Why Trump’s Lies Endanger Our Democracy

The president’s inclination for false information is common knowledge at this point — but four lies in one tweet is a lot,†even for Trump.

On June 5, President Trump took to Twitter to share his misleading thoughts on immigration and border security:

Just for the record, the immigration policy Trump refers to was enacted by his own administration.

In a speech on May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions†announced:

If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.

Sessions made this claim despite the fact that many families who arrive at the southern border are fleeing violence in their home countries. As asylum seekers, they’re not breaking the law since the U.S. must accept individuals who can show a “credible fear” of persecution or torture.

And no, construction on the border wall has not started.

That tweet was published at 7:58 a.m. on June 5. In the 24 hours before that, Trump produced a total of 18 tweets†– including the following:

  • “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself.”Ě
  • “In many ways this is the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America.”
  • “The U.S. has an increased economic value of more than 7 Trillion Dollars since the Election. May be the best economy in the history of our country.”Ě
  • “The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!”
  • “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”

3,001 false or misleading claims

In a report issued May 1, The Washington Post noted that Trump has made 3,001 “false or misleading” claims since becoming president — which means an average of 6.5 falsehoods per day.

It started right after he took office, with those ridiculous assertions about the crowd size at his inauguration, a claim easily proven to be false.

Trump also tends to repeat the same false or misleading claims. As The Washington Post details:

Seventy-two times, the president has falsely claimed he passed the biggest tax cut in history – when in fact it ranks in eighth place. Fifty-three times, the president has made some variation of the claim that the Russia probe is a made-up controversy. (If you include other claims about the Russia probe that are not accurate, the count goes to 90). Forty-one times, the president has offered a variation of the false claim that Democrats do not really care about the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump terminated.

The list goes on and on — and includes the fact that 13 times in the 5 weeks preceding the publication of this report, Trump claimed his wall was being built, even though Congress has not approved the funding.

Politicians and presidents have certainly been known to shade the truth, refuse to answer questions or only tell a portion of the truth in the past. But repeatedly stating flat-out lies and falsehoods from a bully pulpit is unprecedented and concerning behavior.

Dangerous behavior

As a mother and a teacher, it’s important to me that my children and my students learn the importance of being honest, of standing up for the truth and of respecting themselves and others.

Yet under the Trump administration, young people are presented with a role model that denies the moral correctness of honesty. A president who says whatever he wants as long as it makes him look good is both terrifying and abhorrent.

And all the while, his administration, as well as Republican members of Congress, remain unwilling to stand up to the president.

Whether or not this is all part of Trump’s strategic plan, the reality is that so many lies and falsehoods can dramatically affect public opinion — especially among his supporters.

I’ve spent many hours researching the witch hunts in 17th century England — the real witch hunts, not the fake Trump ones — and I’ve consistently observed how the label “witch” stays with a woman for the rest of her life, even after she has been proven innocent.

Similarly, trying to correct the misinformation spewing from the president’s mouth may be too little too late — and it could actually make things worse with his followers.

Previous presidents caught lying have sometimes tried to equivocate or show they were not technically lying. Take Bill Clinton’s assertion that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky by saying “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”Ě

Trump, however, refuses to even attempt to respond when he is accused of making false statements. Apparently he believes he is above the law and can say whatever he wants with impunity. When critics dispute this, the president attacks them and calls their charges “fake news.”

As James Pfiffner writes for†Brookings:

Trump’s refusal to admit the truth of widely accepted facts corrodes political discourse and is consistent with the practice of many authoritarian leaders. The assertion of the power to define reality is destructive of democratic governance, in part because many people believe him and are not amenable to contrary evidence.

Our current president poses a serious danger to our democracy.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

100 comments

Amanda M
Amanda M2 months ago

Barbara V, that's why I call him Twitler! That idiot is nothing but a CHINO (CHristian In Name Only), as well as a willfully ignorant, bigoted, misogynistic, narcissistic, and infantile bully who should NEVER have been able to become President. If he were an ordinary civilian, he'd have been arrested for what he's said and done, and there is NO EXCUSE for us not to be able to bring him to task for his words and actions now, especially since he's supposed to be setting an example of behavior not just for us, but for the world as well. My younger daughter knows to behave better than he does, and she just finished the fifth grade! We need to keep fact-checking everything he says (we're at a total of over 3000 lies/exaggerations/falsehoods already, which is SICKENING!), call him out and correct him on those lies, and keep setting the record straight. And sooner or later we can FINALLY bring him and his minions to heel, hopefully starting with the midterm elections!

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Susanne R
Susanne R2 months ago

Paul: I see that you've been visiting "Christian Forums." I'm a Christian, too, and that's one of the reasons I can't accept trump's lying, cheating, abuse of taxpayer dollars, treatment of immigrants and the traumatizing of their children (Note: He and Sessions are responsible for what's going on at the border. And even if he wasn't, he could stop it immediately.) There's nothing Christian about trump, and the fact that a Christian Forum supports him is the height of hypocrisy. Paul, you're a better man than he is. Don't be hoodwinked.

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Brian F
Brian F2 months ago

The Democrats are big liars themselves, after cheating Bernie Sanders out of his primary and forcing a crook Hillary on to us, which caused this crook Trump to win. The Democrats also have an unfair super delegate rule that gives the incumbent over 400 super delegates before even having a challenger which is cheating. Tom Perez recently fired all the progressives and the Democrats recently passed a rule, that only Democrats could run. Clearly these unfair rules are designed to keep honest progressives like Bernie Sanders from winning, so the Democrats can continue their corruption.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

david f's big word for the day "expurgate"
Better leave an explanation, david, because some of the low intelligence trump supporters may not get it.

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Roberta G
Roberta G2 months ago

Paul B...trump has a history of reneging on deals, as well as lying.

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silja s
silja s2 months ago

disgusting wanker!! just paint a toothbrush on his upper lip. you see it don't you. a tyrant a obtuse toddler who needs have his nappy thrown in his face.

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David F
David F2 months ago

Paul exposes what the 90% Fake News expurgates, confusing Fake News victims.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

paul b
How much is trump or the GOP paying you ???

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Paul B
Paul B2 months ago

Conducted a historic 12-day trip through Asia, winning new cooperative deals. On the trip, he attended three regional summits to promote American interests. He traveled to the Middle East and Europe to build new relationships with leaders. Traveled to Poland and on to Germany for the G-20 meeting where he pushed again for funding of women entrepreneurs.

81 actions, 11 Obama reversals Nd while they aren't ALL HUGE, all are significant and are in the US best interest. So it's hard to say he hasn't done anything. How many have you read in your media sources?

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Paul B
Paul B2 months ago

Promoting peace through strength

Directed the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review.
Worked to increase defense spending.
Empowered military leaders to “seize the initiative and win,” reducing the need for a White House sign off on every mission.
Directed the revival of the National Space Council to develop space war strategies.
Elevated U.S. Cyber Command into a major warfighting command.
Withdrew from the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, which Trump saw as a threat to borders.
Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security.
Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory.
Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons.
Announced a new Afghanistan strategy that strengthens support for U.S. forces at war with terrorism.
NATO increased support for the war in Afghanistan.
Approved a new Iran strategy plan focused on neutralizing the country’s influence in the region.
Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack.
Prevented subsequent chemical attacks by announcing a plan to detect them better and warned of future strikes if they were used.
Ordered new sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela.

Restoring confidence in and respect for America

Trump won the release of Americans held abroad, often using his personal relationships with

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