President Donald Trump was questioned by a reporter on Tuesday concerning his unsubstantiated belief that Middle Eastern people were among those in the caravan that’s traveling to the United States-Mexico border. “They could very well be,” Trump responded, entertaining the idea less concretely but still holding onto it without proof.


The reporter continued to question Trump’s claim, citing the milquetoast response from Trump’s White House that did little to back him up. “There’s no proof of anything,” Trump exclaimed. “There’s no proof of anything. But they could very well be.” Trump has also accused Democrats of supporting this caravan, claiming they would use it to improve their performance during the upcoming midterm elections.

Trump has often antagonized the media, accusing companies like Google of “suppressing” conservatives’ voices and reporters of misrepresenting him and his administration. But, as The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake explains, the nature of reporters — who are taught to seek the truth — clashes with Trump, who is less than invested in being truthfull.


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Citing Trump’s “no proof” comment as the latest example, Blake discusses the ecosystem Trump and his administration have curated for his supporters, one where they are conditioned to question the media. Kellyanne Conway‘s famous usage of the phrase “alternative facts” was pivotal in building this environment, and subsequent comments, like Trump’s “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” only serving to reinforce it.

According to the Washington Post, Trump has made more than 5,000 documented dishonest claims since becoming president and they have increased in their heavy-handedness. And while other politicians do lie, Trump knows to use his. According to an interview with the Daily Beast, a senior official affirms that Trump’s staff is well-aware that his claim is not true. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 percent accurate,” the official said. “This is the play.”

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