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‘Alternative Facts’ And Trump’s Running War With The Truth

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‘Alternative Facts’ And Trump’s Running War With The Truth

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Trump, Alternative Facts, Lies

This president lies.

Granted, every president tells the occasional politically expedient untruth. But this guy is different. He lies constantly. He lies about relatively unimportant things. He lies when the truth can be easily verified.

None of this comes as a surprise, of course. It’s been obvious since long before Donald Trump took the oath of office on Friday. Still, it is disheartening to realize that that oath, and the awesome responsibilities that come with it, have not changed him in the least. He still lies as prolifically as ever.

For instance, in a speech on Saturday at the CIA, Trump blasted the news media for making it “sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.” But it wasn’t the news media that sent out a tweet as recently as Jan. 11 likening the intelligence community to Nazi Germany. Did Wolf Blitzer have a gun to his head or something? No, that was Trump.

On Monday, in a meeting with congressional leaders, Trump renewed his claim that he would have won the popular vote in the November election except that massive fraud cost him millions of ballots. And that’s a lie, too. There is no — repeat: zip, zilch, zero — evidence to support that claim.

On Saturday, Trump sent press secretary Sean Spicer storming into the White House briefing room to berate reporters for reporting — accurately — that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was much smaller than that at President Obama’s first swearing-in in 2009. Pressed to explain that behavior Sunday on “Meet The Press,” senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said something bizarre: “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”

Whereupon, my cousin Kelly called me, sputtering in disbelief. Kelly, a career prosecutor, wanted to know if this means he is now free to put untruths into evidence if he dubs them “alternative facts.”

Meantime, my colleague, Miami Herald cartoonist Jim Morin tweeted, “I would like to congratulate Hillary Clinton for winning the presidential election and enacting a progressive agenda for USA. #AlternativeFact.”

Even Germany’s national railway joined in: “Good news — 120% of our trains are on time today. #alternativefacts”

You’d think Team Trump would learn its lesson, but there was Spicer the very next day, echoing Conway’s — ahem — “reasoning.” “Sometimes,” he told reporters, “We can disagree with the facts.”

In a word: Argh. Look, you can “disagree” all you want that 2+2=4. You may offer to your heart’s content the “alternative fact” that 2+2 = rainbow sherbet. None of it changes the hard reality of what sum is produced when you add those numbers. Nor can you insist otherwise and expect anyone with half a brain to take you seriously.

Ask yourself: If we cannot trust these people to tell us the truth on minor matters that can be easily checked, what confidence can we have that they will be square with us on substantive matters where the truth is not a Google search away? What confidence can our allies and adversaries have?

The answer is, none. That should scare you.

As should this: Just a few days in, this may already be the least trustworthy regime in history. Yet last week, that regime was said to be thinking of evicting reporters from the White House.

And Newt Gingrich just said press briefings should be open to non-journalists, i.e., a designated cheering section lobbing softball questions.

Trump will tell you he has a bad relationship with reporters because they are “unfair.” He says he’s in a “running war” with news media. But that’s another lie.

This guy’s “running war” is with the truth.

IMAGE: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Armed Services Ball in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

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61 Comments

  1. dbtheonly January 26, 2017

    It harkens back to an idea prevalent in the Bush II Administration that reality is what you make it to be. Say Saddam has WMD often enough and his actual possession is no longer relevant. Find, or create, studies that assert uncertainty, and climate change or pollution don’t exist. US doesn’t torture, therefore waterboarding isn’t torture. Call the Radical Rich “Job Creators”.

    I’ll deny that Trump lies. He just sees reality differently. Though as I’ve stated before, I’d dearly love to get Trump liquored up and ask him if he lies or believes the things he says. I think I’m happier with lying.

    This is the big problem. With one Political Party actively denying the factual basis of society; how do we continue to function as a participatory democracy?

    Reply
  2. Dominick Vila January 26, 2017

    Sadly, while most of the world looks at what Trump is doing with a mix of horror and dismay, about 40% of Americans either approve or what The Donald is doing, or are indifferent to what is happening. The fact that he, with a lot of help from Republicans in Congress, are working on repealing the ACA, a program that has helped millions of Americans get comprehensive, affordable (subsidized), healthcare; while they are eagerly working on replacing environmental protections with a free for all business environment, where our patrimony is expendable if that’s what it takes to make a buck; policies designed to destroy the social fabric that contributed to the emergence of the largest middle class in the world, and that serves as the engine that drives our economy; changes in trade policies that seem to have more to do with punishing certain neighbors than economic concerns, seem to be of little interest to his supporters, who either don’t understand the long term consequences of what he is doing, or share his extreme views.

    Reply
    1. mike January 26, 2017

      Bravo Sierra
      ACA in death spiral.
      Obama did zilch for what’s left of middle class.
      GDP pathetic since recession was over in 2009.
      DOW over 20,000 helping millions that have pension plans or stocks in the market. Since election a Trump Bump. Real Hope is back.
      Yes he is pro-business. Without a strong business atmosphere this country won’t survive.
      Just more of your BS.
      You underestimated him before and you continue now. It’s a new era of doing business. There’s a new Norm going forward. How you handle it is your problem.

      1. Lola Johnson January 26, 2017

        Your very own collection of alternative facts.

        1. mike January 26, 2017

          Put up or shut up!

          1. I Am Helpy January 26, 2017

            “You have to disprove my lies or they become true, somehow!”
            – you, a neo-nazi moron who doesn’t know the word “median”.

      2. I Am Helpy January 26, 2017

        Literally nothing you said was true. Why are you such a liar, nazi traitor?

    2. TZToronto January 26, 2017

      I heard Trumpinocchio last night say that millions of Americans have lost their health care as a result of the ACA. The real fact is that more Americans than ever before now have health insurance as a result of the ACA. However, if the Orange One has his way, only his alternative facts will be available to the public. I can foresee an edict from Trump’s throne forcing every department, office, and cubicle in the federal government to submit everything they do to an information czar for vetting before allowing the public to hear anything about anything. Information that would portray policy failures will go into the circular file, only to be replaced by alternative facts written by the hiring-frozen Alternative Facts Directorate.

      1. dpaano January 26, 2017

        He’s already put a hold on many departments and had them close down the portions of their websites that gave info to the public. If that isn’t taking away transparency, nothing is!

        1. Dominick Vila January 26, 2017

          He also had the Spanish version of the White House website removed. Just a little more evidence of the visceral hatred that consumes his psyche. Good thing Mexican President Pena Nieto decided to cancel his scheduled visit to the USA, under tremendous pressure from Mexican government officials and the public. Not surprisingly, Trump is saying that he agreed to cancel the visit, considering that Mexico continues to refuse to pay for what he wants to build.

          1. dpaano January 26, 2017

            I thought it was pretty funny that after President Nieto cancelled the meeting, Trump tweeted that he was the one that cancelled it…..isn’t that the typical? Just another lie to add to the pile!

          2. Dominick Vila January 26, 2017

            Unfortunately for Trump, Pena Nieto’s announcement was made publicly, and broadcasted to the entire world. It was covered extensively by the foreign press, shortly after the Mexican President made the announcement, and before Trump’s save face statement. I got the impression that Pena Nieto was concerned about the consequences of cancelling the visit, but was under so much pressure at home that he had no choice but to engage in what is likely to be a collision course with the USA, that they have no chance of winning. That is, unless Mexico and the other countries that were negotiating the TPP finalize the agreement, without the USA in it, and start trading with China instead of the USA. Unfortunately for them, the consequences of that decision would be much worse than a trade war.

          3. dpaano January 27, 2017

            See, I told you that he’d have us in a war within the first year!!! Does he not realize that by charging them a tax on any goods coming from Mexico to the U.S., this means that WE, the taxpayer, will end up paying for the wall in the long run? All the fruits and vegetables that come in from Brazil during the winter will cost more, as well as oil, etc., and it’ll be the taxpayer that will have to pay for the higher costs. Apparently, as I have always said, the GOP (and Trump) have NO sense of logic or they would see this immediately as I did!!! Watch, Dom, we’ll get stuck with that stupid wall and we’ll end up paying for it in the end no matter HOW Trump tries to get Mexico to pay for it!

          4. mike January 26, 2017

            Fake news much like MLK bust gone. Website being reworked. Just more of your jumping to conclusions.
            One of these days your head is going to explode.

          5. dpaano January 27, 2017

            So much for transparency in our government….he’s worse than Nixon and GWB combined when it comes to that! I think that he just doesn’t want most of us (you know, the ones that voted for Hillary and have intelligence)!!! Our journalists should DEMAND transparency from this administration even if it pisses Trump and his gang of cronies to the nth degree! After all, the government belongs to the people, NOT to Trump, and he’s said that many times (although I doubt if he actually believes it)!

      2. Dominick Vila January 26, 2017

        Claiming that Americans lost healthcare coverage because a program was put in place to ensure that those without health insurance have access to comprehensive, affordable, medical care is something that only Trump can say. Dr. Carson may want to expand the charter of the Department he is heading to include free lobotomies for Presidents in desperate need of a makeover.

        1. dpaano January 26, 2017

          Don’t you have to have a brain in order to do a lobotomy? I seriously doubt you would find one under the orange one’s hairpiece!!!

          1. Dominick Vila January 26, 2017

            BTW, Trump’s latest announcement about sending U.S. troops to protect the Syrian border with Turkey, and help the rebels and the Peshmerga, who until recently were labeled as terrorists by Republicans, already set alarm bells in Turkey, a NATO ally that considers the pro-independencKurds terrorists. Along the same lines, Trump’s challenges to the one-China concept forced China to ask Germany to join them in presenting a joint economic front against the USA.

          2. dpaano January 27, 2017

            So, now he’s threatened to cause a war with Turkey, with China, with North Korea, and now, Mexico!!! Just as I predicted, we’ll be at war within the first year of his administration! We’ll be lucky if we have a country left by the time he gets done! All just to placate his uneducated Rust Belt followers!!!

          3. Dominick Vila January 27, 2017

            Looks like someone, perhaps Theresa May, managed to convince Trump to abandon his reckless rhetoric and act like an adult. He has back tracked from his endorsement of torture and stating that NATO is obsolete by deferring the final decision to the DoD Secretary, who is on record for opposing torture and maintaining one of the most successful military alliances in history. He is also back tracking from his incendiary rhetoric demanding that Mexico pay for the wall he wants, by stating that negotiations will be kept private. Whomever managed to instill a little common sense in this loose cannon deserves praise and recognition.

          4. dpaano January 27, 2017

            I’m not so sure I like the idea that the negotiations will be kept private…you never know what this idiot will do behind our backs! It’s downright scary!

          5. Dominick Vila January 27, 2017

            I would not be surprised if the reason for keeping things away from the public is influenced by the fact that The Donald is going to abandon the “Mexico will pay for the wall” rhetoric. He does not want to anger or disappoint his rabid supporters.

          6. dpaano January 30, 2017

            So true….unfortunately, what he doesn’t understand is that he is the president of ALL of the U.S., not just a few rabid, uninformed, idiot followers! He’s going to find out that making the few that voted for him happy is NOT going to make EVERYONE happy!

      3. dpaano January 27, 2017

        Again, as I’ve always said, the GOP (and Trump) have NO sense of logic in their thinking! Most of us can see the problems, but they apparently can’t! They are only in a hurry to give his idiot followers what they want, and they don’t consider who it will hurt in the end!!! Why do 20% of the country get to dictate for the other 80% (you know, the ones who DON’T want the wall)!!!??? Most of his followers live in the Rust Belt….no where NEAR the Mexico-U.S. border!

    3. dpaano January 26, 2017

      And, the people in the south are still asking him to send FEMA to the areas that were devastated by hurricanes, etc. Keep waiting……and to think they were upset when President Obama chose not to fly to Katrina because he didn’t want to get in FEMA’s way! Trump doesn’t even want to acknowledge there’s a problem in one of the states that voted for him!! Hopefully, the Trump voters in the south will soon realize the error of their vote!

    4. dtgraham January 26, 2017

      Your link was hysterical.

      1. dpaano January 27, 2017

        If anyone watched Trevor Noah’s show on the 24th, you would have fallen on the floor in laughter. He was discussing Spicer and the “alternative facts” situation. It was hilarious!!! I recommend it to anyone who can round it up on TV!!!

  3. bojimbo26 January 26, 2017

    As Mr Trump said then ” If the lie sounds good , use it ” .

    Reply
  4. FireBaron January 26, 2017

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    -Joseph Goebbels

    Reply
  5. Dan S January 26, 2017

    So the truth doesn’t matter with this administration just the alternative facts ????

    Reply
    1. opinioned1 January 26, 2017

      Explains it all— “A narcissistic sociopath is someone with a combination of narcissistic personality disorder and definitive behavioral signs of sociopathy. People with narcissism are characterized by their excessive and persistent need for others’ admiration and positive reinforcement” That`s twitter Dumb to a “T”…

  6. opinioned1 January 26, 2017

    Trump is a liar, a bigot, a racist, and on top of all that he`s a narcissist sociopath who has a need for excessive and persistent admiration and positive reinforcement by others. He`s unfit to set in the Oval Office and if the GOP don`t impeach Twitter Dumb soon, he will destroy everything America stands for.
    What kind of a friggin moron would sign an E.O federal hiring freeze, and a day later demand we hire 5000 new border agents? What kind of friggin moron would make his own election illegitimate by claiming 3-5 million voters were frauds. Does the clown think only illegal votes went to Hillary and none to him? The guys a friggin idiot.

    Reply
    1. InGen12 January 26, 2017

      NBC just confirmed a few minutes ago that Tiffany Trump is an ACTIVE registered voter in Pennsylvania and New York. This, after Kelleyanne swore to Matt Lauer this morning she spoke to Tiffany and she wasn’t registered in 2 states! Wonder how Drumpf is going to spin this one?

      1. opinioned1 January 26, 2017

        Another round of promoting her “Alternative Facts”. Twitter Dumb and his minions will set the mark for telling the largest number of lies ever for any presidential full 8 year term in the first 100 days. They are flat out liars…

      2. dpaano January 26, 2017

        He’ll come up with some “alternative facts” to get through it….watch and see!

      3. nutbar February 16, 2017

        Certainly not with anything true. That would mar his track record.

    2. dpaano January 26, 2017

      You just figuring that out?

    3. Dominick Vila January 26, 2017

      The chances of congressional Republicans starting impeachment proceedings against Trump are slim to none. Most of them are terrified of what he would do to them if they confront him, but most importantly, they recognize that Trump saved what little was left of the GOP, transformed the party into an organization devoid of ideological leanings and consumed by materialism and hatred, and will soon move the Supreme Court to the far right, with horrendous consequences for our society for at least a generation. Nope, the GOP is not going to impeach Trump, they will feed his ego, give him all the money he wants, they will raise the debt ceiling to pay for what he wants while cutting taxes, and will blame someone else when inflation goes through the roof, interest rates skyrocket, and the next recession starts. Alternative facts my friend, alternative facts.

      1. mike January 26, 2017

        Another of your delusional post.

        1. I Am Helpy January 26, 2017

          You don’t get to call other people delusional or stupid, nazi dude who doesn’t know the word “median”.

          1. ivory69690@yahoo.com January 28, 2017

            but you do call the clown a clown when you see one like that as for other names to call the DUMPSTER that would be the biggest book in the world . for Nazi THAT FITS THE CLOWN WELL HE IS JUST A TALLER HITLER

      2. itsfun February 16, 2017

        Hatred is the left rioting, breaking windows, throwing things at policemen, looting etc. How much did the right riot when Obama got elected? The party of obstruction and hate is the “tolerant” left. I can’t hardly believe you talk about rising the debt ceiling after bragging about Obama raising the national debt to 20 trillion. I listened for 8 years of Obama and his administration and you blaming George Bush for all of Obama’s problems, and now you have the gull to say President will blame someone else if a problem occurs. You talk about alternative facts and change your opinions based on what political party is in power. There is a word for someone like you.

        1. Dominick Vila February 17, 2017

          Democrats condemn looting, which has absolutely nothing to do with peaceful protests or criticism. I don’t recall President Obama blaming President Bush for the mess he inherited, which included an economy on the verge of collapse, banks on the brink of bankruptcy, foreclosures and bankruptcies at unprecedented levels, the GDP shrinking at an 8% rate, unemployment climbing rapidly, 800,000 jobs lost in one month, and two unfunded wars with almost 5,000 Americans killed and tens of thousands maimed. Yes, people like me did criticize Bush’s policies, and their effects, and for good reason. President Obama actually maintained a very cordial relationship with him, which lasts to this day.

          1. itsfun February 17, 2017

            Democrats are the ones doing the looting and violence, not Republicans. If they are paid rioters, then they are paid by the left. Instead of fixing problems Obama just blamed President Bush for his own failures. Obama had us in a war somewhere in the world for every one of his years in office. No other President has ever had that. How many of those wars were funded? President Bush had congressional and UN approval. Its okay to criticize the President and his policies. That is one of the things our freedoms are about. Bush had the good manners to keep his nose and mouth out of the President Obama terms. Obama has already ran his mouth about President Bush.

          2. Dominick Vila February 17, 2017

            Most looters could care less about politics. Make up your mind, President Obama was either an appeaser that let radical Islam get the upper hand, or he was a warmonger that kept us in wars (with minimal casualties) throughout his tenure. He can’t be both.

          3. itsfun February 17, 2017

            How does that explain the looting, destroying property, hurting people at Berkley? They weren’t rioting about a liberal speaker. President Obama wouldn’t even say the words radical Islam. He did allow ISIS to be created by backing off on his red line for chemical weapon use. He did allow the country to be in a war every year of his terms. Would you explain “Minimal casualties” to the families of these casualties? He was an appeaser to ISIS.

  7. itsfun January 26, 2017

    Are these some of those alternate facts? From Reuters and Nielsen

    The television numbers are in from the inauguration of Donald Trump, and they’re massive!

    This is a good sign and shows that America is ready, willing, and able to listen to President Trump!
    Via Reuters:
    Nearly 31 million viewers watched live U.S. television coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, far fewer than tuned in to Barack Obama’s first swearing-in, but otherwise the biggest such audience since Ronald Reagan entered office, ratings firm Nielsen reported on Saturday.
    The tally for Trump – 30.6 million viewers on 12 broadcast and cable networks that aired live coverage from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST – surpassed the TV audiences measured for his two most recent Republican predecessors – both inaugurations of George W. Bush and the one of his father, George H.W. Bush.
    Trump was only beat by Obama’s and Reagan’s first inaugurals:
    Only Reagan drew a bigger U.S. TV inauguration audience, with nearly 42 million viewers tuning in to see the California Republican sworn in for his first term in 1981. Just 25 million watched Reagan take his second oath of office four years later.
    Trump’s total was greater than both swearing-ins of Democrat Bill Clinton – 29.7 million and 21.6 million – and the second inauguration of Obama, who drew an average audience of over 20.5 million in 2013, Nielsen said.
    I’m sure it irks Hillary to know that Trump beat BOTH of her husband’s inaugurations.
    President Trump was pretty happy with the results!

    Reply
    1. I Am Helpy January 26, 2017

      OK thanks for the hilariously stupid take, hilariously stupid guy. Doesn’t excuse your treason, though.

    2. Thoughtopsy January 26, 2017

      Of course apart from your distracting attempt at rational argument, you conveniently avoid the entire fact that both Trump and Spicer said “in person”.
      It was the biggest IN PERSON.

      How do your “facts” explain that obvious lie?
      Idiot.
      (I’m not even going to both with the “online” drivel)

      Cuddle up to your Minority President while you still can.

    3. nutbar February 16, 2017

      Well at least one person is thrilled but you need to quit obsessing over Clinton. Most people were just tuning in to see how many lies an orange pervert would spout as his inauguration, not much else to see.

      1. itsfun February 16, 2017

        Even if he tried he could never catch up to Hillary for telling lies.

  8. The lucky one January 26, 2017

    Isn’t that what you would expect with someone whose greatest accomplishments lie in “reality” TV? That no way whatsoever indicates support for Trump. Watching a documentary on Hitler or Stalin doesn’t indicate approval.

    I’m sure Trump is happy, anything that stokes his ego, even he has to lie about it makes him happy. If anything does truly make him “happy”. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a mirthful or joyful smile or a real belly laugh from the man. They all just look like the smirk of a self-satisfied jerk.

    BTW I doubt that the Clinton’s care about TV ratings. They’re too busy deciding how to spend all their money the banksters gave. The biggest favor Trump could have done her was to relieve her of obligations to repay the “bribes” err I mean speaking fees she received.

    Reply
  9. ray January 26, 2017

    Trump supporters have half a brain. That’s why they are so gullible.

    Reply
    1. dpaano January 26, 2017

      They are brainwashed….ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? I think most of them suffer from it….too much FAUX News, I believe!

      1. ivory69690@yahoo.com January 28, 2017

        the strangest thing of all about the DUMPSTER in the house is how many people see the bad ones of the world not as bad anymore . and we feel we have the worse with the DONNY DUMP clown . heck even scary that there might be people that hate the POS so much thy might help the evil ones with the thought of getting rid of the clown .

    2. dpaano January 27, 2017

      The main problem with most of his supporters is that they are in the Rust Belt, which does not abut the border, so they have NO idea what’s going on. They just think it would be good to keep immigrants out, but don’t realize that by charging Mexico a tax on goods coming here from Mexico, it’ll be the hard-working taxpayer (including them) that will end up paying for the wall by paying higher costs for autos, gas, produce, etc. Bottom line…..we’ll end up paying for the stupid wall anyway!

      1. ray January 27, 2017

        Trump never pays for anything himself.

        1. dpaano January 27, 2017

          Never actually said he would pay for it himself….he’ll go to Congress to get the money with the promise that he’ll get Mexico to repay us. But, as I said, if he levies a tax on imports from Mexico into the U.S. to help pay for his stupid wall, it’ll be you and I, the hard-working taxpayers, who will end up paying for the wall by our paying higher prices for gas, autos, produce, etc. that we now import from So. America! Apparently, that’s just TOO logical for him to figure out! He’s already said he’s going to levy a tax on imports from Mexico to use as pay back for the cost of the wall….and, as I said, it will actually be US, the consumers, who will end up paying for it by paying higher prices!

          1. ivory69690@yahoo.com January 28, 2017

            what Mexico should do and not just say it but do it sent the DUMPSTER paper work stating that all the exports from them are going up 30 % . and then tell him and we have country that are interested in renting land on our north boarder China , Russia ,Iran and even North Korea thy sent plans some kind of Sylows we think thy want to store grain in them so we are going to say ok . North Korea said thy would like to do a DONNY DUMP payment plan and asked if we could put it on credit . we say sure

  10. Thomas Martin January 26, 2017

    Trumpty Dumbty is in hog heaven. He is the center of the universe and will never waiver from the alternate truths he espouses. All of his tirades will be displayed at the expense of the American people. We have already become the laughing stock of the world.

    Reply
  11. 788eddie January 29, 2017

    The only thing approaching the level of the “Liar-In-Chief” are the lying liars who support him.

    Reply

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