Even as Trump’s fact-free statements proliferate, there is growing evidence that his approach is failing.
Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans believe many of his most-common false statements, according to a Fact Checker poll conducted this month. Only among a pool of strong Trump approvers — about 1 in 6 adults in the survey — did large majorities accept several, though not all, of his falsehoods as true.
Similarly, a November Quinnipiac poll found 58 percent of voters saying Trump wasn’t honest, compared with just 36 percent who said he was honest. The same poll found 50 percent saying he is “less honest” than most previous presidents, tying his own record for the highest share of registered voters saying so in Quinnipiac polling.
“When before have we seen a president so indifferent to the distinction between truth and falsehood, or so eager to blur that distinction?” presidential historian Michael R. Beschloss said of Trump in 2018.
Beschloss noted that the U.S. Constitution set very few guidelines in this regard because the expectation was that the first president would be George Washington and he would set the tone for the office. “What is it that schoolchildren are taught about George Washington? That he never told a lie,” the historian said. “That is a bedrock expectation of a president by Americans.”