Alt-Facts of the Year

President Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway used the phrase ‘alternatuve facts’ to describe the administration’s perspective on crowd sizes at the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
President Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway used the phrase ‘alternatuve facts’ to describe the administration’s perspective on crowd sizes at the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

A is for Alabama, and the small corner of it that someone in the White House included — via Sharpie — in a drawing of Hurricane Dorian’s path to legitimize the president’s false statement that the state was going to be hit hard.

B is for William Barr and his testimony to Congress that he hadn’t heard complaints from "members of the special counsel's team" over his summary of Robert Mueller’s report, even though he heard from Mr. Mueller.


C is for Constitution, and the myth that the Republican Party respects it. For the third time in our nation’s history, a president has been impeached, yet Senate Republicans have already signaled they won’t so much as fake a fair trial.

D is for deficit and lack of concern the GOP showed for it, despite its elimination once being a rallying cry for the party, as members agreed to raise spending by $300 billion in a two-year bipartisan budget deal.


E is for environmentalist and President Donald Trump’s claims to be one, telling reporters that “from Day One, my administration has made it a top priority to ensure that America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet.”

F is for the federal appeals court in which a Department of Justice lawyer claimed the Trump administration had no obligation to provide soap and toothbrushes to detained immigrant children fleeing their home countries.

G is for Rudy Giuiliani and his claim during a CNN appearance that he “never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign.”

H is for history, and the president’s manipulations of it, claiming to be “the most transparent president,” to have "enacted the biggest tax cut” and created "the greatest economy” in U.S. history. Nope, nope and nope.

I is for Iran and the president’s insistence that we gave the country “$150 billion” and “got nothing” in return. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action led to the release of around $50 billion of Iran's frozen assets, and in return, Iran agreed not to build a nuclear bomb.

J is for Boris Johnson and Mr. Trump’s mistaken belief they were bros — dashed after Mr. Johnson took part in a gossip circle that made fun of the American president.

K is for Kellyanne Conway, the original alt-factor who showed again this year how good she is when she told CNN she didn’t “know whether [Ukraine] aid was being held up and for how long.”

L is for Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed Lexus lanes, which happened to get a perfect score of 500 in a state project ranking system, while the Baltimore Red Line got a 1.45, revealing the scoring to be a bunch of baloney.

M is for Melania Trump, whom the White House had to acknowledge had never met North Korea’s leader after her husband said she “has gotten to know Kim Jong Un and I think she would agree with me he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.”

N is for wind power noise, which the president claimed causes cancer. Need we say more?

O is for the Oval Office address, in which Mr. Trump falsely claimed MS-13 gang members murdered a 16-year-old girl in Maryland.

P is for Prince Charles, who spent 90 minutes explaining climate change to Mr. Trump only to have the U.S. president sum the lesson up as “a change in the weather” that “changes both ways.”


Q is for the citizenship question that’s since been banned from the 2020 census and GOP claims that it was anything other than an attempt to undercount immigrants.

R is for Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, who claimed Baltimore City schools get more state funding than any other jurisdiction. They don’t; Prince George’s County schools do.

S is for the Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary and President Trump’s pattern of making false claims about the attacks, like this one made on the 18th anniversary, when he said he watched “thousands and thousands” of people cheer on television as the second tower fell. Never happened.

T is for tariffs, which President Trump loves to say are paid by Chinese producers, when really it’s U.S. consumers who bear the burden

U is for the USS John McCain, which the White House tried to make disappear during the president’s visit to Japan by putting a tarp over its name so Mr. Trump wouldn’t see it.

V is for Vladimir Putin, whom President Trump claimed “outsmarted President Obama” by invading Crimea and getting ousted from what was then the G-8. How is that outsmarting?

W is for war veteran Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, whom Republicans tried to denigrate as a secret Ukraine loyalist.

X is for xenophobic and racist, which Mr. Trump again revealed himself to be when he told four American politicians of color to “go back” to their home countries, despite three of them having been born here.

Y is for yield curve, an inverted version of which in August suggested a recession on the horizon and revealed the lie in President Trump’s tweet that “our economy is the best in the world, by far.”

Z is for Volodymyr Zelensky, and the president’s claim that a phone call with the new Ukrainian president seeking to dig up dirt on political rival Joe Biden in exchange for aid was “perfect.”

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