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Trump’s Followers Believe His Lies About the Wall

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On Monday night, President Donald Trump held a rally in El Paso, Texas. He chose the location based on his claim, delivered in last week’s State of the Union address, that a border wall had rescued the city from rampant crime. By the time Trump arrived, fact-checkers had demolished this lie, pointing out that the wall had no effect. But Trump told his followers to dismiss the numbers and trust him instead. And they did, because this is a measurable fact about Trump supporters: They’re willing to reject all other sources of information—crime statistics, intelligence agencies, even conservative media—when the president tells them to do so.

Trump first told his lie a month ago. “A wall was put up,” he said, and El Paso “went from being one of the most dangerous cities in the country to one of the safest cities in the country overnight.” Law enforcement data showed that every part of this statement was false: El Paso hadn’t been dangerous, its long-term decline in crime mirrored declines in nonborder cities, and crime in the city didn’t fall—in fact, it leveled off from what had been a trend downward—after a border fence was built there.

Fact-checkers laid out these numbers for the president. He ignored them. In his State of the Union address, he repeated the falsehood. On Monday, after Fox News debunked it, he instructed his fans in El Paso to reject the official figures. “I spoke to people that have been here a long time,” Trump told the crowd. “They said when that wall went up, it’s a whole different ballgame.” Having substituted his alleged anecdotes for data—Trump, the crusader against anonymous quotes, named........

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