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Historic Firsts Trump Claims To Have Achieved  

Sarah Blumert
10 items

While Donald Trump has certainly made some changes as president, he has occasionally made erroneous claims about his achievements, particularly regarding historical firsts. Many false claims made by Trump have reached substantial infamy, such as his assertion that the crowd present for his inauguration in January 2017 was the biggest ever. This was later proven to be false via aerial photos and past data. Some believe the things Trump said that aren't true are merely an aspect of his bombastic personality and his exaggerations are intentional and not meant to be taken 100% seriously. However, opponents classify the false information as deliberately misleading. Regardless of where you personally stand, being informed on the issue is important. 

The list of things Trump has lied about is varied. Often the topic is serious, such as when he boasted about unprecedented military action at the border, while other times the topic is less dire, such as claims about bolstering Stephen Colbert's ratings. There are also many things Trump claims he did for the first time in history, both major and minor, that have been done before, such as claims of historical achievements during his first days in office. To stay informed on the issue, read this chronological list with the most recent claims at the top. 

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Historically Low African American Unemployment Rates

During his 2018 State of the Union address, President Trump attempted to take credit for the record highs in African American employment. He had previously made such claims on Twitter (above) and also pointed out the decline in Hispanic unemployment rates

While Trump's claims of historical low African American unemployment rates were technically true, his words were met with much criticism and backlash. African American unemployment had been on the decline for the seven years leading up to Trump’s election and many saw the record low as a continuation of Obama-era reform. Some argued that, while African American unemployment rates did drop during the Trump presidency, it was not something Trump personally achieved. 

Using The Term "Priming Th... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Historic Firsts Trump Claims To Have Achieved
Photo: Dr. Marcus Gossler/WikiMedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
Using The Term "Priming The Pump" Metaphorically

When speaking with editors from The Economist in May 2017, Trump used the phrase “priming the pump.” This is a phrase commonly used to refer to a government taking action in attempt to stimulate economic growth. After using the term, Trump asked the interviewer if they had ever heard the phrase before. While the interviewer answered in the affirmative, Trump went on to say, "Because I haven't heard it. I mean, I just... I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It's what you have to do."

The Americans Heritage Idioms Dictionary traced the phrase back to the 1880s, when it was used in a literal sense and meant to pour liquid through a pump prior to use. By the 1930s, the term was used colloquially to mean stimulating economic growth, meaning Trump did not coin the term in 2017. 

Colbert's Highest Ratings ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Historic Firsts Trump Claims To Have Achieved
Photo:  CBS
Colbert's Highest Ratings To Date

When Trump was still a presidential candidate, he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2015 and the show’s ratings showed a distinct boost. Later, in a 2017 interview with TIME magazine, Trump claimed that, “when I did [Colbert’s] show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high—highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.”

While the viewership for Trump’s interview was very high, reaching 4.6 million people, he failed to surpass the numbers for Colbert’s debut on the show, which took place earlier in 2015. This debut garnered 6.6 million viewers.

Most Productive Presidency In The First 10 Months

In November 2017, President Trump stated in a speech in St. Charles, MO, that, “There has never been a 10-month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished.” Stating various legislation, job creation, and the state of the stock market to support his claim, Trump declared that he was “the opposite of an exaggerator.” This sentiment was later reiterated through his Twitter (pictured above). 

Assessing early presidential accomplishment is not an exact science as it's not always immediately clear which actions will and will not lead to major changes. However, Trump fell behind several presidents in terms of certain numbers and figures. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed 76 laws during his first 100 days. Trump, by comparison, signed only 28 bills, much of which were minor bills and housekeeping bills. Six months into his presidency, Trump was only the eighth greatest among the postwar presidents in terms of job growth, with presidents such as Carter, Nixon, Johnson, and Clinton coming before him. Finally, Trump’s stock market gains were only ranked third among first term presidents.