By Dick Polman
In honor of Donald Trump’s most towering achievement – no previous president can touch his talent for serial falsity – my pop quiz features only one question:
Which of these blatant falsities did Trump not utter in 2017? In other words, which lies are merely figments of my imagination (although he was fully capable of uttering all of them)?
You’ll find the answers at the bottom. No peeking!
1. “The overall audience was, I think, the biggest ever to watch an inauguration address, which was a great thing.”
2. It was “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
3. “The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.”
4. “[Mine] was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”
5. On terrorism: “Look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this?”
6. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”
7. “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism.”
8. “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.”
9. “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters.”
10. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski came “to Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
11. “Wacky Kirsten Gillibrand lowered herself to her knees while begging me for money, which was disgusting.”
12. “We’ve signed more bills - and I’m talking about through the Legislature – than any president, ever.”
13. “Frederick Douglass, who is getting recognition more and more, could’ve helped stop the Civil War but didn’t. Sad!”
14. The Republican tax bill “very very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”
15. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”
16. “We have to prime the pump ... Have you heard that (economic) expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just – I came up with it a couple of days ago.”
17. “The protesters in Charlottesville who are defending Southern heritage, some of them are probably bad people. But the Tiki torch industry is making some beautiful profits this year, believe me.”
18. “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.”
19. “Black homeownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country.”
20. “Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI.”
21. “I play golf when I’m not working hard and believe me, I’ve birdied more holes than Obama ever did.”
22. The Republican tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune, this thing - believe me. Believe me, this is not good for me.”
23. “Hillary Clinton gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States.”
24. “The FBI person really reports directly to the president of the United States.”
OK, Trump didn’t say #2 (although Sean Spicer did). He didn’t say #11 (although he said something similar). Nor did he say 13, 17 or 21 (but he probably thought them all).
Polman is a national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania.