By Katie Sanders on Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.President
Donald Trump has twice garnered PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year “prize.” Readers argued that he was again worthy of the recognition. Readers selected his Pants on Fire comment about Democrats wanting to “invite caravan after caravan” of immigrants into the country with a swath of free benefits and voting privileges as the year’s most outrageous claim.
The editors at PolitiFact found the efforts to smear survivors of the Parkland school shooting so low and ugly that those lies should be acknowledged amid growing effort to reign the most vile efforts manipulating minds via the internet in today’s society.
Numerous news and fact-checking initiatives have chronicled Trump’s extensive record of making statements that are blatantly false or misleading. Pundits and historians say the president’s dismissal of objective information — especially if it is at odds with his political preferences — is so frequent and intense that he stands apart from his predecessors.
In recognition of the president’s unabashed battle with facts, PolitiFact offers 10 “highlights” from the president’s 2018 record of false statements or exaggerations.
A “horrible law” requires that children be separated from their parents “once they cross the Border into the U.S.”
False. There is no such law. Families were rarely separated before Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute all illegal border crossings. Mostly, they used to be kept together in family detention centers or released into the United States as they awaited deportation or court hearings.
Democrats let cop killer Luis Bracamontes “into our country,” and “Democrats let him stay.”
Pants on Fire. Bracamontes’ last illegal entry was under George W. Bush, a Republican president, and Republican and Democratic administrations had deported Bracamontes.
“The Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens into our country. And they want to sign them up for free health care, free welfare, free education, and for the right to vote.”
False. The claim mangles what some Democrats had said about allowing immigrants to make asylum claims. No one talked of giving them benefits beyond existing laws.
Says 3,000 people “did not die” in two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico.
False. Trump refused to accept a dramatic uptick of 2017 hurricane deaths in Puerto Rico by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute. He dismissed as “magic” the work of researchers’ estimates of “excess deaths,” based on scientific methods, which is now generally accepted. Their estimate did not include, as he claimed, anyone who died after the storm from reasons such as old age.
People “went out in their boats to watch” Hurricane Harvey.
Pants on Fire. President Trump criticized people for recklessly taking to their boats to see the storm, forcing the Coast Guard to rescue them. In reality, people went out on boats to evacuate flooded homes and neighborhoods.
“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.”
False. The state’s firefighting agency said it had no complications accessing water, and fire experts faulted hot, dry and windy conditions for the infernos.
“In many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that. They always like to say ‘oh that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people.”
“The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, so okay, they’re at a record level.”
Pants on Fire. Trump got it backwards. The numbers show that the extent of the ice at both poles is smaller than it was decades ago, particularly in the Arctic.
“U.S. Steel just announced that they are building six new steel mills.”
False, no matter how many times Trump brought it up during the midterm campaign. U.S. Steel, which owns four of the country’s steel-making facilities, announced it would restart two shuttered mills.
Saudi Arabia has ordered $450 billion from the United States, “$110 billion of which is a military order,” producing “over a million jobs.”
Pants on Fire. Trump’s rhetoric, which he used as justification for not more forcefully condemning the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, doesn’t match the facts. There are no orders totaling $450 billion or $110 billion, and no 1 million U.S. jobs.