Have you heard about the new rating that Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler has instituted to replace the “four Pinocchio” rating, which, pre-Trump, had been the worst rating a politician could be given for a statement that is utterly false?
President Trump, deservedly and unsurprisingly, has received a record number of four Pinocchio ratings. But Kessler discovered that Trump, even after having one of his lies scored as a “four Pinocchio” falsehood, shamelessly kept repeating it — without offering any new evidence for its truthfulness, in the arrogant (but perhaps understandable?) belief that his base liked hearing the particular falsehood, and, perhaps liked the fact that the liar-in-chief didn’t care how many fact-checkers had ruled the “fact” false and utterly false.
So Kessler invented a new rating, lower than a four Pinocchio, which he named the “Bottomless Pinocchio.” This, Kessler announced, would be a term for a false fact that Trump has repeated at least 20 times and continues to assert, as if it were true and without acknowledging or doing anything to explain away the three- or four-Pinocchio rating he had already received for the same assertion.
According to Kessler’s methodology, there are already at least 15 falsehoods that Trump has repeated more than 20 times (some of them many more than 20) and they are show graphically in the Kessler column announcing the new “bottomless Pinocchio” category. But those were all retrospective, from past fact checks of Trumpian statements. So they didn’t quite count.
Here’s the Trumpian statement from his Tuesday meeting Pelosi and Schumer:
One thing that I do have to say is tremendous amounts of wall have already been built, and a lot of wall when you include the renovation of existing fences and walls renovated a tremendous amount, and we’ve done a lot of work. … Big sections of wall. And we will continue that. And one way or the other it’s going to get built.
According to Fact Checker:
No segment of Trump’s wall has been built. Trump has sought $25 billion for the wall since taking office. But Congress has not given it to him.
In March, with great fanfare, Trump toured prototypes of a concrete wall while in California. Congress included $1.57 billion in the appropriations bill he signed early in 2018 for border protection, but the legislative language was specific: None of the funds could be used for Trump’s border wall prototypes. Instead, the money was restricted to fencing, generally for replacement fencing.
Only designs from before May 2017, such as “currently deployed steel bollard designs, that prioritize agent safety,” could be funded with the $1.57 billion. Moreover, the bill identified that the money for barriers — about $1.3 billion — could be used only for items listed as “primary pedestrian levee fencing,” “primary pedestrian fencing” and “secondary fencing.” About $250 million is for secondary fencing, meaning it just backs up other fencing.
The idea that the areas where walls were in place before Trump’s election, and areas where pre-existing pieces of walls have been repaired, is somehow the fulfillment of Trump’s great border wall promise is something between mendacity and delusion, with the emphasis on the mendacity.