The president is no fan of the facts. Especially when speaking in front of a fawning crowd, Donald Trump likes to say what he wants to be true, regardless of whether it is.
During his recent visit to the Foxconn manufacturing site in Wisconsin, for example, he claimed he had won the only state that former Republican President Ronald Reagan failed to carry in 1984: Wisconsin. Trump also boasted he was the first Republican presidential candidate to win the Badger State since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.
He was wrong, as most people at his Racine County speech likely knew. Reagan won Wisconsin both times he ran here in 1980 and 1984, by much larger margins than Trump. Minnesota was the only state Reagan failed to capture in his landslide 1984 victory.
Moreover, another Republican, Richard Nixon, carried Wisconsin three times between 1960 and 1972. And Eisenhower won again in 1956.
Maybe Trump was confused, having rallied supporters June 20 in Duluth, Minnesota, which borders Wisconsin. But as several national media outlets now have reported, Trump is still repeating his incorrect tale. The Hill reported Trump said it again during a speech in Montana last week.
“Take Wisconsin, I just left Wisconsin,” Trump said July 5 in Great Falls. “Reagan had his big win. He won every state except one, the great state of Wisconsin. I won Wisconsin, first time since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.”
That’s pretty much the same thing he said June 28 in Racine County. And he said it June 27 in North Dakota, according to PolitiFact.
In this week's political podcast, Milfred and Hands play clips of and comment on the president's talk at Foxconn.
This begs a few questions: Does his staff not tell him when he’s wrong? Are they afraid to correct him? Or does Trump know he’s wrong but doesn’t care? After all, his story sounds a lot better than the facts, so maybe he’s sticking to it.
Either way, it highlights the president’s chronic habit of stretching and breaking the truth — sometimes intentionally, he has admitted — whenever it suits him.
Of 578 Trump statements analyzed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism website PolitiFact, 47 percent were “false” or “pants on fire” wrong, and 22 percent were “mostly false.” Only 16 percent were “true” or “mostly true,” while 15 percent were “half true.”
The president should have more respect for accuracy to inform his policy decisions and build public trust.
No, Mr. President, you didn’t outperform Reagan in Wisconsin — not by a long shot. Quit bragging about fake achievements and concentrate on your very difficult job.