Trump continues to lie about the extent of his electoral victory

Trump just can’t get over his popular vote loss to Hillary Clinton. And he can’t stop lying about his electoral victory either. People are right to be concerned about his mental state, and fitness for office.

NBC reporter Peter Alexander corrected President Donald Trump during a press conference Thursday after the president yet again made a false claim about his Electoral College victory margin.

Russia dominated the questions, but in a meandering, streams-of-consciousness news conference, Trump also found a way to brag about his victory over Hillary Clinton, yet again falsely claiming the margin, 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, was the biggest since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 win. In fact, Barack Obama won more electoral votes in 2008 and 2012, Bill Clinton won more in 1992 and 1996 and George H.W. Bush won more in 1988.

Alexander, a correspondent for NBC News, sought to correct Trump on those figures, and pressed him to explain how he could call reporting by outlets like The New York Times and CNN “fake news” while using inaccurate figures himself.

“Why should Americans trust you?” asked Alexander.

“I was given that information,” Trump said, cutting Alexander off. “I don’t know. I was just given it. We had a very, very big margin.”

“Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive of being fake, when you provide information that’s not accurate?” Alexander asked.

“I was given that information,” said Trump. “Actually, I’ve seen that information around. ”

Trump has repeatedly described his victory over Clinton as a “historic” and “massive” landslide. That’s not the case. His Electoral College victory actually ranks 46th out of 58 presidential elections. He lost the popular vote to Clinton by about 2.8 million votes.

ref: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-electoral-college-claim_us_58a5f184e4b045cd34bfa8e9

Trump’s endless lying threatens his ability to govern and even exasperates GOP leaders

In the first five days of his presidency, Donald Trump has put the enormous power of the nation’s highest office behind spurious — and easily disproved — claims.

He began with trivial falsehoods about the size of the crowds at his inauguration but has since escalated a graver claim that undermines the trustworthiness of the nation’s electoral system. In a White House reception Monday night for congressional leaders, Trump alleged that as many as 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, denying him a popular-vote majority.

It was a claim that Trump had made in the aftermath of the election, with no evidence to back it up.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, whose own credibility has been undercut during his first week on the job, offered no evidence Tuesday to back up the president’s claim.

“The president does believe that,” Spicer said. “He has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign, and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”

Beliefs, however, are not the same as facts. Pressed to produce the basis upon which Trump bases his assertion, Spicer claimed that a 2008 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts “showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens. There’s other studies that have been presented to him. It’s a belief he maintains.”

Pew made no such finding. Its study, it has noted, was issued in 2012 and dealt with inaccurate, outdated voter registration rolls. It did not address large-scale voter fraud.

Trump’s attraction to conspiracy theories and his contempt for facts that tarnish his pride may have serious implications for his ability to govern.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was a stalwart Trump supporter, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that he was mystified by Trump’s claim about illegal voters — and by his motivations for bringing it up.

“I have no evidence whatsoever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there are that many illegal people who voted,” Huckabee said. “And frankly it doesn’t matter. He’s the president, and whether 20 million people voted, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump’s claim “undermines faith in our democracy. It’s not coming from a candidate for office. It’s coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was a stalwart Trump supporter, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that he was mystified by Trump’s claim about illegal voters — and by his motivations for bringing it up.

“I have no evidence whatsoever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there are that many illegal people who voted,” Huckabee said.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump’s claim “undermines faith in our democracy. It’s not coming from a candidate for office. It’s coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”

On Saturday, the new president stood at CIA headquarters, before a wall of stars memorializing slain officers, and claimed that a dishonest media had refused to report the true size of the crowd on the Mall for his inauguration. Trump offered his own estimate of “a million, a million and a half people.”

Later that day, he dispatched Spicer to the White House briefing room, where the press secretary — in his first formal encounter in that setting with the reporters who cover the president — rattled off another round of unproven figures and contended that the crowd represented “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe.”

On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway compounded the damage in a contentious interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” in which she said: “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”

ref: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-disregard-for-the-truth-threatens-his-ability-to-govern/2017/01/24/945c81aa-e272-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html

Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ put lives at risk, with totalitarian overtones

“Alternative facts” could kill, warn national security and other government veterans, and eventually could unravel the fabric of democracy and America’s standing in the world.

This weekend, it was crowd size. By next week, it could be how many troops were killed, and who was responsible for the attack. Or how successful the American response was. Or whether there is an actual threat to homeland security that requires government action. Or even a dispute with a foreign government over a sensitive detail in negotiations.

“It absolutely puts lives at risk. If the president claims that Iran is cheating on the nuclear accord, or that North Korea is about to test a nuclear device on an intercontinental missile,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, “the public needs to believe him, and if he so undermines his credibility we can’t build an international coalition … it has the gravest consequences.”

GOP strategist Steve Schmidt’s view: “purposeful deceit, willful lying by a government spokesperson, is the hallmark of a totalitarian or an authoritarian regime. It’s absolutely pernicious in a democracy.”

“The issue is small, trivial and stupid — but the act of dishonesty and arguing about it is a big deal,” Schmidt added.

“There are narcissists who think anything they do is right and anything they say — not persuaded by evidence — that is what is frightening,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian who met with Trump during the transition. “When you’re saying something that is brazenly false and expecting your followers to adhere to it, that’s a dictator. That is not an American president.”

ref: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-alternative-facts-234011