President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump keeps pulling the same trick because it keeps working

Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration is still three weeks away, but the president-elect desperately wants Americans to believe he’s already racking up enormous successes – just as long as the public doesn’t look too closely at the details, which show his accomplishments are actually a mirage.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 12/28/16, 9:41 PM ET

Taking credit where credit is NOT due

Vice President Biden’s Former Economic Advisor Jared Bernstein talks to Ari Melber about how Trump is trying to take credit for job growth when his policies could very well undermine his constituents.
Late yesterday, for example, Politico published this piece, which said exactly what the Republican transition team wanted to see.
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the creation of 8,000 new private-sector jobs in the United States, including 5,000 that he says telecommunications company Sprint Corp. will be bringing back from “other countries.”

“We just had some very good news,” Trump told the transition press pool. “Because of what is happening and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States. They have taken them from other countries.”
In the same “announcement,” Trump boasted that he’s learned that a company called OneWeb was adding an additional 3,000 jobs – because of, you know, “what is happening and the spirit and the hope.”

The trouble, as Politico acknowledged soon after, is that Trump was pulling a scam he’s leaned on many times: those new jobs were announced months ago. The president-elect wanted credit for others’ work, hoping the public – and news organizations – wouldn’t notice.

If the trick sounds familiar, it’s because this wasn’t the first time Trump has executed the scam.

It began in earnest just 10 days after Election Day, when Trump boasted that, thanks to his amazing work, Ford had agreed to keep a Lincoln SUV plant in Kentucky. There was just one detail he neglected to mention: Ford hadn’t intended to close the Kentucky plant. Trump was either trying to deceive the public or he was bragging about an economic decision he didn’t understand and had nothing to do with.

Two weeks later, Trump announced he’d reached an agreement with Carrier, which initially sounded great, but which was far less encouraging upon closer inspection. Trump exaggerated the number of jobs saved, rewarded a company with taxpayer money that was closing a plant and shipping jobs to Mexico, and fudged the facts about how many of the saved jobs will be eliminated anyway.

By early December, Trump was claiming credit for Softbank hires that had been announced months earlier. (This was an extension of the news he also announced yesterday. He’s claimed credit the same jobs multiple times, despite having nothing to do with them.)

A week later, Trump supporters eagerly credited the president-elect for IBM’s plan to expand its workforce, despite the fact that the company’s hiring announcement was initially made in May – seven months before the presidential election.

Team Trump keeps pulling the scam in part to mislead people, but also because it keeps having the intended effect. The president-elect will tell reporters, as he did yesterday, about some encouraging economic development, which news organizations quickly pass along to the public – before the media realizes that he’s trying to pull a fast one.

The moral of the story should be obvious: stop taking Donald Trump’s claims at face value. This guy has a nasty habit of making untrue, self-aggrandizing claims, which he’ll keep doing so long as his deceptions are rewarded.


Donald Trump

Trump keeps pulling the same trick because it keeps working