By George E. Curry
George Curry Media Columnist
When Senator Ted Cruz was running for president, Donald Trump, now the presumptive Republican nominee, enjoyed referring to him as “lyin’ Ted Cruz.” At one rally, he said, “Lyin’ Ted Cruz – L-y-i-n-dash.” Actually, he should have said “apostrophe” instead of “dash,” but accuracy is not important to Trump.
Fact checkers have determined that of all the presidential candidates, present and departed, Donald Trump is the biggest liar.
“PolitiFact has been documenting Trump’s statements on our Truth-O-Meter, where we’ve rated 76 percent of them Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, out of 77 statements checked,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact check site stated. “No other politician has as many statements rated so far down on the dial.
Trump came out of the gate lying.
“When Trump declared his candidacy on June 16, 2015, PolitiFact looked at five statements from his announcement speech. All of them were inaccurate, the website said.
And things have not gotten any better since.
PolitiFact noted, “When it comes to inaccurate statements, the Donald was on fire:
- ‘I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,’ he said at a Nov. 21 rally in Birmingham, Ala. ‘And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.’ Pants on Fire. There is no video of thousands of people in Jersey City cheering. Weeks later, Trump continues to stand by his claim but has not been able to point to evidence to back it up. Public safety officials on the ground in New Jersey say it never happened.
- ‘The Mexican government … they send the bad ones over.’ Pants on Fire. There’s no evidence to show the Mexican government encourages criminals to cross the border. Most illegal immigration comes from people seeking work. Recent estimates show illegal immigration from Mexico dropped off dramatically during the recession and has remained low.
- ‘Whites killed by whites – 16%. Whites killed by blacks – 81%,’ said an image he shared on Twitter. Pants on Fire. Most people are killed by someone they know, and someone of the same race. The correct number for whites killed by whites was 82 percent in 2014, while the number of whites killed by blacks was 15 percent.”
- FactCheck.org, like PolitiFact, has found many of Trump’s assertions to be lies.
For example, it reported, “As CNN’s Jake Tapper explains in his latest fact-checking video, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton started rumors during the 2008 presidential race that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
“Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, repeated the false claim that Clinton was the original “birther” during a May 4 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Trump said Clinton ‘questioned his birth certificate’ and ‘brought it up years before it was brought up by me.’”
Not only was Trump one of the original birthers, he said he sent a team of private investigators to Hawaii to look into the falsehood, saying Obama allegedly not being born in the U.S. was “one of the greatest cons in the history of politics and beyond.”
Of course, that was dispelled when Obama produced his original birth certificate.
Trump also tells a lot of lies and half-truths about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Washington Post observed that Trump repeatedly associates the trade agreement with Bill Clinton, but that’s only half true.
“Bill Clinton was certainly a supporter of NAFTA who pushed approval through Congress. But it was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush. (Here’s a photo.),” the Post said. “Moreover, more Republicans than Democrats voted for the deal, as the trade pact was vehemently opposed by labor unions. One key ally for Clinton was then-House Minority Whip (and later House speaker) Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is said to be on Trump’s list of possible running mates.
It continued, “So Clinton did not negotiate NAFTA, nor did he sign it. But he did put his political prestige on the line to get it approved by Congress – even as two top Democrats, House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (Mo.) and House Majority Whip David Bonior (Mich.), opposed it. In the House, NAFTA passed 234-200; 132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voted in favor of it. The Senate approved NAFTA 61-38, with the backing of 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats.
“In both the House and the Senate, more Democrats voted against NAFTA than for it – a signal that the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party was strong even then.” PolitiFact noted, “Trump hasn’t apologized or backtracked on his statements. Instead, when challenged, he offers flimsy explanations and suggests he shouldn’t be held accountable – or simply insists he’s right.
“‘People maybe call me out, but they turn out to be wrong, also,’ he said in an interview Sunday with George Stephanopoulos. ‘And many of the things I’ve said – and I think just about all of them – they may have been controversial at one point, George, but they’re not controversial in the end, because people start to say, you know, Trump’s actually right’.”
Not surprisingly, that, too, is a lie.
George E. Curry is President and CEO of George Curry Media, LLC. He is the former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA). He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Website, georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at twitter.com/currygeorge, George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook, and Periscope. See previous columns at http://www.georgecurry.com/columns.