A lie from US President Donald Trump has been crowned “Lie of the Year” for a historic third time.
PolitiFact, a nonprofit US political fact-checking site, announced Monday that the award for 2019 goes to Trump’s claim that the anonymous whistleblower reported his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky “almost completely wrong.” Trump’s conduct and requests on that call are now at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
Since the Sept. 26 release of the whistleblower complaint, the president has claimed more than 80 times that the complaint is “fake, fraudulent, incorrect, ‘total fiction,’ ‘made up,’ and ‘sooo wrong,’” PolitiFact reported.
Despite the president’s repeated insistence that the report was filled with lies, the anonymous whistleblower actually got the call “almost completely” right, the fact-checking site’s managing editor, Katie Sanders, wrote.
“We know this from the very record of the call the president released. We know this from testimony under oath from career diplomats and other officials. And the president and his allies have told reporters that Trump did what the whistleblower suggested — urged the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.”
In a video announcement featuring the site’s executive director, Aaron Sharockman, and Sanders, Sharockman explained that each December they selected the “most significant falsehood of the calendar year.”
“This is something that... makes you angry, it’s kind of ridiculous, it threatens democracy, it’s something so significant that we want to reflect on it and hopefully avoid it in the future,” he said.
“Lie of the Year” is the only time the site will use the word “lie.”
The distinction with the claim that receives the award is that it proves to be of genuine consequence and undermines an accurate narrative, Sanders explained.
The president’s lies have claimed the No. 1 spot twice before ― once in 2015 for his collective campaign trail falsehoods, which the site described as exhibiting “range, boldness and a disregard for the truth,” and once in 2017 for claiming Russian election interference is a “made-up story.”
Trump is the only person to have ever won the award more than once, according to the site. Previous lie-perpetrators included then-President Barack Obama in 2013, presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 and Democrats in 2011.