Trump Says 'Believe Me.' Facts Say Otherwise. Status: Stalled.
President Trump as a candidate vowed to be a no-nonsense truth-teller — “believe me” was a common phrase — while restoring trust in government by "draining the swamp." Yet the president routinely utters falsehoods, spins facts and overstates his successes. And there's still a swamp.
A few examples: Despite evidence that the nation had added just 800 mining jobs, Trump claimed the industry had grown by 45,000. He boasted of signing more bills than any other president, and while there’s a grain of truth to that (in his first 100 days, Trump signed more bills into law than all but two presidents in the last 84 years), none are significant pieces of legislation. He took credit for increases in NATO spending, despite the fact that it was up well before he took office.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, counted 1,318 “false or misleading claims” in the president’s first 263 days in office, according to a story published Oct. 10. Six in 10 Americans in a CNN poll in August said the words “honest and trustworthy” do not apply to the president.
Trump also promised to hire only "the best people." But his picks have routinely raised legal and ethical questions. A special investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia has offered a drip-drip-drip of distracting news questioning the credibility of the team that helped elect him and the accuracy of the president’s denials and defenses. Three aides, including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, have been charged with crimes.
Trump's Cabinet has also been mired in ethics scandals: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after Politico reported that he and his wife had chartered private planes and military jets for trips around the world, at a cost of more than $1 million. He’s not alone in his taste for private jets: Taxpayers paid for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to fly home on a private jet to the tune of more than $12,000, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took private jets to destinations including London. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from the FBI's Russia probe after he failed to disclose contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.
In addition, top adviser Jared Kushner and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross both did not fully disclose their finances. Kushner had to revise his report significantly this summer, while Ross’ financial ties to Putin’s inner circle were uncovered recently by a global group of investigative journalists.