Real-estate mogul Donald Trump has done a poor job so far of keeping to the facts during his current presidential campaign.
According to PolitiFact, the non-partisan fact-checking organisation run by the Tampa Bay Times, approximately 76 per cent of Trump’s statements are mostly false, false, or “pants on fire” — as false as it gets.
The remaining 24 per cent are either half true or mostly true. None of the Republican candidate’s investigated statements were judged to be explicitly true.
During his presidential announcement, Trump stated that the US’s gross domestic product during the previous quarter was below zero, adding that “It’s never below zero.”
One can assume that Trump meant to say that growth in GDP for Q1 2015 was below zero, which it was at -0.7 per cent. However, his statement that it was unprecedented was completely wrong.
By PolitiFact’s count, the US has seen negative GDP growth over a quarter period 42 times. This makes up 15 per cent of the quarters since the government began calculating quarterly GDP change in 1947.
Similarly, Trump’s statement to ABC in early August that, under Obama, income and unemployment for black Americans were worse than “just about ever” did not pass muster. Unemployment has dropped significantly under the current administration and, while household median income for the same group has stagnated during Obama’s presidency, it is hardly historically low.
Of course, Trump is not the only candidate whose words have been under scrutiny. Ted Cruz’s statements were found to be 66 per cent mostly false, false, or “pants on fire.” The only one of his statements deemed explicitly true was from 2013, when he said that the federal government thinks it has the right to regulate toilet seats.
The major Democratic candidates have had a better time with the fact-checkers. Hillary Clinton chalks in at 30 per cent in the false categories, just edging out Republican Jeb Bush’s 33 per cent. In one instance, Clinton got caught up in claims that all of her grandparents immigrated to the United States (in reality, only one did). Bernie Sanders comes in very low with only 26 per cent of his statements in the false categories.
Trump’s tendency to stretch the truth has not been limited to politics. In court depositions obtained by The New York Times, Trump was shown to have repeatedly exaggerated about his finances and even his debt. When asked, under oath, if he had ever exaggerated in statements about his properties, he said, “I think everyone does.”
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