Donald Trump has become known for using his public platform to make blatantly false or misleading claims, more than 5,000 of them according to a Washington Post count, but he also frequently laces his speeches with anecdotes that may or may not be true — but can never be verified. One of his favorites, according to Toronto Star Washington bureau chief Daniel Dale, is his often-repeated story about “big, strong men” who approach him and break down in tears, overcome with emotion at the greatness of Trump.
Dale, in the Toronto Star article last month, listed several such instances, starting with a tale told by Trump at a campaign rally in early September, in Evansville, Indiana. At that rally, Trump claimed, he was greeted by nine “miners” whom he described as “tough guys… seriously tough cookies.”
But, Trump added, eight of the nine “tough guys” were bawling their eyes out, “Crying out of happiness,” Trump said, “because they’re back.”
“I looked at the ninth guy, I said, what’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you crying?” Trump continued, according to an Evansville Courier and Press transcript. “‘I don’t cry, sir.’ I said, that’s okay.”
Trump’s final statement also highlighted another claim that Dale has pointed out in numerous “Sir Alerts” on his Twitter account, namely, that almost everyone who talks to him addresses him as “sir.”
“We can say that he is making some of (these stories) up. About the others, we can say that a curious number of people sure seem to be bursting into grateful tears in Trump’s presence,” Dale wrote. “The crying characters in Trump’s stories tend to share three characteristics: they are male, they are ‘tough’ or ‘strong,’ and they do not have names.”
On Saturday, Dale updated his article via his Twitter account, with new versions of the “nameless, crying tough guy” story told by Trump since October 1.
• At a rally in Macon, Georgia, on November 4, Trump said that when he came into the arena, he was greeted by “a very, very powerful guy, a big strong guy, with tears coming down his face.” Trump claimed that “this happens all the time. Thank you tears. Tears!”
• At a Johnson, Tennessee, rally on October 1, Trump claimed, “I saw one tonight, came up to me, a man, strong, tough cookie. I wouldn’t want to fight him, OK? And he said, ‘Mr. President’ — he’s crying — ‘thank you for saving our country.’ So many people say that.”
• In Murphysboro, Illinois, on October 27, Trump claimed that he was approached by two steelworkers, “big, strong guys.” One of them, Trump said, “was crying. I don’t think he cried when he was a baby. This guy never cried.” As in the Tennessee story, this “steelworker” told Trump, “Thank you, sir, for saving our country.”
Trump has been telling tales of weeping tough guys since early in his term. In a May, 2017, CBS News interview, he said, “In one case, I won’t say who, somebody you know very well, the head of a major major company. I said, ‘Have you been to the White House before?’ ‘Yes, 51 times.’ I said, ‘Oh good, so you’ve been to the Oval Office.’ ‘No, I was never brought to the Oval Office.’ I said, ‘Come on, I’ll bring you to the Oval Office.’ The person came into the Oval Office and started to cry. This is a tough person by the way.”