During Donald Trump’s first appearance this year in the White House’s Rose Garden, he delivered a lot of ridiculous statements — plenty of fodder for breathless stories about him calling Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “Steve,” or taking time out of an otherwise important speech to hypocritically address someone else’s use of swear words — but not really a lot more than usual or anything.
One particular statement stood out, though, among the countless attempts he’s made to convince Americans that we need a wall along our southern border. He’s used hyperbole, straight-up lies, false statistics, personal anecdotes from himself and others, and even surrogates who speak for him when he runs out of nonsense to spout.
But most liars know not to involve other people who can bust them in their falsehoods, and Trump seems to be stuck in a mental loop, where in his mind, the things he says automatically become true because he said them.
So when Trump claimed in that address from the Rose Garden that past presidents have lamented the fact that they didn’t build walls of their own, it sounded not just suspect, but like a thing it should be relatively easy to check. Trump told the gathered crowd,
This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me and they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”
And just as we suspected, it’s not even remotely true. And yes, we understand that this President lies a lot. But this is a little bit bigger lie than whether or not he knows a lot about drone technology, or if he actually saw Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11 (from the bedroom window of his apartment in Manhattan, where he was that day). He’s actually lying about former Presidents of the United States and attributing political positions to them that they would literally never hold.
Think about it — who are the living presidents? Clinton, W, Obama, and of course Jimmy Carter, who will probably still be building houses long after Trump is gone. Three of those are Democrats and George W. Bush once owned an oil company with a Spanish name that he chose, because he speaks Spanish. And those are just the obvious reasons they wouldn’t have supported a wall. The bigger reason is that, with the possible exception of W, none of them are unintelligent, and that’s required for you to believe that a border wall would be anything other than a colossal waste of time and money — a monument to racism and stupidity.
So did they? Of course not. Clinton’s spokesman says the two haven’t talked since the inauguration and Obama’s says the same, apart from a brief exchange at Bush Senior’s funeral — not to mention Obama has publicly blasted Trump over the wall. W’s spokesman says he and Trump have not discussed the wall. Jimmy Carter hasn’t commented but, uh, no. And GHW Bush, the “kinder, gentler” Republican Trump mocked for his “thousand points of light” speech, is a pretty unlikely candidate for building a wall, but he’s currently too dead to ask him.
We’re actually pretty sure Trump just starts speaking and whatever comes out, Trump asserts it’s the truth. We’re NOT sure, however, which is worse: That Trump tells dumb, easily fact-checked lies like this, or that his supporters still believe him even after he’s proving wrong.
Featured image via screen capture