If you take President Trump’s anecdotes at face value, a lot of people cry when they meet him.
Chief executives, coal miners and steelworkers all tear up in his presence. It happens at his rallies and in the Oval Office, and always with “powerful” or “strong” people, many of whom had never cried, according to Trump.
Trump has told tales of meeting crying supporters dozens of times, as you can watch in the video above. Depending on the rally, the crying happens “all the time” or “every time” someone meets him. But watch enough Trump rallies, as the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale has, and inconsistencies will emerge:
Trump tells a lot of stories about his private interactions with people. Many of these stories are widely seen as dubious, and some of them have been shown to be lies, but most of them are carefully constructed so that they are difficult to conclusively prove fictional. So although Trump is a serial liar, we can’t say for sure that he is making all of these stories up.
We can say that he is making some of them up. About the others, we can say that a curious number of people sure seem to be bursting into grateful tears in Trump’s presence.
As Dale notes, there are examples of Trump bringing supporters to tears, but there are also examples of Trump making up crying stories about Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Trump has also asserted at least twice that unnamed chief executives (“from the biggest companies”) cried upon entering the Oval Office.
For a president who once said he viewed crying as a form of weakness, it is notable, if not surprising, whom Trump lauds for tearful emotion and whom he mocks, considering the crying anecdotes fit somewhat into Trump’s pattern of exaggerating, inflating and making things up out of whole cloth for his base.
“I’m not a big crier and you know, not somebody that goes around crying a lot,” Trump said in January 2016 when asked whether he has cried. “But I know people like that, I know plenty of people that cry, they’re very good people. But I have not been a big crier.”