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Donald Trump takes a reverse scientific approach to issues. He searches for the voters greatest fears; enunciates them in the most dramatic and divisive language possible; and then twists and invents facts and re-invents history to support his claims.

Some might say, so what? Isn’t that what every politician does?  Yes, but the President of the United States has taken the practice to an entirely new level, and in doing so has undermined a political class which was already standing on crumbling foundations.  The Washington Post, which keeps a tally of presidential lies, reported in his first 601 days of his presidency, Donald Trump lied or made misleading statements 5,000 times.

You would have thought that the Donald could have temporarily broken himself of this nasty habit when addressing the nation from behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office.  Wrong.  Instead, his televised speech justifying the government shutdown and a demand for a southern border wall was possibly the best example yet of Donald Trump’s inability to speak the truth.

First off, there was no justification to use the tool of a televised address to the nation. There is no crisis. America is not being invaded. Terrorists are not flooding across US-Mexico border. These fears were manufactured by Donald Trump to insure his election to the White House and they are now being exaggerated to keep him there.

Trump is using the oldest political trick in the world. When in trouble create a crisis. Create an enemy. Offer a solution, the more expensive and grander the better. Trump’s crisis is the “invasion” from the south. The enemies are the Democrats, Hispanics and anyone who has a wish to live and work in the United States. The solution is a visible wall which Trump can point to and say: “See, look, there it is, the wall, I did something that no other president would.”.

Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush may have been justified in declaring a national emergency back in 2000 when they exchanged tenancies on the White House.  In that year 1.6 million people were arrested trying to cross into the United States from Mexico. Trump said that his predecessors did in fact tell him that they wished they had built the wall he proposes. The deny this. A lie.

The number crossing the border in 2016—303,916 was nowhere near the level 18 years ago. And building a wall will not resolve illegal alien problem because the largest category of illegal aliens is those who have overstayed their visas—629,000 in 2015, according to the latest figures from the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump claims the wall would also be a barrier against drugs. It is true that most of the heroin, cocaine, and marijuana that enters the United States comes through Mexico. It is another lie that the wall would stop it. Again, according to US government statistics, 90 percent of the drugs  are smuggled through legal points of entry.

What about the rapists, murderers and terrorists flooding northwards?  A large proportion of Hispanics settle in Texas, whose state police department report that the arrest rate of illegal immigrants was 40 percent below that of native-born Americans.  Immigrants—especially illegal immigrants—know that if they break the law they will be deported and their American dream ends.

As for terrorists,  the CATO Institute reported that from 1975 through 2017, seven people who entered the U.S. illegally from “special interest” countries — states tied at least loosely to terrorism — were convicted of planning attacks on U.S. soil. None crossed from Mexico.

For the supporters of Donald Trump, belief in the president is more of a religious experience than a political one.  They accept the word of Trump as literal truth because it reflects their fears.  But perhaps, just perhaps, if the fact checkers keep chipping away at the wall of lies, support for Trump will totter and, eventually, crumble.

Tom Arms is editor of


3 Comments on "Fact Checking"

  1. Quite a lot of people have asked “how could the American people elect someone like Donald Trump as President of the USA”, and a couple of weeks ago I heard the most wonderful explanation. “Peter”, he said, “some folk would vote for a duck with a hat on if he or she was a member of their political party”.

    So Tom, there you have it. The lies are not important to the American voter and neither are the broken policies, the staggeringly large deficit or the image of the USA abroad. No, the important thing is that THEIR candidate won and THEIR candidate now sits in the oval office.

    And he has access to nuclear weapons.

    Goodnight, sleep tight 🙂

  2. To Peter Kennedy:
    The astonishing thing was not that a man like Trump could be elected president, but that a man like him could become the nominee of a major party. Underestimating Trump’s skillfulness as a demagogue is a big part of the explanation.

  3. Tracey Lanfranchi | 11th January 2019 at 10:29 am | Reply

    I’m going to watch Wag The Dog again. Oh how we laughed.

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