled again.

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2 thoughts on “Back in the News: Trump Tells 131 Whoppers in Janesville”

  1. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Thanks, Bruce, for another specimen of good reporting. I cannot understand why such a high percentage of our populace is indifferent to being served lies after lies. How does being conned make people feel better about themselves?

  2. frank a schneiger says:

    Thomas: There is an old quote from the pundit Malcolm Muggeridge who said, “People don’t believe lies because they have to. They believe them because they want to.” Or, as George Costanza of Seinfeld said, “It’s not a lie if I believe it.” A big question is: why do people want to believe these lies? I think another big question is: what happens to a society in which there isn’t even the most basic levels of trust that allow people to agree on simple facts?

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