'Facts' According to Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate at Fox The
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate at Fox Theatre, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Donald Trump, his supporters proudly declare, tells it like it is.

So what, exactly, is "it"?

Muslim throngs celebrating 9/11? Black-on-white crime? Hordes of rapists from Mexico?

Trump's politics, and his qualifications to be president, are subjects I'll leave to the pundits and the voters. But facts are supposed to be a reporter's strong suit. When we get them wrong, and I've done it on occasion, it's pointed out on the corrections page. We also keep facts on-hand to check against the versions of reality presented to us by public officials, and by those seeking to replace them.

Here are some of Trump's greatest hits:

He told an audience in Alabama last November, and has repeated it many times since, that he saw "thousands and thousands of people," most or all them them Muslims, cheering in Jersey City after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The video that Trump was presumably referring to doesn't exist, because, as numerous researchers have found, the mass celebrations never happened. But they were part of Trump's rationale for his subsequent proposal to prohibit Muslims from immigrating to the United States, until the government "can figure out what's going on." Whenever that might be.

Also in November, the day after some of his supporters kicked and punched a black activist at a rally, Trump tweeted a chart of figures from the "Crime Statistics Bureau - San Francisco." They said, among other things, that of all the whites killed in the U.S., 81 percent were killed by blacks and 16 percent by whites.

In fact, according to FBI figures for 2014, 15 percent of whites were killed by blacks and 82 percent by other whites. And the "Crime Statistics Bureau - San Francisco" doesn't exist.

In his campaign announcement speech last June, Trump said Mexico was "sending people that have lots of problems" to the United States. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."

The assertion is unsupported by official reports or any other documented evidence. Despite some high-profile individual cases, like the pending murder charge against an unauthorized immigrant for the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle on the San Francisco waterfront, illegal migrants have not been charged with or convicted of violent crimes at higher rates than the general population. One study by the American Immigration Council, citing government statistics, of males aged 18 to 39 found that immigrants, legal and illegal, were imprisoned for violent crimes at about half the rate of non-immigrants.

Trump has frequently repeated his claim while declaring that as president, he would build an impregnable wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and get the Mexican government to pay for it.

Responding to government reports of the unemployment rate dropping below five percent, Trump has said several times that the actual rate was probably as high as 35 percent, and he's heard it was 42 percent.

But even counting all non-disabled adults who gave up looking for work or took part-time employment, the jobless rate is below 10 percent, according to the best data available. Including other adults who conceivably could seek employment brings the rate to around 15 percent.

Trump, who regularly describes journalists as "the worst people I've ever met," has nonetheless denied making some specific insults. Most prominently, after Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked him at a debate in August about calling some women "fat pigs" and "dogs," Trump told an interviewer that he could see "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her... wherever." Asked later about the obvious reference to menstrual blood, Trump said he had meant blood was coming out of Kelly's nose.

In a later incident, Trump's account of the post-9/11 Muslim celebration was disputed by a New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who has a chronic disability limiting the movement of his arms. At a rally shortly afterward, Trump referred disparagingly to Kovaleski while flopping his arms around. After the Times expressed outrage, Trump denied mocking Kovaleski and accused him of "using his disability to grandstand."

Trump's adventures with the truth have been well-covered elsewhere. But they seemed newly pertinent recently when he referred to rival Ted Cruz as "the single biggest liar I've ever seen" after Cruz's campaign was caught fabricating a statement by another presidential hopeful, Marco Rubio.

Some clichés came to mind about pots and kettles, and taking a look in the mirror. But maybe a better metaphor would be Jesse Owens calling a rising track star the best young sprinter he'd ever seen. Or Ella Fitzgerald saying the same about an aspiring vocalist. Or Albert Einstein about a theoretical physicist.

Consider it a tribute from the master.