On Monday, President Trump took a break from attacking CNN and The New York Times and instead turned his attention briefly to The Washington Post and its fact checking system.
While speaking at the White House’s “Made in America” product showcase, Trump first bragged about the fact that his administration has signed more bills into law than any other president.
‘We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any President ever.’
He then added that he needs to say he thinks he has now beaten all past presidents so that he doesn’t get a “Pinocchio,” a reference the way WaPo fact checkers measure the accuracy of a statement.
‘For a while Harry Truman had us, and now I think we have everybody. I better say “think,” otherwise they’ll give me a Pinocchio, and I don’t like Pinocchios.’
Shortly after Trump made this joke, Glenn Kessler, WaPo’s Fact Checker columnist, responded by saying that the president could easily avoid Pinocchios by telling the truth.
No one likes Pinocchios. But it’s a problem easily fixed. https://t.co/YG4QQ785oJ
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) July 17, 2017
As the comments below indicate, a number of Kessler’s followers agreed with him on this point, while also expressing their doubts about Trump’s ability to be honest.
If only Trump had been able to read Kessler’s advice during his address. Shortly after saying that he doesn’t like Pinocchios, the president went on to echo a statement from EPA head Scott Pruitt that received four Pinocchios from WaPo just last month.
Repeating Pruitt’s claim about almost 50,000 jobs being gained in the coal mining industry, Trump told the crowd at the event:
‘In Pennsylvania, two weeks ago, they opened a mine, the first mine that was opened in decades. Opened a mine. And you know all the people that were saying the mining jobs? Well, we picked up 45,000 mining jobs in a very short period of time, and everybody was saying, well, you won’t get any mining jobs. We picked up 45,000 mining jobs.’
In reality, WaPo found that only about 1,000 coal mining jobs have been created since Trump took office in January. The number increases when “support positions” and logging jobs are also included, but it’s still nowhere near the 45,000 that Trump and Pruitt have claimed.
If the president doesn’t like Pinocchios, he ought to become a better fact checker himself and stop relying on information from members of his administration. It really is, a Kessler said, a “problem easily fixed.”
Watch Trump’s complaint in the video below, available via YouTube.
Featured image via Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images.