Donald Trump Only Lied a Tiny Bit on Monday!

And now for something completely different: I’m going to defend Donald Trump. Sort of. This is a high-wire act, but I think I can pull it off.

Trump is getting flak for lying about a phone call from the president of Mexico. “As you know, the border was a tremendous problem and they’re close to 80 percent stoppage,” he said earlier this week. “Even the president of Mexico called me — They said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”

There was no phone call. However, this is from the original account in the Miami Herald:

Mexican officials, including Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, reached out to American counterparts and noted the presidents spoke about migration at the G20 in Hamburg last month. Pena Nieto spoke cited statistics about migration from Central American to Mexico declining significantly, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

Trump turned a face-to-face meeting into a phone call, because Trump is addicted to the proposition that other people always call him, not the other way around. But that’s it. By the standards of ordinary lies this rates about a 3, and by the standards of Trump lies it rates around 0.1. This is as close to the truth as he ever gets.

I guess that was a pretty meager defense, wasn’t it? In the end, I couldn’t quite do it. But I came close.

POSTSCRIPT: The only reason this matters is that Trump’s casual fib caused the Mexican president a lot of trouble. According to the Herald, “Mexican opposition legislators jumped on Trump’s account and complained about what sounded like a ‘secret phone call’ between the pair, and the idea of Pena Nieto praising Trump on migration.”

But I don’t imagine Trump cares about that.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate