Mar 26, 2017

Trump's most outrageous claims — and the flimsy facts to support them

Evan Vucci / AP

By this point Americans have grown accustomed to President Trump's pattern of making wild claims, searching for justification, and even enlisting his surrogates as public defenders. Here are his most explosive claims so far...

Inauguration crowds
  • Trump's claim: That the media lied about the crowd size at Inauguration, which Trump said — in a speech at the CIA — was wildly underreported. His claim was amped up by Sean Spicer, who said "this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe."
  • His evidence: Sean Spicer was trotted out to cite photos and metro ridership. Spicer then claimed photographic evidence was unfair, because of ground coverings on the mall. Trump quietly inflamed the claims, reaching out to the head of the National Parks Service for any photographic confirmation. Those photos were eventually obtained by BuzzFeed.
Voter fraud
  • Trump's claim: That millions of people illegally voted in the 2016 election. Trump claimed this after his election, and again after Inauguration Day.
  • His evidence: Once again, Spicer came to the president's defense, saying in January: "It was a comment he made on a longstanding belief… He believes what he believes based on the information he's been provided." Trump has since doubled down, labeling double registration as an example of how people can commit such fraud. While voter fraud does happen in very isolated cases, there is no evidence of fraud on the scale described by Trump.
Obama wiretapping
  • Trump's claim: That Obama "wiretapped" Trump Tower.
  • His evidence: The president has yet to point at definitive evidence for his claims, which reportedly came after he read a Breitbart aggregation of a Mark Levin radio show. While those allegations date back to reporting that the Obama administration sought a FISA warrant to monitor members of the Trump campaign, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Michael Rogers both have shot down Trump's claims.
British spying
  • The claim: That British intelligence services helped with the alleged wiretapping operation.
  • His evidence: This one gets even more dicey, as it started with Fox News pundit Andrew Napolitano citing anonymous sources, and having his claims repeated by Spicer. Trump had his own say in the matter, joking about it in a press conference with Angela Merkel. There has thus far been no substantiated evidence that GCHQ played any role in monitoring the Trump team.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York tops previous day's record death toll

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 51 mins ago - Health

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health