Or take the unemployment rate for women. For three months, it has been at its lowest level in 66 years.
Trump’s penchant for dishonesty is well-established. His rhetoric is littered with major fabrications, entire stories he seems to have invented out of thin air. But his remarks are also peppered with extremely trivial exaggerations, slight stretches about accomplishments that would seem not to need any deception to shine.
It sometimes seems as if he has set his Teleprompter to automatically translate the word “almost” to “more than.” When the unemployment rate was the lowest in 49 years, Trump boasted of the lowest rate in “more than 50 years.” When he had confirmed 91 new federal judges, he claimed “more than 100 new federal judges.” When the country had added 481,000 manufacturing jobs since his election, he touted “more than 500,000 jobs.”
It’s possible that Trump simply can’t remember some of the accurate figures. But his exaggerations come not only in impromptu musings but when he is mostly reciting a prepared text. Though he occasionally cites the correct numbers, he embellishes so consistently — and so consistently avoids the use of any figure that is lower than the true figure — that we’re confident it is intentional.
This is simply what the man does.
As President, at least, the incessant exaggeration seems more pernicious than innocent. By choosing to be consistently untruthful about even the things on which he would seem most easily able to be truthful, Trump undermines his credibility about everything else. And, of course, the misinformation results in millions of people being misinformed.
But it still does seem to be an effective form of promotion.
Trump knows that many of the false figures will be broadcast straight to voters unfiltered, through Fox News or another friendly outlet. Even when the false figures are fact-checked, the act of correcting him means the media has to amplify the underlying accomplishment. (“Actually, the unemployment rate for women is the lowest in 66 years, not 75.”) And if his supporters happen to see this kind of correction, they might well view it as biased nitpicking — an example of a media obsessing over trivialities to avoid giving him his due.
For proponents of truth, the hardest Trump falsehoods to challenge might be the smallest ones.