There’s an old Saturday Night Live sketch which depicts a particular celebrity as being too dumb to know whether “2” was a number or a letter. That’s close to what comes to mind after having read a pair of recent tweets from Donald Trump which strongly suggests that he doesn’t know how numbers work on their most basic level, or indeed, even what numbers are.
Late on Wednesday night, when Trump was clearly engrossed in watching propaganda on Fox News instead of bothering to do the job for which he was illegitimately elected, he tweeted “46% of Americans think the Media is inventing stories about Trump & his Administration. Fox News. It is actually much worse than this!” The first part of the tweet is easy enough to understand: a fake news network put together a fake poll to try to make Trump look good. But the second part of Trump’s tweet is almost incomprehensible.
When Trump says it’s “much worse than this,” is he implying that the Fox News poll is wrong, and that even more Americans believe the media is inventing fake stories? Or does he honestly believe that this poll is saying 46% of Americans believe news stories about Trump are fake, therefore 46% of news stories about Trump are fake? He’s definitely saying the number is bigger than 46%. He has no idea what the 46% represents to begin with.
Earlier in the evening, Trump tweeted “”20,000 – 21,000 – 22,000 – 23,000 this year…FOUR one thousand milestones this year…” and then he ended it with the “…” without bothering to explain what he meant. Clearly he was trying to brag about the stock market going up. But is he even aware that the stock market went up by around 270% during President Obama’s eight years, and that it’s only gone up by around 20% in his first nine months? He’s nowhere close to being on a pace to match Obama’s growth. He also doesn’t seem to understand that 1000 points is a much smaller percentage growth in the 20,000 range than it was in the 7,000 range.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report