For President Trump, 2018 was a lot of things, but one label stands out above the rest. For the purported leader of the free world, the person we are supposed to hold in the highest esteem, it was the year of lies.
It's so bad that today even many of his most ardent supporters don't believe what he says, at least some of the time.
According to The Washington Post's Fact Checker, throughout the year Trump has averaged more than 15 falsehoods -- either outright lies or exaggerations -- every day. Not only is that remarkable, it is disgusting and dangerous.
Here are some key points from The Post:
When 2018 began, the president had made 1,989 false and misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database, which tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. By the end of the year, Trump had accumulated more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency — averaging more than 15 erroneous claims a day during 2018, almost triple the rate from the year before.
Even as Trump’s fact-free statements proliferate, there is growing evidence that his approach is failing.
Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans believe many of his most-common false statements, according to a Fact Checker poll conducted this month. Only among a pool of strong Trump approvers — about 1 in 6 adults in the survey — did large majorities accept several, though not all, of his falsehoods as true.
Similarly, a November Quinnipiac poll found 58 percent of voters saying Trump wasn’t honest, compared with just 36 percent who said he was honest. The same poll found 50 percent saying he is “less honest” than most previous presidents, tying his own record for the highest share of registered voters saying so in Quinnipiac polling.
I would like to point out that the Quinnipiac poll is one that Trump most likes to cite, as its results are often more to his liking than other national polls.
“What is it that schoolchildren are taught about George Washington? That he never told a lie,” presidential historian Michael R. Beschloss told The Post. “That is a bedrock expectation of a president by Americans.”
Not any more.
The Post pointed out that Trump began 2018 on a similar pace as last year, generally averaging about 200 to 250 false claims a month.
"But his rate suddenly exploded in June, when he topped 500 falsehoods, as he appeared to shift to campaign mode." The Post reported. "He uttered almost 500 more in both July and August, almost 600 in September, more than 1,200 in October and almost 900 in November. In December, Trump drifted back to the mid-200s."
Trump’s midsummer acceleration came as the White House stopped having regular press briefings and Trump met repeatedly with reporters, held events, staged rallies and tweeted constantly.
Here's more directly from The Post:
The president misled Americans about issues big and smal. He told lies about payments that his now-convicted attorney says Trump authorized to silence women alleging affairs with him. He routinely exaggerates his accomplishments, such as claiming that he passed the biggest tax cut ever, presided over the best economy in history, scored massive deals for jobs with Saudi Arabia and all but solved the North Korea nuclear crisis.
He attacks his perceived enemies with abandon, falsely accusing Clinton of colluding with the Russians, former FBI Director James B. Comey of leaking classified information and Democrats of seeking to let undocumented immigrants swamp the U.S. borders.
The president often makes statements that are disconnected from his policies. He said his administration did not have a family separation policy on the border, when it did. Then he said the policy was required because of existing laws, when it was not.
On and on. Trump's lies never stop. He is called out in the media. Then he lies again, all the while lambasting the media for reporting the truth.
One day this will catch up with him. There is an old adage, "Lies will always come out." Richard Nixon found this to be true. Bill Clinton found this to be true. And, so will Donald Trump.
Recently, I designed a T-shirt for Not Fake News readers. It reads, "All Those Lies & Democracy Dies."
That's the truth.