Speaking to reporters before traveling to Texas on Wednesday, President Trump made an interesting assertion.
“I have not seen the Mueller report,” he said, referring to the document outlining the findings made by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in the Russia investigation. “I have not read the Mueller report. I won. No collusion, no obstruction. I won. Everybody knows I won.”
“Won” is an odd word to use here, certainly, given what Mueller was tasked to investigate and what little we know about his conclusions. But Trump nonetheless embraced it — even claiming that “everybody knows” he won.
This is a favorite formulation of Trump’s that fits with his tendency toward exaggeration. It’s not just that many Americans believe something to be the case. No, everybody knows that what Trump is saying is the truth, that he offers unassailable insights and any contrary opinions are necessarily insincere and inaccurate.
We found about 30 instances in the past six months alone where Trump asserted that everyone knew something. They’re presented below in reverse chronological order with repeat instances of the same claim excluded.
Not only were nearly all of Trump’s assertions things that not everybody knew, but they were often assertions with which a majority of Americans disagreed.
Everybody knows …
April 5. That loopholes in immigration laws, such as “chain migration” or “visa lottery,” are very bad. Polling indicates that 48 percent support continuing the visa lottery and 43 percent support family reunification (what Trump calls “chain migration”).
March 22. That Democratic investigations are a “continuation of the same witch hunt.” Six in 10 support House Democrats investigating Trump further on a range of issues, including his campaign’s interactions with Russia.
March 2. What word he wanted to use to describe ending tariffs. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump claimed that he wanted to use a non-politically correct word but wouldn’t because his wife didn’t want him to. I didn’t know what he meant then, and I still don’t.
Feb. 21. That the depth and glory of African American contributions to American culture are beyond measure. We must grimly note that racists would probably not claim to know that this is true.
Feb. 15. That human smugglers drive bound women across the border between border checkpoints. While the New York Times reports that incidents of women being bound while being smuggled over the border have occurred, the Border Patrol at one point struggled to find stories matching Trump’s description.
Feb. 3. That everyone knows what’s happening at the border because of the shutdown. A majority consistently opposed Trump’s proposal to build a wall, his solution for what was happening on the border with Mexico.
Jan. 31. Everybody knows Roger Stone personally. Probably not.
Jan. 25. That Trump has a powerful alternative to congressional funding for the wall. Trump was referring to his plan to use a national emergency to secure funding to build a wall. Asked by CNN in January, 3 percent had no opinion on declaring a national emergency — suggesting that they didn’t know much about this alternative.
Jan. 14. Everybody knows Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney. Maybe in South Carolina.
Nov. 29, 2018. About the Moscow Trump Tower deal. Speaking to reporters, Trump apparently claimed that everybody knew about the Trump Tower Moscow deal during the campaign. This was far from true, and Trump himself repeatedly asserted that he had no links to Russia before he was elected.
Nov. 22. That the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is “out of control.” This is hard to evaluate, but it’s worth noting that Trump won a victory in a fight over his wall in the court earlier this year. It seems unlikely that everyone has an opinion on federal circuit courts.
Nov. 15. What it means that Trump signed the most significant VA reform in half a century. Trump’s claim here isn’t really clear, but it’s also not the case that Trump passed the most significant reform in half a century. He repeatedly claims credit for something Obama did.
Oct. 31. That birthright citizenship costs the country billions of dollars. People born in the United States are citizens. It’s not clear that they then cost the country billions of dollars that aren’t then paid back through taxes or other mechanisms. Trump often makes unfounded claims about the costs of immigration.
Oct. 31. That there were more murders in Tallahassee in 2017 than in any other year on record. Trump was disparaging Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who was running for governor of Florida. The figure is accurate — the high was 22 — but it’s unlikely everyone knew it.
It’s worth pointing out that one subgroup gets a lot closer to universally holding Trump’s positions on these issues: Republicans. Every Republican Trump supporter likely “knows” the various claims he makes, but that group doesn’t constitute “everybody” in any sense. Even if it does seem to be the group that’s closest to Trump’s heart.