President Trump is holding 11 rallies in eight states over the final week before Election Day, ramping up a schedule that has already seen him shake up plenty of campaign closing strategies with unexpected claims and pronouncements. And the more Trump speaks, the more fact-checkers have to scramble in a Sisyphean effort to keep up. “Misinformation — false statements, misleading statements and, yes, lies — keep tumbling from the mouth of President Trump,” says The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple (headline: “Trump has fact-checkers gasping for air”).
In The New York Times, Peter Baker and Linda Qiu break down Trump’s trouble telling the truth on the campaign trail: “In the past couple of weeks alone, the president has spoken of riots that have not happened, claimed deals that have not been reached, cited jobs that have not been created and spun dark conspiracies that have no apparent basis in reality. He has pulled figures seemingly out of thin air, rewritten history and contradicted his own past comments.”
Add to that list Trump’s puzzling promise of a new middle-class tax cut this year. At an October 22 rally in Texas, Trump said that a 10 percent cut was "going to be put in next week," a claim that was obviously problematic. On Wednesday, Trump and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, issued a joint statement acknowledging that nothing was happening in the impossibly speedy timeframe Trump indicated. “We are committed to delivering an additional 10 percent tax cut to middle-class workers across the country,” the statement said. “And we intend to take swift action on this legislation at the start of the 116th Congress.”
Trump’s pledge was always vague at best. The president indicated on October 22 that some sort of resolution would be put forth within two weeks, even as lawmakers were scheduled to be out of session until after the elections. And though he said that the tax cuts wouldn’t add to the deficit, neither he nor the White House provided details about how that might be accomplished. “We are analyzing the possible avenues that could achieve the tax relief with revenue neutrality, and we look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Brady and Congress on this important issue,” a spokesperson for Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, told the Examiner.
In an interview with Fox Business, Brady defended Trump and his promise. “Really what the president was referring to — and I wish some of his critics would have just simply asked — what he was talking about was when best do we introduce either the bill or a nonbinding resolution laying out our commitment, as Republicans, to doing that,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner. (That’s not what Trump said.) Brady also indicated that a symbolic, nonbinding resolution may not get a vote this year. “Common sense tells you this is something that, as Republicans retain the House and Senate, that we’ll advance in the new Congress,” he said. If Democrats win control of the House in next week’s elections, Brady would no longer lead the Ways and Means Committee and Trump’s proposed middle-class tax cut may never happen.
Asked by ABC News’s Jonathan Karl on Wednesday whether he’s kept a 2016 campaign promise to never lie, Trump said he tries. “I always want to tell the truth," Trump said. “When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that’s different or there’s a change, but I always like to be truthful.”