President Trump loves to tell audiences stories about his encounters with sobbing supporters, moved to tears by his leadership and accomplishments.
Trump's favorite stories are about the men, specifically “big, strong guys” who come up to him at his speeches, and tearfully thank him for “saving” America. Trump says this “happens all the time.”
The characters change in these stories, but they all follow a similar script. In August of 2018, for example, Trump told a story about meeting nine coal miners, eight of whom he claims were actually crying.
“I had such an incredible experience with the miners and just a little while ago backstage there were nine,” Trump recounted during a rally in Evansville, Indiana. “Of the nine, eight of ‘em were crying. And I looked at the ninth — crying out of happiness because they’re back — I looked at the ninth guy and said ‘what’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you crying?’”
During another speech in September 2018, Trump told the same story, almost word for word, but this time the men were steel workers.
“Steel workers came up to me and they were crying. There were like eight or nine of them and only one wasn’t and I said ‘what’s your problem?’” Trump told a crowd in South Dakota. “But almost all of them were crying and they were thanking me.”
On other occasions, Trump has mentioned people standing behind him while he signed executive orders — one aimed at weakening environmental protections for the countries waterways and another that weakened emissions standards for coal plants — who he says were also crying tears of joy.
While it’s undeniably that Trump has a large and passionate base, including some very emotional about how great he’s making America, his specific claims about his supporters who are moved to tears simply when meeting him are difficult to verify.
He often notes that the events take place “backstage” making them more difficult to corroborate.
In some instances, such as executive order signings in the Oval Office, there is video of the event, and while the people standing behind the president indeed seem supportive, there is no evidence that any of them were crying.
But perhaps these folks were just waiting until after the cameras were off before allowing their tears of gratitude to flow.