Washington: The comments of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump have earned him the “2015 Lie of the Year” award presented by PolitiFact, a website that fact-checks the truth of politicians’ statements.
PolitiFact studied 77 statements made by the controversial real estate magnate since he declared his presidential candidacy last June.
According to PolitiFact’s “Truth-o-Meter” 76 of the 77 of Trump’s comments that were analysed were found to be “false” or “mostly false”, Efe news agency reported on Tuesday.
Among the remarks selected or scrutiny was his claim that “The Mexican government… They send the bad ones over” to the US.
Trump, who holds a commanding lead in the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination in the voter opinion polls, came out with that claim in his speech launching his presidential bid, going on to accuse undocumented Mexican immigrants of being “rapists” and criminals, statements which caused a huge controversy.
“There’s no evidence to show the Mexican government encourages criminals to cross the border. Most illegal immigration comes from people seeking work. Recent estimates show illegal immigration from Mexico dropped off dramatically during the recession and has remained low,” said the website, which bestowed the dubious award on Monday.
Michael LaBossiere, a philosophy professor at Florida A&M University, said Trump has “perfected the outrageous untruth as a campaign tool.”
“He makes a clearly false or even absurdly false claim, which draws the attention of the media. He then rides that wave until it comes time to call up another one.”
Other remarks that earned Trump the PolitiFact award were that he saw “thousands and thousands of people” on television celebrating the 9/11 attacks and the fall of the Twin Towers in New Jersey, a claim that he has never been able to prove, and that 81 percent of whites who are murdered are the victims of black killers, when in reality only 15 percent were killed by African Americans in 2014.
According to PolitiFact, Trump is applying his technique of “truthful hyperbole” to his campaign, a philosophy that has guided him in his real estate negotiations and on his TV reality show “The Apprentice.”
In his 1987 best-seller “The Art of the Deal,” he said of the technique: “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”