Facts Matter: Trump's comment about Bloomberg's height falls short

  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at left among Democratic presidential candidates on stage before a debate Wednesday in Las Vegas, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at left among Democratic presidential candidates on stage before a debate Wednesday in Las Vegas, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/22/2020 5:23 PM

President Donald Trump has had a lot to say about the Democratic presidential candidates vying for the chance to face him in the November election. But a recent comment about candidate Mike Bloomberg comes up short.

"Mini Mike is a 5'4" mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians. No boxes please," the president said in a Twitter post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Bloomberg isn't that short, according to The Associated Press.

In December, Bloomberg's doctor said the former New York City mayor is 5 feet, 7 inches tall. At one time the height on his driver's license was listed at 5-foot-10 and during his term as mayor, the local newspapers offered various heights, from 5-foot-6 to just under 5-foot-8.

During a recent rally in North Carolina, Bloomberg said, "He calls me Little Mike and the answer is, 'Donald, where I come from we measure your height from your neck up.'"

Bloomberg didn't buy Greenland to irritate Trump

As Bloomberg makes headway in the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, he is the subject of an increasing amount of false information.

A story published online last week claimed Bloomberg had purchased the island of Greenland in order to enrage President Donald Trump, according to Snopes.com.

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The Borowitz Report article states, "In an apparently successful attempt to get under the skin of Donald Trump, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has purchased Greenland from Denmark." The report said Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen would not disclose he price but "indicated that it was an 'all-cash offer.'"

The story is fake and the Borowitz Report, written by Andy Borowitz, is a satirical column that publishes humorous content, Snopes said.

The recent column was a response to Trump's comments in August in which he expressed a desire to buy Greenland, Snopes said. Frederiksen said the territory was not for sale.

Borowitz had followed up those actual reports with a fake article claiming Denmark had offered to buy the U.S.

Teenage Buttigieg never arrested on a charge of killing dogs

Democratic presidential hopeful and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has had his name associated with numerous fake stories.

Recent false information shared on Twitter, including a photo of a teenage Buttigieg, a phony copy of a South Bend Tribune front page and the words, "Why won't anyone discuss this?," claims the candidate was arrested in 1998 for killing five dogs in South Bend, according to FactCheck.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A Twitter user who originated the false claim said he created the post as a "joke," FactCheck.org said. When another user asked where he found the article, the Twitter user replied, "In my web browser when I made it." Despite the admission, the fake post has been retweeted more than 2,000 times and has received more than 2,000 shares on Facebook.

The South Bend Tribune issued a story on Feb. 11 stating it did not publish such an article. The newspaper offered clues to prove the Twitter post is false, including incorrect font and style on the front page, no byline, no dateline and the fact that the newspaper wouldn't report the name of a person arrested but not yet charged.

A spokesman said The Tribune has received calls from people hoping to verify the story. The responses include callers offering thanks for the clarification and others who denounced the newspaper "for covering up for Pete."

Photo from Bush's trip to Daytona 500

Trump's visit to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race made him the second sitting president to attend the annual event, along with George W. Bush. But Trump was the first president to take a lap around the track in an armored limousine.

Following the Feb. 16 event, a photo of Air Force One parked behind the stands at the Florida raceway began making the rounds on social media, according to Snopes.com. Among those sharing the image was Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale, who included the caption, "@realDonaldTrump won the #Daytona500 before the race even started."

But the photo was not from Trump's visit, Snopes said. It was taken by photographer Jonathan Ferrey during Bush's time at the race in 2004. The picture is available on Getty Images.

Parscale deleted the photo from his tweet and replaced it with a current image of Air Force One flying over the venue, Snopes said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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