December 17, 2019
Donald Trump's Claims About The Ukraine Phone Call Whistleblower Deemed 'Lie Of The Year' By 'PolitiFact'

Donald Trump's narrative about the whistleblower complaint of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been named "Lie of the Year" by PolitiFact. Other Trump statements have also received the "honor," making Donald Trump the first person whose statements have been deemed "Lie of the Year" more than once by the outlet.

On July 25, Trump made a phone call to Zelensky in which he reportedly urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden, purportedly in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that had been withheld — a quid pro quo, as it's come to be known.

An unidentified whistleblower filed a complaint about that phone call, and months later, Trump is facing impeachment in the House of Representatives — in a vote likely to take place tomorrow — over that complaint.

However, since the news of the whistleblower complaint broke, Trump has continued to push the narrative that the entire complaint is false, partisan, "completely made up," "totally untrue," and similar descriptors.

However, PolitiFact writer Katie Sanders notes that the facts seem to indicate that the key points of the whistleblower's complaint are true.

"We know this from the very record of the call the president released. We know this from testimony under oath from career diplomats and other officials. And the president and his allies have told reporters that Trump did what the whistleblower suggested," she writes.

The "Lie of the Year" designation, Sanders notes, isn't "awarded" to the lie that is the most ridiculous or outrageous. Rather, she says, it's given each year to the lie with the most dire consequences.

"The Lie of the Year — the only time PolitiFact uses the word 'lie' — speaks to a falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative," she adds.

According to a companion PolitiFact report, this is the third time a statement, or series of statements, by Donald Trump has been deemed Lie of the Year. He "won" the honor in 2015 not for any one statement, but for the collective entirety of his campaign statements, which demonstrated "range, boldness, and a disregard for the truth." He also "won" in 2017 for his narrative that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a "made-up story."

Other "winners" of the award include Barack Obama in 2013, who famously said, "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it," when that was, reportedly, far from true. The collective claim of Democrats in 2011 that "Republicans voted to end Medicare," when they purportedly did no such thing, was also a winner.