President Donald Trump helped make the phrase “fake news” part of our daily vocabulary. To put it very generously, the spirit of this phrase is for everyone to be more critical of what they hear about the world.
It’s ironic, then, that so many people believe fake news when it comes to Trump himself. As his fame and power has grown, so have the fake facts that so many people just assume are true.
Wondering how to separate Trump from all that fake news around him? Here’s our breakdown of the biggest fake facts about Donald Trump you always thought were true.
Fake: Trump has a solid gold toilet
The idea that Trump has gold toilets is pretty wild when you think about it. And that idea comes from (what else?) a meme that surged in popularity during the 2016 election.
It’s not hard to see the criticism here. The meme implies that Trump is so rich and out of touch with the common man that even his toilets are made of gold. And while you can certainly argue that wealth makes it difficult for someone to understand the struggles of other people, there is no evidence that Trump has a gold toilet in his homes, jet, or the White House.
So, what’s up with the gold toilet in the meme? That’s real enough, but it belongs to another wealthy man: Lam Sai-Wing, a jeweler from Hong Kong. The closest the Donald has to something like this is a gold-plated sink in his personal jet.
However, it is true that when Trump asked the Guggenheim Museum to borrow a Van Gogh painting to display in the White House, the museum offered him a gold toilet instead.
Fake: Trump’s hair is not real
No celebrity since William Shatner has been accused of wearing fake hair as much as Donald Trump. And to be fair, there are quite a few pictures of his unflattering hair in the wind that might make someone think it has to be fake.
It’s easy to go down the hair conspiracy rabbit hole as you look at those photos. Is it hair plugs? A toupee? Or something else entirely? As it turns out, his trademark ‘do is 100% natural.
First of all, Trump has been rocking the same basic hairstyle since the 1980s. This isn’t a case of an aging person adopting a weird style to cover up their hair loss.
Second, Trump’s former hairdresser from The Apprentice, Amy Lasch, confirmed his hair is real. “He has really long hair and he combs it back straight. He does it himself. It is real and it is his hair. He doesn’t have plugs,” she told The Mirror in 2018. She also revealed, “He used a spray with a stickiness to hold it in place.”
We know what you’re thinking: wouldn’t someone on Trump’s payroll lie to make him look better? Well, Lasch is no longer his hairdresser and has previously criticized his behavior with women as “chauvinist” and overall “inappropriate.” If she had tea to spill about his hair, she would spill it!
Fake: Trump is a draft dodger
Every now and then, Trump can be his own worst enemy. That’s because much of what he says and does lends credence to rumors, even when those rumors turn out to be completely false.
That’s the case with the claim that Trump is a draft dodger. Various opponents and even allies have called Trump a draft dodger because he didn’t serve during the Vietnam War. But there is not much truth at the core of this claim.
In reality, Trump did register for Selective Service back in the ’60s. He received four deferments because he was a college student. The fifth time, he got a medical deferment because of bone spurs in his feet.
But Trump’s careless comments over the years (like when he told Howard Stern that dodging STDs was “Vietnam” for him) led to claims about the president being a draft dodger.
Fake: Donald Trump has always been a Republican
For better or worse, American voters generally disapprove of politicians who change their views. This was something that sunk 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Because Kerry had seemingly changed his mind about several issues over the years, he was branded as an inconsistent “flip-flopper” by his political rivals. This effectively destroyed his chances of becoming president.
President Trump has never had a reputation as a flip-flopper, though. Which is why most people believe that this Republican president has always been a conservative. Like most of these false facts, the truth is a bit murkier.
For example, Trump registered as a Republican back in 1987. But in 1999, he registered with the Independence Party of New York. Then, he registered as a Democrat in 2001. In 2009, he registered as a Republican once again. Then, in 2011, he switched to “no party affiliation” (an independent). And finally, he switched back to the Republican party in 2012.
In addition, more than half of Trump’s political donations between 1989-2009 went to Democrats, before he pivoted most of his donations to Republicans in 2010.
Trump may be many things, but “constant conservative” is not one of them.
Fake: Trump wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’
Trump is known for many things outside of politics. This ranges from his real estate empire to his insane business ventures like Trump University and even Trump Steaks. But the biggest aspect of his non-political reputation is that he is a savvy businessman.
And a lot of his reputation as a great negotiator comes from Trump’s bestselling 1987 book The Art of the Deal. That book helped cement Trump as a business guru to millions of people around the world.
Here’s the thing, though: he didn’t actually write it. Like many celebrity authors, Trump actually hired a ghostwriter. A man named Tony Schwartz followed Trump around and wrote the entirety of the book. And Schwartz would later become one of Trump’s biggest critics, saying that writing the book that helped make Trump popular is his greatest regret.
Fake: ‘The Apprentice’ was Trump’s idea
Outside of his presidency and his business empire, Trump is best known for hosting NBC’s reality competition show The Apprentice. He even became famous for his signature catchphrase: “You’re fired.”
Because the show redefined Trump as a celebrity and made him a household name once again, many people assume he came up with the idea for the show himself. In reality, Mark Burnett (the executive producer of Survivor) pitched the idea to Trump.
Despite having once called reality shows “for the bottom feeders of society,” according to The Washington Post, Trump loved Burnett’s idea for The Apprentice. Trump rode the success of the show and his soaring reputation all the way to the presidency.