Chris Christie Isn't On Board With Fact-Checkers

by Maya Parthasarathy

Donald Trump surrogate and former opponent Chris Christie's latest theory is that Trump fact checkers have an agenda, he told Brian Williams after Monday's debate while defending the GOP presidential candidate. Williams pointed out that MSNBC has "pages and pages" of fact-checking memos about the debate, to which Christie promptly responded that Hillary Clinton not answering all of the questions debate moderator Lester Holt posed to her was "an honesty problem." He went on to claim that he was sure Trump had gotten "one or two facts wrong tonight," but that when Clinton made mistakes, "she's made those mistakes in office, which has cost the American people dearly."

Somehow, while trying to disparage Clinton, Christie managed to highlight the fact that she has experience holding political office — something Trump unarguably lacks. And unfortunately, for all of Christie's attempts to put the spotlight on Clinton for not being entirely truthful, Trump makes far more false statements than his opponent. When fact-checked for a week, Clinton told one untruth every 12 minutes, while Trump told one every 3.25 minutes, according to Politico.

We live in an age when pretty much everything is recorded, yet Christie and Trump seem to consistently forget this – perhaps because the public has allowed them to get away with false claims time and time again. Trump frequently backtracks on his previous statements. For example, he continues to insist that he did not support the war in Iraq, when evidence points to the contrary. Christie himself needs fact checking; he claimed Trump had not talked about President Obama's birthplace in years, while Trump only conceded he believes Obama was born in the United States in September.

The public now has the ability to fact check, and the power of the internet to reveal truths is not one to be underestimated. Christie isn't wrong that fact checkers have an agenda; as actor Wil Wheaton pointed out on Twitter, their agenda is to check facts. Still, Trump and his surrogates continue to insist that those who debunk Trump's inaccuracies are incorrect.

The inaccuracies don't end here. Trump and his supporters have frequently called out his opponents, particularly Clinton, for using tele-prompters. Hypocritically, Trump has used the devices himself, despite claiming earlier this year that he does not use tele-prompters. To make the situation even stranger, Christie called Clinton a "preprogrammed professional politician who can memorize sound bites," which would appear to mean she does not need a teleprompter to give speeches.

Clinton herself seems to have grown tired of Trump's misrepresentations of the truth. During Monday's debate, she jabbed back at Trump, saying, "Well Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts." Obviously she isn't the only one with "an honesty problem." If he wants to have a shot at the White House, Trump cannot continue to blatantly falsify his past.

At one point after the debate, Christie also called Trump "something very different versus the same old thing" in comparison to Clinton. If something very different means "less truthful," then count me out. I'd rather go for the same old thing.

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