Washington Post Fact Checker Inflates Trump Falsehoods
The Washington Post’s fact checking team prides itself on compiling all of President Donald Trump’s false and misleading statements in one easy-to-use database.
However, a review of just four days of Trump statements that were fact checked by the Post reveals hundreds of claims that have been erroneously labeled false.
The Daily Caller reviewed the Post’s database of Trump falsehoods from March 28, 2019 to March 31, 2019 and was able to identify a number of Trump claims that should’ve been labeled true or unsubstantiated.
Here are just some of the “false or misleading” claims the Caller identified as being true or unsubstantiated.
Trump Claim 1:
“And we’re right now building a lot of wall on the southern border” (March 29, 2019)
WaPo’s Rating: “No, Trump’s wall is not yet being built. Congress inserted specific language in its appropriations bill that none of the $1.57 billion appropriated for border protection may be used for prototypes of a concrete wall that Trump observed while in California. The money can be used only for bollard fencing and levee fencing, or for replacement of existing fencing.”
The Facts: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Roger Maier told The Daily Caller News Foundation in March that new wall is being built on the border in places where there were gaps or only small or ineffective non-wall barriers.
“CBP has built and continues to build new border wall along the Southwest border. To date, CBP has built 38 miles of new border wall system in San Diego and Calexico, California, Santa Teresa, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas,” Maier said.
While the money Trump received from Congress limits new construction to “bollard fencing,” the president is also funding the wall through his national emergency declaration and freed up anti-drug funds from the Pentagon.
The Washington Post also takes issue with the fact that the Trump administration has shifted to “bollard fencing” rather than the concrete wall that Trump campaigned on — a semantic difference but not a technical one. Immigration officials told this reporter in January that they requested steel slats because it allows them to see potential threats across the border but still effectively operates as a wall. (RELATED: Immigration Experts Explain What An Effective Border Wall Looks Like)
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 139 times since taking office.
Trump Claim #2:
“[The Russia Investigation] was a hoax. This was a witch hunt. I have absolutely nothing to hide. And I think a lot of things are coming out with respect to the other side.” (March 29, 2019)
WaPo’s Rating: “President Trump frequently said the special counsel’s investigation was a witch hunt or a hoax. The special counsel revealed significant criminal activity by some of Trump’s campaign advisers and by Russian individuals and entities.”
The Facts: Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and matters that may arise from that investigation.
Attorney General Bill Barr said in a letter to Congress that Mueller did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. While it is true that Mueller was able to charge Trump campaign members for crimes, none of the special counsel’s indictments directly related to collusion, the main purpose of the probe.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 115 times since taking office.
Trump Claim #3:
“We have created since my election 5.5 million new jobs. Nobody would have believed that was possible.” (March 28, 2019)
WaPo’s Rating: “Trump often inflates the number of jobs created under his presidency by counting from Election Day, rather than when he took the oath of office.”
The Facts: Trump specifically says in this quote that he is counting since his election, not since his inauguration, so it is unclear why WaPo included this in their list of false or misleading claims. The Post also does not consider the effect of consumer confidence and market reactions on job growth. U.S. economic confidence surged after Trump’s election in 2016, and positive outlooks on the economy could lead businesses to hire more workers.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 77 times since taking office.
Trump Claim #4:
“We have a chance of killing Obamacare. We almost did it but somebody unfortunately surprised us with thumbs down but we will do it a different way.” (March 28, 2019)
WaPo’s Rating: “Trump suggests that Sen. John McCain’s vote was the only impediment to passing a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. But none of the substantive replacement bills got nearly enough votes, and McCain’s vote was against a ‘skinny’ repeal that was only to lead to talks with the House on a common position, with no guarantee of an agreement that would pass both Houses.”
The Facts: Trump did not say that McCain’s vote was the “only impediment” to “killing Obamacare.” Further, the “skinny” repeal would have eliminated the individual mandate, temporarily eliminated the employer mandate, give states more waivers on Obamacare regulations, and increase contributions to Health Savings Accounts. Those are all key provisions of Obamacare and the bill was expected to destabilize the Obamacare market.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 38 times since taking office.
Trump Claim #5:
“Obamacare is a disaster. We’re going to have a plan that is so much better than Obamacare.” (March 29, 2019)
WaPo’s Rating: “The Affordable Care Act is expected to remain stable for the foreseeable future, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It has led to a sharp reduction in the number of people without health insurance and has been broadly accepted by the American public.”
The Facts: The Washington Post did not mention any of the detrimental aspects of Obamacare that would cause the president to label it a “disaster.” For example, millions of people lost their employment-based and private health insurance plans and were forced to pay for coverage they did not need. Obamacare premiums are also more than double what an average private health insurance plan cost in 2013. Whether or not this means Obamacare is a “disaster” is better left to political debate than fact checking.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 74 times since taking office.
Trump Claim #6:
“When you close the border, also you will stop a lot of the drugs from coming in. Because we take in tremendous drugs from Mexico, as you know as well as I do. So you close up the border and you watch the drugs go way down too.” (March 29, 2019)
WaPo’s Rating: “Most drugs come into the United States across the southern border with Mexico. But a wall would not limit this illegal trade, as much of it travels through legal borders or under tunnels unaffected by any possible physical barrier.”
The Facts: According to a March report by the Washington Examiner, more drugs were seized at unguarded sections of the border than at ports of entry in 2018. Former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan also recently explained on Fox News that even if the majority of drugs were seized at ports of entry, that doesn’t mean drugs are not a problem between the ports.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 86 times since taking office.
Trump Claim #7:
Trump tweeted, “Working hard, thank you! #MAGA” above an image of a Rasmussen poll that listed his approval rating at 50 percent. (March 28, 2019)
WaPo Rating: “We’re not sure what poll Trump is referring to, as the most recent Rasmussen poll at the time of this tweet had him at 49 percent approval.”
The Facts: Rasmussen’s daily presidential tracking poll listed Trump’s approval rating at 50 percent on March 28, 2019.
The Washington Post also takes issue with Trump citing a Rasmussen poll because it “consistently has a Republican-leaning bias.” Rasmussen says its polls tend to favor Republicans because it surveys “likely voters” rather than registered voters, and Republicans are more likely to vote. Rasmussen also frequently points out that it correctly predicted the popular vote margin in the 2016 election.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has repeated this “false or misleading” claim 25 times since taking office.
By reviewing just those 7 claims, the Caller was able to identify a total of 554 repeated claims that should not be included in the Washington Post’s 9,451 “false or misleading” claims since Trump took office.
There are many more Trump claims in the March 28 to March 31 timeframe that the Post rated incorrectly, including claims about the unemployment rate, the Steele dossier, aid to Central and South America, and the Mueller investigation.
The Washington Post’s fact checking database is routinely cited by other outlets as an infallible source for tracking Trump’s “lies.” The Los Angeles Times suggested Americans create a March Madness bracket to bet on when Trump tells his “10,000th lie,” while CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote an entire article debating why Trump is “unfazed” by his numerous lies.
The Caller’s review of the database, however, suggests the Post’s project isn’t as accurate or as useful as the establishment media likes to believe.