Donald Trump has a known penchant for twisting facts, but does he invent them, too?
Trump tweeted on Sunday morning that he had a 40 percent approval rating among African Americans. He cited a “new Fox News poll” to validate his assertion.
“New Fox Poll shows a ’40 percent Approval Rating by African Americans for President Trump, a record for Republicans.’ Thank you, a great honor,” Trump tweeted.
But an investigation by journalists found that no such Fox News poll existed to corroborate Trump’s claim, according to Talking Points Memo.
“TPM found no evidence of poll results saying that. A Fox News poll released Oct. 17 showed 29 percent approval of the President among all non-white registered voters, and 47 percent overall approval among registered voters.”
Aaron Blake, who reports for the Washington Post, said that a daily tracking poll performed by Rasmussen showed a forty percent approval rating for Trump among blacks for a day. When Fox News was contacted about Trump’s assertion, the news organization claimed that Trump had indeed been referring to the Rasmussen poll, and had apparently cited the media company in his tweet by mistake.
“He is referencing a Rasmussen poll,” Fox News spokesperson Alexandra Coscia said.
But even if that was correct, observers claim that Trump has no right to cite Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll because of the company’s lack of transparency in declaring how they collect their data.
“Polling firms that have interviewed far more African Americans, and that are much more transparent than Rasmussen, all show that Trump’s black approval rating is much lower,” wrote political science professor Michael Tesler.
Trump’s assertion led to a prompt backlash by journalists on Twitter, with many rebuking the president for inventing a poll to suit his purposes.
Couldn’t find the poll he’s talking about. But a Fox News poll released on Oct. 17th shows Trump’s approval among non-white registered voters at 29%. Its 25% among non-white likely voters. https://t.co/lLNFJHrB7I pic.twitter.com/1gPcWhXwNb— Ryan Hutchins (@ryanhutchins) November 4, 2018
Counter-point: This poll does not exist https://t.co/sw8cDhFEmy— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 4, 2018
Trump has repeatedly asserted that he has a strong following among African Africans, a claim which has often been found lacking in substance. But more importantly, it is the timing of Trump’s tweet which could give us more clarity about his intentions. His claim comes a day after CNBC reported that Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said in a Vanity Fair interview that Trump had made racist remarks in his presence. Trump reportedly once told Cohen that “Black people are too stupid to vote for me”.
Cohen also said that once during the taping of his reality show The Apprentice, Trump had refused to help a black investment manager win by saying “There’s no way I can let this black f*g win.”
It is possible Trump’s tweet was in response to the negative stories surrounding his views on African Americans, but he should at least make sure his sources are factually correct.