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  • 1973: Trump brazenly lied when federal regulators sued his company for racial discrimination, claiming prosecutors had not contacted him before notifying the press of the charges against him, despite evidence that prosecutors had in fact called Trump before contacting the press. "The family's attempts to slow down the federal case were at times nonsensical. Trump submitted an affidavit contending that the government had engaged in some unspecified wrongdoing by releasing statements to the press on the day it brought the case without first having any "formal communications" with him; he contended that he'd learned of the complaint only while listening to his car radio that morning. But Trump's sworn statement was a lie. Court records show that the government had filed its complaint at 10 a.m. and phoned him almost immediately afterward. The government later notified the media with a press release. Prosecutors responded to Trump's affidavit by showing he had fudged his claim by using the term "formal communication"—an acknowledgment, they said, that he had received what only he would characterize as an informal notification—which they described as an intentional effort to mislead the court and the public. But the allegation slowed the case; it required government lawyers to appear in court to shoot down Trump's false charge." (Newsweek, October 31, 2016)
  • 1984: The New York Times noted that news profiles of Trump had an unusual tendency to publish false and misleading information about the man and his wealth. “It is often pointed out that Mr. Trump is prone to exageration in describing his projects. Oh, he lies a great deal, says Philip Johnson with a laugh. But it's sheer exuberance, exaggeration. It's never about anything important. He's straight as an arrow in his business dealings. Sometimes exaggeration just seems to swirl around him. A recent television show, 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, reported that his Greenwich, Conn., waterfront home is a $10 million estate. Mr. Trump will admit that, yes he paid less than one-third of that and says: I didn't tell them that. Various figures, ranging from $6 million to $10 million have been reported as the amount he paid for the Generals, but, as one who was involved in the negotiations says, the figure is closer to $1 million. Mr. Trump answers: I never told them those other figures. And just about every profile ever written about Mr. Trump states that he graduated first in his class at Wharton in 1968. Although the school refused comment, the commencement program from 1968 does not list him as graduating with honors of any kind. He says he never told them that either.” (New York Times, April 8, 1984)
  • One communications expert has observed that Trump’s pattern of deceit is similar to most chronic liars, except for his greater-than-usual willingness to commit his faleshoods to writing, and to stick to them in the face of mountains of contradicting evidence. “Lyn Van Swol, a University of Wisconsin-Madison communications professor who has studied political deception, said Trump in some ways fits the model of those who dissemble -- they tend to be verbose, as if concocting a structure of support for their misstatements. But he also uncommonly commits falsehoods to writing -- via Twitter. That's rare because it is ‘much more high-stakes, much more permanent,’ she said. Nor does he adjust his assertions after being informed -- in Trump's case repeatedly -- that he is wrong. ‘He's unusual,’ she said. ‘I don't know if it's self-deception, where someone coming in with a different opinion doesn't matter, or it's strategic, where repetition increases the suggestion of truth.... The more it's repeated, the more it's believed.’” (Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2016)
  • In a deposition, Trump once argued that claims in promotional literature that he was "developing" a building didn't mean that he was in fact the "developer" of those buildings. “In one lawsuit -- filed against him by condo owners who wanted their money back for a Fort Lauderdale condo that was never built -- he testified in a sworn deposition, ‘Well, the word 'developing,' it doesn't mean that we're the developers.’” (USA Today, June 2, 2016)
  • In another deposition, Trump defended marketing literature that claimed he personally "handpicked" instructors for Trump University, even though he had no role in selecting them. “In lawsuits over his Trump University, he testified that he had never met instructors who were described in the university's promotional materials as being ‘handpicked’ by him. ‘It depends on the definition of what that means, handpicked,’ Trump said during an exchange with a lawyer in a sworn deposition last December.” (USA Today, June 2, 2016)
  • June, 2016: One commentator argued that Trump’s lies could be divided into categories – lies that cast suspicion on his rivals and lies that paint an entire class of people as a subversive existential threat to his folloewrs. “You can divide most of Trump's conspiracy rhetoric into two categories. In the first, Trump tries to cast suspicion on his political rivals. The most infamous example of this was when he implied that Ted Cruz's dad was mixed up with the JFK assassination, citing the National Enquirer as his source. […] The second category is more ideological. Trump at his core is a nationalist, and nationalists are especially likely to embrace Enemy Outside stories. In these tales, the conspirators are based outside the community's gates; if they're not out to conquer your country, they at least aim to subvert and outwit it.” (Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2016)


  1. December, 2016: Trump lied about the Obama Administration's response to Russian interference during the 2016 election, falsely claiming they had failed to notify the public about the problem. “Dawn had barely broken Thursday when Donald Trump once again broadcast via Twitter a provably false claim: that the Obama administration had not raised an alarm about Russian interference in the presidential election until after Hillary Clinton's defeat. In fact, on Oct. 7, the administration issued an official statement accusing the Russians of being behind the cyberattacks that appear to have harmed Clinton's campaign. ‘Only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,’ the administration statement said at the time. Nor was the issue a surprise to Trump. He had publicly called on the Russians in July to find and release Clinton's emails. He talked in September about accusations of Russian hacking and commented on them during the fall presidential debates.” (Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2016)
    • Trump’s lies about the Obama Administration’s response to Russian election interference were framed around dispute about the legitimacy of his election. “Trump's Russia tweet marked the second time in four days that he has falsely asserted that the Obama administration did not say anything in public about the Russian hacking until after the election. He seemed to be trying to frame concerns about Russian intervention in the election as an effort to delegitimize his victory. In fact, many of those alarmed about the matter -- a group that includes Republicans -- have said that there's no indication the intervention cost Clinton the White House, and that their concern rests with the larger issue of Russian duplicity.” (Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2016)
  2. Trump lied about news reports that he had described his business network as complex, immediately after he canceled a news conference about his business affairs, claiming their complexity created the need for them to prepare further. “In another message Thursday, Trump accused the media of working ‘so hard to make my move to the White House, as it pertains to my business, so complex, when actually it isn't!’ Except it was Trump and his team who specifically had cited the complexity of his business operations when they canceled a long-planned Thursday news conference that was supposed to explain how he'd separate his government duties from his business affairs while in office.” (Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2016)
  3. Trump repeatedly lied about the U.S. unemployment rate, first falsely claiming that it was at 20% (the actual unemployment rate was below 6%), then more than doubling his false claim to 42%. “Only a couple of months ago, in his presidential announcement speech, real-estate developer Donald Trump said the ‘real’ unemployment rate was 18 to 20 percent, which earned him a ‘false’ from PolitiFact. […] Now he's touting a figure that is more than double his previous claim. […] If 20 percent was false, 42 percent is worthy of Four Pinocchios.” (Washington Post, August 21, 2015)
  4. In one of the GOP debates, Trump lied to one of the moderators, denying that he had accused Marco Rubio of being Mark Zuckerberg’s “personal Senator,” despite having raised that exact charge on his campaign website and in official policy papers released by his campaign. “In the last GOP debate, on CNBC, candidates were able to talk their way out of tough questions by saying it was the questioner, not the candidate, who had been wrong. ‘I never said that. I never said that,’ Trump said, after CNBC's Becky Quick said the billionaire front-runner had derisively referred to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as the ‘personal senator’ of Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg. ‘My apologies, I'm sorry,’ Quick said after a back-and-forth. In fact, the statement about Rubio, a rival for the GOP nomination, was real: It was on Trump's campaign Web site and in his policy paper on immigration.” (Washington Post, November 10, 2015)
  5. Trump claimed that America made a “terrible mistake” invading Afghanistan, then later denied that he had ever called the invasion of Afghanistan a mistake. “Trump, when asked about his own contradictions or factual errors, often steam-rolls through the questions, talking and talking and never admitting he was wrong. For example: ‘We made a terrible mistake getting involved [in Afghanistan] in the first place,’ he told CNN's Chris Cuomo in October. Then, later that month on CNN: ‘I've never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan.’ But you said ... ‘I never said that. Okay? Wouldn't matter, I never said it,’ Trump said.” (Washington Post, November 10, 2015)

Arab Americans on 9/11

  • November, 2015: Donald Trump insistently spread the lie that he had witnessed “thousands” of Arab-Americans cheering in New Jersey on the day terrorists attack the World Trade Center. “On Saturday, Trump claimed at a rally that on Sept. 11, 2001, ‘I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering’ the attacks on the World Trade Center. Confronted the next day by ABC's George Stephanopoulos with the reality that there was no evidence this ever happened, Trump doubled down, ‘It was on television. I saw it.... There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering.’ Afterward, he retweeted a phony chart that exaggerated the odds that the killer of a white person would be black by a modest 65 percent. Not to be outdone, on Monday Ben Carson backed up Trump, saying he too ‘saw the film’ of New Jerseyans cheering the falling towers.” (Washington Post, November 23, 2015)
  • Trump’s steadfast dedication to this lie required listeners to posit an implausibly widespread and effective conspiracy to conceal something that all evidence suggests never happened. “Trump has other theories, too -- for example, that Arab immigrants in New Jersey cheered in the streets when terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. If these theories were true, they would imply a widespread deceit. The believer has to imagine a conspiracy among a potentially vast number of people in state, federal and local government, law enforcement and the press, all acting in concert to manipulate the public and conceal the truth.” (Washington Post, December 8, 2015)
  • 2015: Donald Trump has consistently spread the baseless claim that Muslim Americans in new Jersey cheered Al-Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. “Trump claimed last year that he had witnessed on television thousands of Muslims celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. No such footage has ever materialized. ‘There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down,’ Trump said on ABC News in November, one day after he made similar claims at a campaign event. ‘I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down - as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George.’” (Washington Post, September 16, 2016)
  • Throughout his campaign, Trump promoted the racist lie that Arab Americans in New Jersey cheered the attack on the World Trade Center by Islamist terrorists. “Last year, Trump said he saw ‘thousands’ of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey as the World Trade Center buildings fell during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. ‘There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down,’ Trump said on ABC News in November. ‘I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down.’ Fact checkers found no evidence to support his claim.” (Washington Post, October 14, 2016)

Crowd Sizes

  • 1984: Donald Trump attended his football team’s opening game in the United States Football League, falsely boasting that it had a larger crowed than the NFL's Super Bowl. “Donald Trump, who deals in 68-story skyscrapers, waved toward the 62,300 people crowding the two-tiered block of Alabama real estate known as Legion Field and decided that things were looking up in the risky business of confronting the Establishment of professional football. ‘Look at that,’ he said, ‘They didn't have that many more people at the Super Bowl. There's a fever for this sport. The National Football League is the Establishment, and we're confronting it.’ […] Trump watched his investment at work from a carpeted booth high over the 50-yard line, where he was joined by his wife, Ivana, and by Jason Seltzer, president of the team, and several deputies. For Trump, who is 37 years old and president of the Trump Organization, it was no time to fret over an investment in something as unproved as football in the springtime.” (New York Times, February 27, 1984)
  • September, 2015: Donald Trump complained during a phone interview on CNN that the news channel’s reporters had accurately pointed out one of his campaign events in South Carolina had not drawn a large crowd. “Donald Trump was very annoyed when he called in to CNN on Thursday morning. ‘It was sort of interesting yesterday. Your reporter in South Carolina who was absolutely terrible,’ Trump said, referring to CNN's Randi Kaye, who covered Trump's speech in Charleston. ‘I made a speech to the African American Chamber of Commerce in South Carolina. Wonderful people. And the room was full, every seat was full. When I went to the stage, everybody forward. They all rushed to the front of the room. It was a ballroom. They all rushed to the front of the room. And when they did that, you had half of the seats in the back were empty, because everyone was standing in the front.’ Trump went on to ask that his interviewer tell CNN head Jeff Zucker that it was terrible reporting. Photos suggest that it wasn't. Reuters photographer Randall Hill took a photo of a man named Lloyd Petersen, checking his camera before Trump spoke. Rows of empty seats are visible behind him. Associated Press photographer Mic Smith captured the crowd during Trump's speech. You can see Trump on stage, gesturing. And you can see that most of the audience members are still in their seats.” (Washington Post, September 24, 2015)