President Donald Trump ranted his way through a wild Cabinet meeting at the White House Monday, airing grievances, calling parts of the Constitution “phony,” and telling numerous lies. Twitter accounts belonging to mainstream news organizations repeated at least a half-dozen of the lies without calling them out as such -- contributing to an ongoing problem of national media outlets amplifying Trump’s misinformation without necessary context.
The following six Trump lies that Twitter accounts run by The Washington Post, MSNBC, The Hill, and ABC News parroted to their audiences were easily debunkable by their own or other media outlets’ reporting.
- Trump lie via Wash. Post: The intelligence community whistleblower gave a “totally false statement.”
Fact: A Washington Post analysis found that “all of the mentions of the call itself in the whistleblower complaint” were “clearly and directly verified by the transcript that Trump’s White House itself released.”
- Trump lie via MSNBC: Trump defended his actions in Syria by saying, “I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home.”
Fact: Trump isn’t bring them home; his secretary of defense announced that the American troops being pulled out of Syria were being sent to Iraq.
- Trump lie via The Hill: “I give away my presidential salary. They say that no other president has done it. I'm surprised, to be honest with you. They actually say George Washington may have been the only other president that did.”
Fact: Politico reported that Trump’s claim was wrong; President George Washington eventually accepted a salary, and Presidents Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy both donated their salaries to charity. (In addition, Trump still makes money from U.S. and foreign government spending at his properties.)
- Trump lie via The Hill: The Emoluments Clause in the Constitution is “phony.”
Fact: Politico’s report on Trump’s comment explained that the Emoluments Clause “forbids a president from profiting from foreign governments or receiving any money from the U.S. government except for an annual salary,” which he may have violated if he had gone through with his plan to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Doral golf resort. A lawsuit alleges that patronage of his D.C. hotel is also a violation.
- Trump lie via ABC News: Democratic congressional leaders are “trying to destroy the country” by pursuing an impeachment inquiry against him.
Fact: According to a New York Times fact check, Democrats are following proper constitutional procedure in the impeachment inquiry. In contrast, Trump repeated a supporter’s comparison of impeachment to the Civil War, falsely described the impeachment inquiry as a coup, falsely accused House Democratic leaders of “treason,” and suggested the whistleblower whose complaint spurred the impeachment inquiry should be harmed.
- Trump lie via ABC News: He reversed his decision to hold the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Doral resort because “the Democrats went crazy.”
Fact: The New York Times reported that Trump changed his decision only after Republican lawmakers began criticizing it.