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Trump stretches facts by claiming record successes during the "Greatest Witch Hunt" in US history



Fact Review of the Day

A historian says that the comparison of the Russia investigation with the witch trials in Salem is "hot air". And among the last 10 presidents, Mr. Trump has signed the second-lowest bills to become lawyer. This point in his term

THE FACTS

This requires context. [19659007] President Trump's claims of unjust persecution are an opinion – or at least a premature conclusion. But by quantifiable measures, investigating Russian voter interference in President Trump's election campaign is not the longest, least fruitful, or most damaging inquisition in American history.

The largest literal witch-hunts in American history, of course, were the trials and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, from 1692 to 1693, said Robert Thurston, a historian who published The Witch Hunts . "

The Trump-Russia investigation led by Special Adviser Robert S. Muller III" is nothing like a real witch hunt, "Mr. Thurston said. "No no no, twenty people were executed in Salem, nobody was executed in Muller, it's all hot air."

The Salem trials and witch hunts became popular metaphors for unjust political persecution in the 1930s, during industrial purges in the Soviet Union and allegations of communism in the United States.

When Senator Joseph R. McCarthy came to prominence in 1950, the Wisconsin Republican claimed in his speech "Enemies From Within" that he had received a list of 205 Communists working in the State Department. His subsequent campaign lasted four years and he was "unable to produce even an identified member of the Communist Party in the State Department," the New York Times wrote when Mr. McCarthy died.

By comparison, the Russia investigation lasted a year and led to five guilty pleas.

Overall, the McCarthy campaign touched 12,000 to 13,000 people. In 100 cases, the employees were pushed from their jobs, said the historian Ellen Schrecker.

In this sense, the Russia investigation is "not a witch hunt," said Ms. Schrecker, who has been exploring the era of McCarthyism for decades. She said the investigations in Russia, which angered Mr. Trump, had been opened "because of what his campaign had done, not because of his political beliefs."

The White House did not respond to a request for evidence of Mr. Trump's claim. He cited the "most successful first 17-month administration in US history." But in the past, the President has noted the number of laws he has signed, the deregulation and the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch before the Supreme Court.

Seventeen months after his presidency, Mr. Trump has signed the second-lowest bills among the past ten presidents, said Joshua Tauberer, the creator of GovTrack, a web-based law enforcement tool. (President Barack Obama had not signed the least in his first term.)

In terms of quality, Mr. Trump has introduced tax cuts and veterans' benefits. But he was largely unable to fulfill some of his best election promises, such as the adoption and replacement of the Affordable Care Act or the construction of a boundary wall.

Like Mr. Trump, a Supreme Court judge was confirmed in the early years of Obama's Presidency, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Sources: Interviews, GovTrack, The New York Times


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