How to count with Donald Trump
Donald Trump knows a lot of numbers. Some “very big,” some “catastrophically low,” others “staggering” or just plain “ridiculous.”
Much has been made of the president’s rhetorical style, which by his own admission relies heavily on hyperbole. But it’s especially apparent when he delves into math and analytics. Trump rarely gives data without attaching descriptors that tell us exactly how to feel about that data. Often when he’s talking about numbers, he ditches specifics altogether, in favor of superlatives.
Great numbers on the economy. All of our work, including the passage of many bills & regulation killing Executive Orders, now kicking in!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2017
People are pouring into Washington in record numbers. Bikers for Trump are on their way. It will be a great Thursday, Friday and Saturday!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
In several instances, Trump has even acknowledged concealing exact details from his audience. During his campaign, this became a recurring trope whenever he was discussing insurance premiums. “I know the number. I will not tell you,” Trump said at a rally in Iowa. “I never do this with any of the groups; I don’t say the number, because it’s so depressing.”
In a sense, Trump has created his own nebulous numeric system that employs adjectives in lieu of traditional numerals. To illustrate, we’ve created this compilation of the president counting from “a negative number” to “the biggest number ever,” in his exuberant if imprecise style.