During his time in office, former President Donald J. Trump was known for making numerous false and misleading statements. The New York Times kept track of these lies and grouped them into several categories.
According to the New York Times, they documented over 30,000 false or misleading claims made by Donald Trump during his presidency. These claims were documented in a regular feature called “The Trump Presidency: The Lies and the Truth”, which tracked false statements made by Trump from his inauguration in January 2017 until the end of his term in January 2021.
Here are some of the most significant categories of Trump’s false statements:
Election Fraud Claims:
One of the most significant categories of Trump’s lies was his false claims of widespread election fraud during the 2020 presidential election. Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was stolen from him and that he had won, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He made these claims in numerous speeches, interviews, and tweets, and even pressured state and local officials to overturn the election results. These claims ultimately culminated in the January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol.
For example, on November 5th, 2020, Trump tweeted “STOP THE COUNT!” in response to vote counting continuing in several key battleground states. He went on to make false claims about voter fraud, saying “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!” Despite these claims, there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and multiple courts rejected Trump’s legal challenges to the election results.
In another example, on November 19th, 2020, Trump held a press conference where he claimed that he won the election by a landslide, and that the only reason Biden appeared to have won was because of voter fraud. He stated, “This was a massive fraud. This should never take place in this country. We’re like a third-world country.” Again, there was no evidence to support these claims, and the Department of Justice later confirmed that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
Finally, on January 6th, 2021, the day of the insurrection at the Capitol, Trump spoke at a rally in Washington D.C. where he continued to make false claims about the election. He told his supporters, “We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. And they stole it from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side.” This statement was particularly inflammatory, as it came just hours before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to overturn the election results.
Overall, Trump’s false claims about election fraud were a significant factor in the events of January 6th and have been widely criticized for their potential to undermine confidence in democracy and the rule of law. Despite numerous investigations and court rulings affirming the legitimacy of the 2020 election, some of Trump’s supporters continue to believe his false claims.
One example of a false claim made by Trump was that the 2020 election was rigged against him through widespread voter fraud, specifically related to mail-in ballots. This claim has been widely debunked by experts and election officials, including those appointed by Trump himself.
To help a Trump supporter understand why this claim is a lie, we could start by pointing out that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is responsible for securing U.S. elections, called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.” Additionally, the Department of Justice and other independent organizations investigated claims of voter fraud and found no evidence of widespread wrongdoing that would have affected the election results.
Furthermore, the states that Trump and his legal team targeted with legal challenges and recounts confirmed the election results in favor of President Biden. Even Republican officials in some of these states, including Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have publicly stated that the election was conducted fairly and without significant fraud.
Finally, it’s important to note that Trump’s own election security agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, contradicted his claims of widespread voter fraud in a statement released on November 12th, 2020. The statement read, in part: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, it’s important to base those opinions on factual evidence. The claim that the 2020 election was rigged through widespread voter fraud has been debunked by multiple independent sources and experts, and there is no credible evidence to support it.
Another significant category of Trump’s lies was his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump downplayed the severity of the virus, falsely claiming that it would “just disappear,” and resisted implementing measures such as mask mandates and social distancing guidelines. He also touted unproven treatments and made false claims about the availability of testing and personal protective equipment. His misleading statements may have contributed to the severity of the pandemic in the United States.
Minimization of the pandemic:
Throughout the pandemic, Trump repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the virus and its potential impact on public health. On February 26th, 2020, Trump claimed that “This is a flu. This is like a flu.” He also compared COVID-19 to the seasonal flu on several occasions, despite evidence to the contrary.
In a Fox News interview on March 24th, 2020, Trump suggested that he wanted the country to reopen for business by Easter, despite the fact that the pandemic was still in its early stages and many experts were warning of its potential impact. Trump stated, “We’re opening up this incredible country. Because we have to do that. I would love to have it open by Easter.”
Lack of testing:
In the early months of the pandemic, the United States faced a severe shortage of COVID-19 tests, which hindered efforts to track and contain the virus. Trump claimed that the United States had enough tests to meet demand, and that the testing shortage was not a problem. On March 6th, 2020, Trump said, “Anybody that needs a test gets a test… the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good.”
Another controversial claim made by Trump was that the drug hydroxychloroquine could be an effective treatment for COVID-19. Despite a lack of scientific evidence to support this claim, Trump touted the drug on numerous occasions. On April 5th, 2020, Trump stated, “I think it’s going to be great. I have a feeling… you’re going to have some very positive surprises.”
In a press briefing on April 23rd, 2020, Trump suggested that disinfectant could be injected into the body as a potential treatment for COVID-19. This claim was widely criticized by medical experts and health officials, who warned that injecting disinfectant could be extremely dangerous. Trump later claimed that he was being sarcastic when he made the suggestion.
Overall, Trump’s statements regarding the COVID-19 pandemic were often controversial and lacked scientific evidence. Many of his claims were later debunked by medical experts, and his response to the pandemic was widely criticized by public health officials.
Trump frequently made false claims about immigration, including the idea that immigrants were responsible for crime and that they were taking jobs away from Americans. He also claimed that there was a crisis at the southern border, and that a wall was necessary to prevent illegal immigration. Many of these claims were not supported by data, and Trump’s immigration policies have been criticized for their cruelty and lack of effectiveness.
Immigrants are responsible for crime:
Throughout his presidency, Trump frequently claimed that immigrants were responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in the United States. On January 20th, 2017, just hours after his inauguration, Trump claimed that “American carnage” caused by crime and gangs brought by immigrants was rampant. However, research has shown that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.
Mexico will pay for the wall:
One of Trump’s key campaign promises was to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which he claimed would be paid for by Mexico. On numerous occasions, Trump claimed that Mexico would pay for the wall in one way or another. On January 6th, 2017, Trump tweeted that “Mexico will pay for the wall!” However, Mexico has consistently stated that it will not pay for the wall, and Trump eventually resorted to using U.S. taxpayer money to fund its construction.
Immigrants are taking American jobs:
Another common claim made by Trump was that immigrants were taking jobs away from American workers. On August 15th, 2019, Trump tweeted, “Many American workers were laid off and forced to train the foreign workers brought in to replace them. They’re destroying our country!” However, research has shown that immigration can actually have positive effects on the economy, creating new jobs and boosting productivity.
Children are not being separated from their families at the border:
In 2018, the Trump administration instituted a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings, which resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents at the border. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump claimed that his administration was not responsible for this policy. On June 15th, 2018, Trump said, “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.” However, the policy was created and implemented by the Trump administration, and it sparked widespread outrage and condemnation.
Overall, Trump’s statements regarding immigration were often misleading or inaccurate. Many of his claims were not supported by evidence, and his policies regarding immigration were widely criticized by human rights groups and other experts.
Media and Press:
Trump frequently attacked the media and made false claims about the press. He referred to the media as the “enemy of the people” and accused them of spreading “fake news.” He also made false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd and the ratings of his television appearances. His attacks on the media were widely criticized for their potential to undermine press freedom and democracy.
Here are a few examples:
The media is the “enemy of the people”:
One of Trump’s most frequent attacks on the media was to label them as the “enemy of the people”. On February 17th, 2017, Trump tweeted, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Trump continued to use this phrase throughout his presidency, despite widespread condemnation from journalists and free speech advocates.
The media is biased against him:
Another common claim made by Trump was that the media was biased against him personally. On December 15th, 2019, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO. I got along great with the NATO leaders, and they are making big progress.” Trump frequently claimed that media coverage was unfairly negative, even when his policies or actions were being criticized by journalists.
The media reports “fake news”:
Trump also frequently accused the media of reporting “fake news” or deliberately misleading information. On May 17th, 2017, Trump tweeted, “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed! #FakeNews.” However, many of the claims that Trump labeled as “fake news” were actually based on factual reporting by reputable journalists.
The media underreports positive news:
Trump also claimed that the media underreported positive news about his presidency. On May 8th, 2019, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand. They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!” Trump frequently accused the media of downplaying or ignoring positive economic or political developments, despite widespread coverage of these events.
Overall, Trump’s attacks on the media were a key feature of his presidency, and many of his claims were not supported by evidence. Trump’s rhetoric has been criticized for creating a hostile environment for journalists and undermining public trust in the media.
Overall, Trump’s lies and falsehoods were a significant part of his presidency. They contributed to the spread of disinformation and misinformation and raised questions about the role of truth and facts in American politics. While some of his claims may have resonated with his base, they ultimately eroded trust in government institutions and created deep divisions within the country.