Donald Trump and the Truth-O-Meter
The recount, forced by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, produced two Pants on Fire claims: One by Stein, claiming Wisconsin was using outlawed voting machines (they’re legal); and one by U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who said only one of the state’s 72 counties was doing the recount by hand (many did).
Election claims have often fallen on hard times on the Truth-O-Meter.
We rated False a claim by Wisconsinite Reince Priebus, Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff, that Trump’s win was an "electoral landslide." On the other hand, PolitiFact National rated Mostly True a claim by vice president-elect Mike Pence that Trump "won more counties than any candidate on our side since Ronald Reagan."
Here’s how Trump has done on the meter since Election Day (all the checks were done by PolitiFact National).
"We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College."
This claim was more bold than Priebus’ and likewise didn’t measure up.
While Trump surpassed the required 270 electoral votes with room to spare, his margin ranked no better than the bottom quarter of Electoral College showings in American history, and no better than the bottom one-third of the showings since the end of World War II.
"Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!"
The company is actually building two planes, not one. The project’s current cost is $3.73 billion, which is within shouting distance of Trump’s "more than $4 billion." That’s a projection over 12 years. Also, that figure is an amount that could rise as time goes on.
However, Trump glossed over some important context. National-security requirements, not Boeing, have been the primary driver of high costs. Experts say the costs are broadly in line considering the high-tech and security requirements of a presidential plane.
Says he "won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
Neither Trump nor his allies presented any evidence of widespread illegal voting. In reality, studies have consistently shown that voter fraud is nowhere near common enough to call into question millions and millions of votes.
Indeed, the ability to carry off such a far-reaching conspiracy — potentially involving millions of people over the course of several months and without being noticed by election administration officials, many of them in states controlled by Republicans — is ridiculously illogical.
(PolitiFact Virginina, PolitiFact New Hampshire and PolitiFact California also gave Trump Pants on Fire ratings for making essentially the same claim -- that "there was serious voter fraud" in each state.)
Says there are "probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million" criminal immigrants in the country illegally.
Trump’s slightly hedged numbers stemmed from a federal report that said there are about 1.9 million "removable criminal aliens," but that includes people here legally and illegally.
Trump’s claim that it could even be 3 million is based on an assumption.
Says the New York Times "sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me."
The Times sent a letter to subscribers thanking them for their loyalty and promising to provide strong coverage of Trump going forward.
The letter did note that the Times underestimated support for Trump, but it did not say their coverage of him throughout the campaign was bad. In fact, the letter praises New York Times reporters’ work. And it did not include any semblance of an apology.
Says the New York Times "states today that DJT believes ‘more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.’ How dishonest are they. I never said this!"
Trump accused the Times of misrepresenting his belief, but the newspaper did not. The reporter portrayed his comments on arming other countries with nuclear weapons as something Trump "has suggested" to further U.S. security interests.
Trump has said he is opposed to nuclear proliferation while also repeatedly saying some countries, namely Japan and South Korea, might be "better off" if they were to develop nuclear weapons, given their proximity to North Korea. He even made such comments to the Times.