A lie is a declaration that the stating party believes to be false and that is made with the intention to deceive. When President Trump purposely states information that he knows is either false or unproven, he is not employing a new set of facts to substantiate or justify the merit of his beliefs. It is his intention to deceive the public. Simply put: Trump lies. By using the term ‘alternative facts’-even as satire- we help to legitimate his propaganda.
For example, when Trump finally admitted that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,” he was not acknowledging the use of alternative facts but stating new and even more vicious lies against Clinton’s campaign. When he said that she was the source of the allegation, PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim “Pants on Fire,” writing “in no credible sense is this true,” and noting that Trump continued “fanning the flames of birther conspiracies … for at least another three and a half years” after Obama released his birth certificate.
When Trump repeatedly claimed that he “Was totally against the War in Iraq” he was not stating alternative facts. In 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, when asked by Howard Stern if he was “for invading Iraq,” Trump said “I guess so.” Today, the president adamantly claims he opposed the war from the beginning.
When Trump falsely claimed that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States “could be 30 million” and that the government has “no idea what the number is” he was not presenting alternative facts to make his argument. He was lying to activate his base in border states such as Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
When Trump and his campaign asserted that he “can’t” make his tax returns public because he is “being audited” by the IRS, this was not an alternative version of how our tax system works. The Washington Post noted, the IRS has “said nothing, including an audit, ‘prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.’” The Post went on to point out that Trump’s own tax lawyers have said Trump’s tax “returns from 2002 to 2008 are no longer being audited.”
Furthermore, Trump’s assertion that “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels,” is not relying on an alternative source of data to contest with the official numbers. It is but one more example of Trump’s proclivity for telling shameless lies. All over the nation, crime is at record lows. Hard work is needed in every community, but great progress is being made in the areas of public safety and judicial reform. To say otherwise is to contradict the vast majority of reports, analyses, surveys, and research projects that indicate a steep decline over the past 30 years.
This is not to mention the lies related to fraudulent voters, connections to Putin, sexual abuse allegations, audience sizes, the Muslim ban, and his character attacks against opponents such as Elizabeth Warren and Judge Robart. Trump does not offer anything close to facts about these unfounded charges and statements. He just lies.
Let us not make excuses for Trump’s pathological deceitfulness by associating it with something that it is not. Every time we repeat the words ‘alternative facts’ we help to normalize his lying.
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