Before he took questions during his Thursday news conference, President Trump revisited one of his favorite topics — his electoral college victory over Hillary Clinton.
As he’s done in the past, Trump exaggerated.
“I’m here following through on what I pledged to do — that’s all I’m doing,” Trump said. “I put it out before the American people, got 306 electoral college votes. I wasn’t supposed to get 222.” (Trump actually received 304.)
“I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan,” he added.
Trump’s claim doesn’t come close to being true. Following the 2012 election, President Obama received 332 electoral votes; following 2008, he received 365. Following the 1996 election, President Clinton received 379 electoral votes; following 1992, he received 370. George H.W. Bush surpassed all of those totals with 426 electoral votes following the 1988 election. Trump fell significantly short of all those totals.
These numbers aren’t hard to find, but Trump lied about them anyway. Later, Peter Alexander of NBC called him on it.
After reciting some of the above numbers, Alexander, referencing Trump’s repeated blasts of the media as “fake news,” asked: “Why should Americans trust you when you are providing information that is not accurate?”
Trump didn’t answer the question. Instead, he blamed his repeated false claims about his electoral margin on someone else, a person he says gave him false information.
“I was given that information. Actually, I’ve seen that information around,” Trump said. “But it was a very substantial victory.”
But even’s Trump’s claim about a “very substantial victory” isn’t true. AsPolitifact broke down, Trump won about 57 percent of the available electoral votes, a margin that actually “ranks near the bottom, belonging somewhere between the lowest one-fourth and the lowest one-fifth of all Electoral College victories in history.”
As we’ve had occasion to point out in the past, sometimes Trump’s little fibs— lies that fall far short of other claims he’s made, like the unfounded assertion that millions of illegal votes were cast in the presidential election — are the most revealing.