Earlier this week, Donald Trump acted as if he’d found something new to brag about. Referring to himself in third person, the president wrote on Twitter, “New Poll says Trump, at over 90%, is the most popular Republican in history of the Party. Wow!”
In his interview with The Sun, the British tabloid, Trump repeated the claim, and this time, added Abraham Lincoln to the mix:
“You know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party – 92 per cent. Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe.”
Right off the bat, the obvious problem is that Lincoln was president before telephones were invented and were no polls in the 1860s. It’s difficult to gauge the precise popularity of the nation’s 16th president during his tenure in the White House, though it’s probably worth noting that Lincoln, unlike Trump, managed to receive more votes than his principal opponent.
Perhaps Trump meant that, among Republicans alive today, he enjoys more support than Lincoln? I suppose it’s possible, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support the claim, and it’s difficult to imagine Lincoln’s support among contemporary GOP voters being lower than 92%. (I’d also guess that among today’s Republicans, support for Reagan would be in the ballpark of 100%.)
But even if we put these pesky details aside, Trump is still wrong.
Historian Kevin Kruse noted last night that in the months following 9/11, George W. Bush’s support among Republican was consistently well above 92%, even reaching 99% in January 2002.
All of which is to say, Trump’s latest boast is wrong in every possible way. If recent history is any guide, he will nevertheless incorporate the bogus claim into his future campaign rallies, media appearances, and tweets, expecting everyone to simply play along.