President Donald Trump claimed on Monday morning that he was hard at work in the Oval Office, and demanded that lawmakers, specifically Democrats, who have departed for the Congressional holiday return to make a deal on his proposed border wall.
“I’m in the Oval Office,” Trump wrote in his tweet. “Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall.”
There’s just one problem: the president seemed to be making a hypocritical request, as indicators at the White House seemed to demonstrate he himself wasn’t at work, at least not in the Oval Office like he had claimed.
As Playboy White House reporter Brian Karem noted on Monday, shortly after Trump made his tweet, a Marine guard was not onsite at the typical post outside of the Oval Office.
“POTUS tweet minutes ago claimed he was in the Oval Office. No marine there so that’s another lie,” Karem wrote in his tweet.
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) December 31, 2018
It’s easy to tell if a president of the United States is at work or not. Such guards, officially called Marine sentries, are posted at the door outside of the West Wing of the White House whenever the president is there performing his own duties, according to reporting from 2012 by USA Today.
The sentries are tasked with ceremonial duties opening doors and “standing still,” so it’s unlikely that the guard that would have been onsite today stepped aside for a momentary bathroom break. Sentries take their roles very seriously, performing the task even in harsh weather conditions when necessary.
It’s a small lie made by the president, of course, but one that is indicative of a pattern for Trump. Indeed, as reporting from the Washington Post noted earlier this month, Trump has made more than 7,600 false or misleading statements since he became president. In recent months, his daily average has exceeded what it was at the start of his term, and in October during the run-up to the midterm elections, Trump was lying on average 35 to 45 times per day.