For the record, and for the 100,000th time — there are no hard facts to support Trump’s Twitter contention from the weekend:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Here’s some more from Hughes on why such social media outbursts can’t be either corroborated or debunked: “One thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts, they’re not really facts. Everybody has a way, it’s kind of like looking at ratings or looking at a glass of half-full water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth or not true.”
Such gobbledygook logically issues from the mouth of a Trump supporter. If there are no facts anymore, after all, the anti-Trump critique crumbles. All that’s left would be the misogyny, the mismanagement, the narcissism, the conflicts of interest, the failure to open up tax returns, the hostility toward the media, the … actually, the anti-Trump critique wouldn’t really crumble. Whatever the case, Glenn Thrush, a veteran reporter with Politico, scolded Hughes: “There are no objective facts? I mean, that is — that is an absolutely outrageous assertion,” Thrush said. “Of course there are facts. There is no widespread proof that three million people voted illegally. It’s been checked over and over again. We had a Pew study that took place over 15 years that showed people had more likelihood of being struck by lightning than voting illegally in an election.”
In attempting to defend Trump’s tweet about illegal voting, Hughes cited a study by professors from Old Dominion and George Mason universities that found that “some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections.” That study has been challenged and didn’t examine the 2016 race.
Once the discussion on facts petered out, Hughes pulled out another predictable Trump defense, accusing others of bias and opinion-mongering. The Post’s David Fahrenthold, who used tireless reporting tactics to expose the truth about Trump’s claims of charitable giving, came in for some criticism from Hughes. “Unfortunately people like Fahrenthold … they feel like putting their — interjecting their own opinion into it, so any facts that they might be able to report nobody believes because he’s interlaced his opinion in these other places,” said Hughes. A more likely explanation: Fahrenthold reported his findings, and they were so damning that they sounded like opinion.
Then came another moment. James Fallows of the Atlantic pointed out a number of Trump falsehoods that arose during the campaign, including the time Trump said that the NFL had sent him a letter complaining about debate dates and the conflicts they posed with football games. The NFL said that it hadn’t sent him a letter.
After listening to Fallows’s bill of particulars, Hughes said, “Well, what’s interesting and what he just said, all those people he mentioned are known bias.”
Fallows: “The NFL, the NFL is biased?”
Hughes said that “that’s the question that you have to ask right now.” On it.