Same Trump, New Campaign Lies
By Stephen Tuttle | June 10, 2023
At least one presidential candidate is back to his old ways, his lie machine barely slowing down. Here’s a sampling.
According to the Associated Press, Trump claims he “inherited record high unemployment” and created the “lowest unemployment in history.” The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would beg to differ. In January, 2017, when Trump took office, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent. The highest on record was 24.9 percent in several months of 1933. When Trump left office in January, 2021, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, very good but nowhere near the record low of 2.5 percent in May of 1953.
He claims he created “the best job growth ever.” Once again those contrarians with all those pesky statistics at DOL tell a different story. Job growth averaged 227,000 new jobs per month in the last three years of the Obama Administration but only 197,000 per month during the first three years of Trump’s term. (It’s not fair to include the last year of Trump’s term given the shutdowns and economic turmoil during the pandemic.)
He also claimed to have overseen record stock market numbers. True enough when discussing the Dow Jones and NASDAQ raw numbers but not true in terms of market growth. The stock market increased about 50 percent during Trump’s term but 150 percent during Obama’s eight years in office. (Obama started with the economy and markets in the tank with little room to go anywhere but up, and Trump inherited an economy already on the upswing with less upward room available.)
Trump is telling some impressive whoppers about crime, claiming it’s “the worst it's ever been” and saying it was at all-time lows during his term. According to CNN reporting, during his tenure he claimed, “Our crime statistics are at a level that they haven’t been at” and are “record setting.” None of that is even remotely close to the truth.
According to FBI statistics, our highest violent crime rate was in 1991, when there were 758.2 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The low was just 150.1 crimes in 1960. The rate was 397.5 in 2016, Obama’s last year in office, and 402.6 in 2020, Trump’s last year. (The FBI defines violent crime as murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.)
The former president has also opened up some new lines of misinformation, disinformation, and outright fibbing.
In an April 5 speech at Mar-a-Lago, he veered into a fantasy about the records, classified and otherwise, he took when he left office. He said, “I’m supposed to negotiate with NARA...” about the records. (NARA is the National Archives and Records Administration.) Nope, not even close. The Presidential Records Act (PRA) is clear and specific that all presidential records, with few exceptions, such as correspondence with personal lawyers, must be sent to NARA as soon as a president leaves office.
Trump further claimed he had the right to take the documents and that he was “…only taking boxes of records and mostly clothing and other things…” and further claimed all presidents going back to Jimmy Carter had done the same thing. Except the other presidents did no such thing; NARA says they took possession of all those presidential papers immediately upon those presidents’ departures from office. And the “boxes of records” taken are an overt violation of the PRA.
He claimed in the same speech that we left behind “…$85 billion worth of the best military equipment in the world…” when we left Afghanistan. The Department of Defense puts the number at $7.1 billion and claims most was destroyed after any sensitive technology was removed.
Then there are the calls to officials in Georgia demanding they “find” him enough votes to reverse his loss there. He said, “Nobody found anything wrong with that perfect call until a book promotion tour months later…” That’s just bizarrely wrong. The Washington Post and others reported the story the next day, and Trump’s calls were met with outrage by many.
Then there was the ongoing delusion about voter fraud in 2020. Trump claimed in his April speech, “Millions of votes were illegally stuffed into ballot boxes, and all caught on government cameras.” That’s just an outright lie; there is no video or evidence of any such thing. The Associated Press, which laboriously tracked alleged fraud in battleground states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—found 475 instances, about half of which actually benefited Trump.
His latest bit of nonsense is his claim that, if elected, he will “end birthright citizenship by executive order on day one.” No, he won’t because the Fourteenth Amendment says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States…” No president can undo the Constitution by executive fiat, period.
New campaign, same Trump.