Of all the statements evaluated by PolitFact, only 4% of Trump statements were graded as 100% true. This means that 96% of Trump statements contain some degree false or misleading statement. In other words, if Trump is talking, he’s probably not telling the whole truth.
A few points immediately jump out from the data. Trump has more than four times more “pants on fire” lies (18%) than true statements (4%). The majority of Trump’s statements are either false or pants on fire lies (51%). Only 15% of the statements that the fact checkers evaluated were true or mostly true. Trump doesn’t bother messing with parsing the truth and telling half lies. Trump appears to specialize in bold flat out lies.
Trump lies more than many of his fellow Republicans. According to PolitiFact, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had 24% true or mostly true statements, and 13% of Ryan’s graded statements were false or pants on fire lies. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is almost at Trump levels of false at 48% false or pants on fire lies, but McConnell has only been evaluated on few dozen statements, so his sample size is very small.
What about Hillary Clinton?
Clinton was the exact opposite of Trump. According to PolitiFact, 51% of Clinton’s statements were true or mostly true. Only 12% of Clinton’s graded statements were false or pants on fire lies. Hillary Clinton was an honest candidate who lost to man for whom false statements are a primary method of communication.
When Donald Trump becomes president, Americans would be wise to take virtually every statement that comes out of his White House with a huge grain of salt. Trump won the White House by not being honest with the American people. There is absolutely no reason to expect that this behavior will change after he takes the oath of office.
The president-elect seems incapable of speaking without making some form of a false statement.
The future of the country may depend on the unwillingness of the American people to believe their commander in chief.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association