How oft-used? See the video above for a sampling compiled by the Fix.
“This is about America first. They’re paying us $400 billion-plus to purchase and invest in our country,” Trump said Tuesday. “It means hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of investment and product . . . it’s about Make America Great Again, it’s about America first.”
Trump’s willingness to distort the facts for his own political ends was perhaps not as surprising as his willingness to distort them to give Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cover.
The $400 billion Trump cited Tuesday is significantly higher than publicly available estimates, includes deals not yet completed and includes investments announced before Trump had even won the presidency. Last month, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker found only $28 billion of the claimed $110 billion in deals were signed, all under the Obama administration, and the AP reported Tuesday that the Pentagon had only confirmed $14.5 billion in orders, but even those are not official yet. On Monday, ABC News reported that Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner directed the State Department and Pentagon to inflate the value of the Saudi arms deal to provide additional cover.
The “hundreds of thousands of jobs” Trump cited Tuesday is significantly higher than the 40,000 Trump announced last March or the potential support for “tens of thousands of new jobs” the White House outlined last May.
To hear Trump tell it, the number of new manufacturing jobs could be 600,000 (it is less than that).
And a southern border wall was only supposed to cost $4 billion. Then it was $10 billion. Now Trump wants taxpayers to dole out $25 billion. It is unclear what it would actually cost.
For a president who routinely doubted the official unemployment rate on the campaign trail (“It could be as high as 42 percent,” Trump said in September 2015) before touting the same unemployment rate in office, his willingness to stretch the truth for his own gain is nothing new. But his willingness to stretch the truth in defense of blatant human rights abuses may be.
“It’s a shame,” Trump said of Khashoggi’s murder Tuesday. “But it’s — it is what it is.”
This post has been updated.