“All I know is what I read on the internet.”
Candidate Donald Trump, Sunday, March 13, 2016.
President Donald Trump has kept media fact checkers working overtime during his first year in office. Both the Washington Post and New York Times have kept running tallies of the misinformation coming from the president, a form of White House press coverage virtually unseen in modern history.
And it’s for good reason.
The president has become known for his inaccurate and/ or misleading statements, often dismissed by his many supporters as “unfiltered” or “real talk.” Here’s a look at what ABC News has deemed some of the most glaring and objectively false claims put forth by the White House during President Trump’s first year in office.
1. “We have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman.”
— Donald Trump on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 in an event in West Palm Beach
Not only is that claim false, it’s about as far from the truth as it could possibly be – and hence — first on our list. Records show that by year’s end Trump had signed 94 bills into law, fewer than any president since Truman.
2. “The overall audience was, I think, the biggest ever to watch an inauguration address, which was a great thing.”
— Donald Trump, Thursday January 26th, 2016 in an interview with CBN News.
In one of his first presidential acts, Donald Trump called the National Park Service’s acting director the morning after his inauguration to express displeasure over a retweet of inauguration crowd photos from the agency’s official account, which heavily favored President Barack Obama. All accessible data, from television ratings and digital stream counts, to the crowd photos and official city estimates, show that President Obama did in fact draw a bigger crowd. But that didn’t stop the president from instructing his press secretary Sean Spicer to summon reporters to the briefing room that Sunday to excoriate them, without taking questions, about the claim that President Barack Obama drew a larger crowd. It turned into a defining moment for Spicer.
“That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period.”
— Sean Spicer on Saturday, January 21st, 2017 in a press conference
After leaving the White House late last year Spicer acknowledged his claim was inaccurate.
3. “I will be asking for a major investigation on VOTER FRAUD.”
— Donald Trump tweet, Wednesday January 25th, 2017
In May of 2017 the White House established a voter fraud commission with hopes it might be able to substantiate the myth perpetuated by Donald Trump that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because millions of votes were cast illegally. A year later the president was forced to disband the commission after it was unable to produce results. The White House blamed the states for refusing to participate and said the data they managed to collect would be “destroyed.” To date the White House has produced no evidence to support the false claim.
4. “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls.”
— Donald Trump, Monday October 16th, 2017.
That was President Trump falsely asserting that his predecessors did not place consolation calls to the families of fallen soldiers, as he had done. What’s most glaring about this falsehood is the nerve the President managed to strike on such a sacred and somber subject matter by turning the combat-death of an American soldier into an unprompted political pot shot on President Barack Obama. “This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards,” President Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, tweeted in response.
5. “Obamacare has been repealed in this bill.”
— Donald Trump, Wednesday December 20, 2017
After Congressional Republicans spent much of the legislative year trying (and failing) to kill Obamacare, President Trump attempted to sneak a political-fast one when he repeatedly claimed his end-of-year tax bill victory “essentially repealed Obamacare.” Yes, the tax bill eliminated Obamacare’s individual mandate (which funds a small percentage of the health plans) but the law is still very much intact.
6. “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about…”
— White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Thursday November 30th, 2017
Setting aside the fact that the president chose to retweet a series of anti-Muslim videos from a fringe British Nationalist Group (at least one of which was proven to be fake) his defense for spreading that false propaganda was particularly egregious. His press secretary Sarah Sanders argued that the voracity of videos, one of which falsely claims to show a “Muslim migrant” beating up a “Dutch boy on crutches,” aught not distract from the president’s belief that “the threat is real.” A reminder that President Trump has hurled the “fake news” insult at the media 186 times on Twitter alone during his first year.
7. “We’re the highest taxed nation in the developed world, and I think the undeveloped world too.”
— Donald Trump, Tuesday September 26, 2017
The Washington Post reports the President has made this claim at least 55 times year, but according to Pew Research Center, using 2014 data, taxes on Americans are below average for developed countries.
This story is part of a weeklong series examining the first year of the Trump administration.