Calling out Donald Trump on his incessant lying is so cumbersome that it might be more productive to report on the rare occasions when he actually tells the truth. But one particular lie Trump told on Friday is worth mentioning because it involves former U.S. presidents.
During his bonkers Rose Garden press conference on Friday, Trump, talking about his border wall vanity project, claimed it “should’ve been done by all of the presidents that preceded me.” He added, “And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should’ve done it.”
This is one of those Trump lies that is easily verifiable because there are only a handful of former presidents who might have been in a position to say such a thing. Of course, none of them did.
Politico did the legwork on this, reporting that three of the four living U.S. presidents denied Trump’s claim. A spokesman for Bill Clinton, Angel Ureña, said flat-out, “He did not. In fact, they’ve not talked since the inauguration.”
A spokesman for George W. Bush also denied that Bush and Trump had discussed the issue.
Barack Obama, who this week was named the country’s most admired man by a nationwide Gallup poll (Michelle Obama was named most admired woman) also hasn’t spoken to Trump since the inauguration. Obama’s public record makes it clear he opposes the idea of Trump’s billion-dollar “border wall.”
In 2016, Trump himself acknowledged that Obama opposes a border “wall,” tweeting, “Obama says a WALL at our southern border won’t enhance our security (wrong) and yet he now wants to build a much bigger wall (fence) at W.H.”
The year before that, Trump criticized George W. Bush’s brother Jeb on the same issue:
Spokespeople for Jimmy Carter and the late George H.W. Bush didn’t immediately respond to Politico’s requests for comment. However, the news site pointed out that in an interview last year with CBS News, Carter noted that “it’s well-known” that Trump “is very careless with the truth.”
Of course, the White House had no interest in clarifying Trump’s statements.
And Politico noted:
Since taking office, Trump has had little contact with past presidents, even his Republican predecessors. Some in the Bush family, for example, have privately signaled their distaste for him and Trump did not attend the funeral for former first lady Barbara Bush last April.
By the latest count, Trump has publicly told over 7,600 lies during his presidency. He probably boosted that number significantly on Friday.