NBC reporter Peter Alexander corrected President Donald Trump during a press conference Thursday after the president again made a false claim about his Electoral College victory margin.
The press conference was called to tout the president’s choice of attorney Alexander Acosta for the role of labor secretary, but it devolved into a meandering tirade against the press. Russia dominated the questions, but Trump also found a way to brag about his victory over Hillary Clinton, falsely claiming the margin, 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, was the biggest since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 win. In fact, Barack Obama won more electoral votes in 2008 and 2012, Bill Clinton won more in 1992 and 1996 and George H.W. Bush won more in 1988.
Alexander, a correspondent for NBC News, sought to correct Trump on those figures, and pressed him to explain how he could call reporting by outlets like The New York Times and CNN “fake news” while using inaccurate figures himself.
“Why should Americans trust you?” asked Alexander.
“I was given that information,” Trump said, cutting Alexander off. “I don’t know. I was just given it. We had a very, very big margin.”
“Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive of being fake, when you provide information that’s not accurate?” Alexander asked.
“I was given that information,” said Trump. “Actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?”
“You’re the president,” Alexander replied.
Trump has repeatedly described his victory over Clinton as a “historic” and “massive” landslide. That’s not the case. His Electoral College victory actually ranks 46th out of 58 presidential elections. He lost the popular vote to Clinton by about 2.8 million votes.
Despite repeated debunkings, Trump continues to make false claims about the election. On Wednesday, he responded to a question about the rise of anti-Semitism by bragging about his win.
“Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had: 306 Electoral College votes,” Trump said Wednesday. “We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221, but then they said there’s no way to 270.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of previous presidential elections. This story has also been updated to include more information about past Electoral College victory margins.
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