What You Need to Know About Debate Fact-Checks: Donald Trump Lies. A Lot. Tremendously. Big League

Throughout the presidential campaign, from the primaries to the general election, Donald Trump has been a special kind of liar. So why would things change during the third and final debate of the campaign? Trump continued to lie an astonishing amount, according to fact-checks. He repeated his many-times-debunked claims to have opposed the invasion of Iraq and to have been endorsed by a government agency. He claimed that the stories of women who say he’s sexually assaulted them have been largely debunked, which they haven’t, and that he hasn’t said they weren’t attractive enough for him to sexually assault anyway, which he has definitely said. He made a series of outlandishly false statements on the Middle East. But as much as the content of his lies is important and eyebrow-raising, their frequency is maybe more noteworthy. 


So let’s look at a couple key numbers:

  • NBC News fact-checked 36 statements from the debate, 29 of them by Donald Trump. They found 25 of them to be some variation on false or wrong, with an additional “half right.”
  • The New York Times fact-checked 29 statements, 18 of them by Trump. Classifying the statements red, yellow, or green, Trump got two greens, seven yellows, and nine reds. By contrast, Clinton got eight greens, two yellows, and one red.

Every politician will get something wrong sometimes, or give an overly self-flattering account, or fail to parse their words in a way that makes fact-checkers happy. But Trump goes way, way beyond that. Every. Single. Time. He cannot make a public statement without lies, big and small, it seems. There’s something wrong with the man, and it would be something very wrong in a president.

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