According to Washington Post's Fact Checker, on 9 July, 2020, President Donald Trump hit the milestone of 20,000 “false or misleading” claims since he took office in January 2017. With respect to coronavirus alone, the newspaper estimated that Trump made more than 1,000 “false or misleading” claims from the beginning of the pandemic until July 2020. In October, a study by researchers at Cornell University showed that Trump was the “single largest driver” of Covid-19 misinformation, as mentions of the U.S. president “comprised 37.9% of the overall misinformation conversation” analyzed by the study.

Trump has had statements and social media posts associated with fake news since before the 2016 election campaign, which led him to the presidency of the world's largest democracy.

Now, after losing the 2020 presidential elections - not without first questioning the results and alleging, without evidence, a series of electoral frauds - and the ban from Twitter after the Jan. 6 assault on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump is expected to step down on January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th U.S. president. Check below 10 of the most popular false or misleading claims spread by Donald Trump.


Claim: Obama was not born in the USA

Facts: In 2011, Trump was one of the most prominent figures in a movement called “birther”, who questioned whether former U.S.

President Barack Obama was really born in the United States and, therefore, could be elected president. According to the birther movement conspiracy theory, Obama was actually born in Kenya.

Truth: During a news conference in the 2016 election campaign, Trump finally acknowledged that Obama was born in the United States. He, however, tried to blame Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for the “birther” movement that questioned Obama's citizenship.

There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton had ever mentioned or supported the “birther” movement. Obama’s 2009 inauguration had 37.8 million viewers. Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, son of an American mother and a Kenyan father.


Claim: Trump’s inauguration was the most watched ever

Facts: On January 26, 2016, six days after he was sworn in, Trump said: “The overall audience was, I think, the biggest ever to watch an inauguration address, which was a great thing.” Trump estimated that 1.5 million people attended his inauguration in person.

Truth: Different from what Trump claimed, the White House said at the time that 720,000 people attended his inauguration. The number is way lower than the 1.8 million who attended Obama’s first inauguration, according to what the District of Columbia estimated back in 2009. On television, approximately 30.6 million people tuned in to watch Trump’s inauguration.


Claim: Obama separated children from their families at the border

Facts: In November 2018, during a press conference at the White House, Trump said: “Under the Obama plan, you could separate children. They never did anything about that. Nobody talks about that. But under President Obama, they separated children from the parents.”

Truth: There was no specific law under Barack Obama’s administration to separate children from their parents.

During his two terms in office, illegal immigrants were rarely prosecuted and instead held in family detention centres. On the contrary, in 2018, during Trump’s administration, however, more than 2,600 migrant children were separated from their parents, a policy he was forced to end after widespread public outrage.


Claim: Article II of the Constitution lets me “do whatever I want”, said Trump

Facts: On two occasions in 2019 Trump said that Article II of the U.S. Constitution allowed him to do whatever he wanted. In June, 2019, during an interview with ABC News, he said: “Article II allows me to do whatever I want.” The following month, during a press conference in Washington, he said: “Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

Truth: Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch and outlines the president’s power.

It does not say he can do whatever he wants. Besides that, the same Article II outlines impeachment as a recourse for a problematic president: “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”


Claim: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine research was funded by Operation Warp Speed

Facts: On November 9 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their vaccine candidate against COVID-19, showing a 90% efficiency. Following the news, Donald Trump tweeted: “As a result of Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer announced on Monday that its China virus vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Pfizer said it wasn’t part of Warp Speed, but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation.” U.S.Vice President Mike Pence supported Trump in another post claiming that this research came out from a “public-private partnership forged by President Donald Trump.”

Truth: Pfizer’s spokeswoman Jerica Pitts replied to these claims saying: “Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing costs have been entirely self-funded. We decided to self-fund our efforts so we could move as fast as possible.” The agreement made between the U.S. based Pfizer and the U.S. government was about the supply of 100 million doses once the vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Claim: Democrats created the Islamic State

Facts: In two statements in August 2016, during that year's U.S. presidential campaign, Trump called then-President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as “co-founders” of the Islamic State.

Truth: The Islamic State has its roots in a rift in Al Qaeda following the 2003 Washington-led invasion of Iraq. In response to Trump's statement, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton noted at the time that US-backed militias retaken areas dominated by the Islamic State in Libya thanks to air strikes authorized by Obama.


Claim: Mail-in voting is rife with fraud

Fact: In a series of tweets on May 26, 2020, Donald Trump has claimed that mail-in voting is “substantially fraudulent” and that the ballots in California would go to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” Later that day, during a news conference, Trump repeated his claim and said that “people that aren't citizens, illegals, anybody that walks in California is gonna get a ballot.”

Truth: Justin Levitt, a professor at the Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and an expert in constitutional law and the law of democracy, reviewed U.S.

general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 to 2014 and found 31 incidents of voter fraud. According to him, in an article published on The Washington Post on August 6, 2014, in general, and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.

In an interview with CNN, Richard Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, said that while “absentee ballot fraud happens at relatively higher rates than other kinds of election fraud,” that overall rate is still “quite low.”

Twitter labeled Trump's tweets for containing “potentially misleading information” and added a “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” link below the president’s words.

In response, Trump has threatened to regulate or close down social media platforms which “silence conservative voices.”


Claim: Children are “almost immune” to coronavirus

Facts: In an interview with Fox News in August 2020 Trump said that children are “almost immune” to the coronavirus. “If you look at children, children are almost - and I would say definitely -, almost immune to this disease,” he said.

Truth: Trump shared on his Facebook account an excerpt from the interview with that statement, which led the social media platform to remove the post. “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone at the time.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts have stated that children are equally vulnerable to transmitting the virus.


Claim: New Jersey Muslims celebrated 9/11 attacks

Facts: During a campaign rally in November 2015, Trump claimed that “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the September 11, 2001 attacks and the collapse of the Twin Towers. “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering,” he said.

Truth: According to the Washington Post's fact-checking service, there is no record of people celebrating the September 11 attacks in New Jersey.

In 2015, Jersey City Mayor Democrat Steven Fulop tweeted that Trump's comments were false.


Claim: Paris accord meant the U.S. “were going to have to spend trillions of dollars”

Facts: Trump declared during a 2020 presidential debate against candidate Joe Biden that he made the U.S. leave the Paris accord by explaining: “We were going to have to spend trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly.” He added: “They did a great disservice. They were going to take away our business.”

Truth: The Paris accord to fight climate change is based on voluntary emission reductions. No nation was forced to do anything.