Enormous Lies Told By Presidents of The Past
The polarized world of politics we live in today has created endless stories and claims about how President Trump has lied to voters. It is not hard at all to quickly find dozens of such articles, posts, and tweets.
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At times, it seems that we fail to remember the astonishing (and damaging) lies that were told by the Presidents that came before President Trump. Many Trump allies and supporters blame all the falsehoods of these previous presidents for diminishing overall trust in the oval office.
Let us revisit some of the biggest lies told by past presidents, beginning with the most recent:
Barrack Obama — (2007–2013)
“If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”
President Obama repeated this claim over and over again starting during his first presidential campaign. Of course, most of us remember the effects of this lie. Millions of Americans lost their health care plans and their doctors after Obamacare was rolled out¹.
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George W. Bush — (2003)
“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
President Bush was determined to get Congress to sanction an invasion into Iraq. He made countless allegations against Iraq — including that they were allied with Al-Qaida. Bush’s biggest and most popular allegation was that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
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After the invasion, we learned that these allegations were false. And perhaps the worst modern-day presidential decision ever made was based on lies².
Bill Clinton — (January 1998)
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Clinton’s famous quote still echoes in the ears of many Americans. And as we now know, he did have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky and admitted this in August of the same year. This led to his impeachment³.
George H.W. Bush — (1988)
“Read my lips: no new taxes.”
George H.W. Bush made this promise during the Republican National Convention in 1988. And he continued making this promise during his campaign.
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But as president in 1990, he was pressured to make a budget deal with the Democrats and went against his promise by allowing a hike in taxes. This was a big reason why he was a one-term president⁴.
Ronald Reagan — (1986)
“We did not, I repeat, did not trade weapons or anything else [to Iran] for hostages, nor will we.”
President Reagan made this claim to Americans in 1986. Some four months later, he admitted that the United States did what he had earlier denied⁵.
Richard Nixon — (November 1973)
“I am not a crook!”
Richard Nixon made this claim while denying any involvement in the looming Watergate scandal. Less than a year later, in August 1974, he ultimately resigned after audio recordings indicated that he was involved⁵.
Lyndon B. Johnson — (1964)
“We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
Lyndon B. Johnson made this claim repeatedly throughout the 1964 Presidential Campaign. As we now know, the United States went to war in Vietnam and did exactly what LBJ promised wouldn’t happen⁶.
John F. Kennedy — (1961)
“There will not be, under any conditions, be an intervention in Cuba by United States armed forces.”
President Kennedy made this comment during an interview in 1961 amid rising concerns with Russia’s growing influence in Cuba. Just five days later, American operatives invaded the shores of Cuba⁷.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960)
President Eisenhower denied that a United States spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. (No direct quote was available).
This turned out to be a lie as the Soviets produced the American pilot, Francis Powers. Eisenhower later admitted lying about this story but refused to apologize to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a Paris peace Conference⁸.
Franklin D. Roosevelt — (1940)
“I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
During the Presidential campaign of 1940, President Roosevelt made this promise to voters. The American people were very concerned about the United States joining the conflict in Europe against the Germans.
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However, FDR already knew that the US would eventually join the war. He and Winston Churchill were already making plans for that inevitability⁹.
Abraham Lincoln — (1860–1865)
“My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”
Abraham Lincoln made several claims like this before and during the Civil War. Many people depict Lincoln as going to war as a fierce opponent against slavery. Historical records do not support this depiction¹⁰.
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According to theologian James H. Cone in his book, Black Theology & Black Power, the history we are taught about Abraham Lincoln are outright lies¹¹. Cone writes, “Whatever may have been the motives of Abraham Lincoln and other white Americans for launching the war, it certainly was not on behalf of black people.”
Cone goes on to state, “If that quotation (the quote above) still leaves his motives unclear, here is another one which should remove all doubts regarding his thoughts about black people.”:
“I will say then that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and interior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
: James Bovard. (December 18, 2017). How quickly NY Times forgets Obama’s lies and frauds. https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/365393-how-quickly-ny-times-forgets-obamas-lies-and-frauds
: David Corn. (November 5, 2003). Top Ten Bush Lies. https://www.attackonamerica.net/george-w-bush/toptenlies/
: CBS News. (2020). Infamous political lies. https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/infamous-political-lies/3/
: Phillip Klein. (December 1, 2018). How George H.W. Bush’s broken ‘no new taxes’ pledge changed American politics and policy forever. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/how-george-h-w-bushs-broken-no-new-taxes-pledge-changed-american-politics-and-policy-forever
: CBS News. (2020). Infamous political lies. https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/infamous-political-lies/
: Kent Germany. Lyndon B. Johnson: Foreign Affairs. https://millercenter.org/president/lbjohnson/foreign-affairs
: JFK Library. (April 12, 1961). News Conference 9, APRIL 12, 1961. https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-press-conferences/news-conference-9
: The Week. (May 5, 2014). Today in history: A president lies. https://theweek.com/articles/447245/today-history-president-lies
: Daryl Austin. (March 14, 2019). Our Long History Of Presidential Lies. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/our-long-history-of-presidential-lies/
: Cassidy Hall. (July 30, 2019). Killing White Lies: Abraham Lincoln. https://cassidyhall.com/2019/07/30/whitelies/
: James H. Cone. (1969). Black Theology and Black Power.