Elections

PolitiFact’s ‘Lie of the Year’? Donald Trump’s campaign talk

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. AP

The audacious Republican front-runner has earned a dubious prize for his controversial remarks on the campaign trail: PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year,” a designation the fact check group bestows on what it says is the most egregious political falsehood of the year.

In this case, PolitiFact’s editors said their only real contenders for this year were all Trump statements: It had previously given “Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire” to 76 out of Trump 77 statements.

“But it was hard to single one out from the others,” the editors wrote. “So we have rolled them into one big trophy.”

And they added: “To the candidate who says he’s all about winning, PolitiFact designates the many campaign misstatements of Donald Trump as our 2015 Lie of the Year.”

Among the lesser-known faux statements in the Trump canon were a double falsehood: on June 16, when he said “the last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product … was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.” The site marked the claim “Pants on Fire,” finding the gross domestic product was not zero and that the growth in the gross domestic product has been below zero 42 times over 68 years.

Exaggerations about Ebola won last year, but President Barack Obama took the prize in 2013 for his “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” assertion. The editors at the time said, “Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief.”

Trump has called for Hillary Clinton to apologize for saying at the Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday night that the Islamic State is “showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” Fact checkers, including PolitiFact, have dubbed the assertion false, saying there is no evidence that it’s true.

Lesley Clark: 202-383-6054, @lesleyclark

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