Donald Trump hurts himself when he makes false statements

Donald Trump maintained that the most people ever attended his inauguration:

Mr. Trump also took issue with news reports about the number of people who attended his inauguration, complaining that the news media used photographs of “an empty field” to make it seem as if his inauguration did not draw many people.

“We caught them in a beauty,” Mr. Trump said of the news media, “and I think they’re going to pay a big price.”

Mr. Spicer said that Mr. Trump had drawn “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,” a statement that photographs clearly show to be false. Mr. Spicer said photographs of the inaugural ceremonies were deliberately framed “to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” although he provided no proof of either assertion.

Photographs of Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and of Mr. Trump’s plainly showed that the crowd on Friday was significantly smaller....

But photos clearly showed that only a fraction of the number who showed up for Obama's inauguration attended.



When Trump lies about such easily verifiable facts, he hurts himself, and he hurts his credibility.  I am glad he won the election -- it is better to have an unreliable person as President than a hard-core committed leftist like Hillary Clinton -- but every time Trump says something that is patently false, he hurts himself and his presidency.

I also worry for Republicans who back Trump to the hilt regardless of what he says. They become like Winston Smith in 1984, believing that 2 + 2 = 5 if they are told it is true. That's what people are doing when they defend obviously untrue statements like this one. Trump is not only eroding his own legitimacy but intellectually compromising millions of people who, like a light switch, can instantly disbelieve facts and believe something new because Trump told them to.

I look forward to Trump doing some good things and some bad things as President. But when he gets wrong basic facts that can be disproved with a photo, his word cannot be relied on for anything.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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