Trump Complains About Getting Fact-Checked, Lies Minutes Later

Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump said Monday that he doesn’t like “Pinocchios,” referring to the Washington Post’s metric for pointing out politicians’ lies in fact-checking columns. Minutes later, he delivered a whopper of an untruth.

“We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any President ever,” Trump said at an event the White House called the “Made in America product showcase.” “For a while Harry Truman had us, and now I think we have everybody, Mike. I better say ‘think,’ otherwise they’ll give me a Pinocchio, and I don’t like Pinocchios.”

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker columnist, implied there was an easy fix for Trump’s aversion to fact-checkers (tell the truth).

Yet, several minutes later, Trump cited a number close to one that was repeatedly knocked down by multiple fact checks, including from the Washington Post.

“In Pennsylvania, two weeks ago, they opened a mine, the first mine that was opened in decades,” he said. “Opened a mine. And you know all the people that were saying the mining jobs? Well we picked up 45,000 mining jobs in a very short period of time, and everybody was saying, well, you won’t get any mining jobs. We picked up 45,000 mining jobs.”

The White House did not respond to TPM’s request for comment on the source for Trump’s claim. But it closely resembled a similar claim by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in three separate interviews on June 4: Some variation of, “[s]ince the fourth quarter of last year until most recently, we’ve added almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector. In the month of May alone, almost 7,000 jobs.”

In reality, depending somewhat on how you count it, the coal industry added around 1,000 jobs during the Trump administration, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Kessler linked to the Post’s knockdown of Pruitt’s claim (it received Four Pinocchios, the worst assessment): 

The Post’s analysis noted that, even judging by the most generous interpretation of Pruitt’s remarks, only 33,000 mining and logging jobs — not just coal mining — have been added since January. Accounting for increases in June, according to preliminary BLS data, there have been 42,000 jobs added across the mining and logging sectors. From January through preliminary data for May, 21,000 mining and logging jobs added were “support activities for oil and gas operations.”

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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