In the debate over which of the presidential candidates has been less truthful, there is a clear winner: Donald Trump. According to independent fact checkers, he has elasticized the truth far more than Hillary Clinton – and in many cases, just made stuff up. (For the related Morning Joe clip, click here.)
Two organizations lead the pack of fact checkers: Politifact and the Washington Post. This chart shows the outcome of all the statements that Politifact has attempted to verify. In the case of Hillary Clinton, only 2% received the lowest rating (“Pants on Fire”) and another 11% received a False rating, for a total of 13%. By comparison, 18% of Trump’s statements have been rated “Pants on Fire” and another 35% have been deemed False, for a total of 53%. (That doesn’t include another 18% of Trump’s statements that were rated Mostly False.)
Viewed in the context of candidates since 2007, Donald Trump ranked worse (by a large margin) than all others, except for Michelle Bachmann, who received similar marks. The only candidate to receive better grades than Hillary Clinton was Barack Obama. (Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich and Joe Biden were tightly clustered just behind Hillary Clinton.)
Using a different scoring mechanism, the Washington Post got to a similar result. Based on 36 rated claims, Hillary Clinton received 4 Pinocchios 14% of the time compared to an astonishing 63% for Donald Trump.
This chart shows some of Trump’s statements that received among the worst marks from both groups. In some cases there was a vague – albeit untrue – basis for Trump’s statements. For example, in order to conclude that 42% of Americans are unemployed, Trump assumed that all 93 million people who are not working (including many students, the disabled, elderly, etc.) were unemployed. In other cases, such as his comment that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks, he appears to have simply made up the statement or based it on vague rumors. Perhaps most amazingly, even after his comments have been proven false (such as his statement that he was against the Iraq war, which is contradicted by video footage), Trump has continued to repeat the same assertions.