Opinion

Donald Trump’s trouble with numbers

President Donald Trump (AP photo)
President Donald Trump (AP photo)

I thought I was bad at math but President Trump is even worse. How else can you explain his pronouncement that “4,000 known or suspected terrorists were stopped at the southern border last year” when, oopsie, we now know the number was…6.

I mean, maybe he carried the 1?

Trump has a terrible time with numbers, which is perhaps the only thing we have in common. For instance, I’m irrationally impressed when I watch “Law & Order” reruns and Handy Witness tells the cops he spotted the assailant from “approximately 45 yards away.” How can he possibly know that? Yet, the Law & Order cop nods solemnly and dutifully scribbles “45 yards” in his tiny notebook.

I’m TERRIBLE (and so is Trump), at gauging distances. I blame my Southern upbringing because we were taught a particularly useless method of measurement often involving the phrase: “you know how far it is from here to the Holiness Church? Not the fire-baptized one, the freewill one…”

Trump can’t get any numbers right. His claim that the Obama’s have a “10-foot fence” around their new D.C. home is off by, well, 10 feet.

When he demands $5.7 billion to construct a 2,000-mile-long steel fence, we should all be plenty nervous because he’s hauled off and ciphered on his own again. It’s why he still thinks he won the popular vote. Also mayo has no calories.

Trump’s inability to understand basic math extends to his personal stats. When he touts a doctor’s report he weighs 239 pounds, it’s because that is a number not unlike a real number so what’s the big deal? Again, I can relate. I tell everyone I’m 5 feet, 4 inches tall. Even if they don’t ask, I just randomly tell people this, which now that I see in print, sounds more than a little crazy.

I’m not 5’4” but it sounds alliterative and works better for my BMI, which is a number that most people learn about in January and then don’t think about again for a year.

Trump is so math deficient, his statistics are never reliable. As long as we understand that, it should keep us calm with a nice 30 over 20 blood pressure.

Because of his many math discrepancies over the past two years, I’ve realized that Trump’s bombastically inflated estimate on crowd size at his inauguration was most likely just an honest mistake. Just as he has done repeatedly with statistics on immigrant crime rates and lovers who have praised his prowess, he’s just guessing at the true number because he has no idea.

Math phobics like Trump and me love stats that stack things like cheeseburgers up to the moon or can be measured in football fields. I can’t get enough of “if you laid a billion Russian hookers end to end they’d fill up Yankee Stadium but would also be super uncomfortable” kinds of fun math facts.

One number we know is true: There are now more Dems in the House than Republicans. Ruh-roh.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

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