With the possible exceptions of George Washington and Jimmy Carter all presidents have occasionally told a lie, but Donald Trump is a pathological liar who cannot distinguish truth from fiction. For a long time, his most famous falsehood was the statement that Barack Obama is not an American citizen and therefore not eligible to be US President. Trump claimed that ‘his people’ in Hawaii could not find any record of Obama’s existence there but were ‘amazed’ by what they were finding. Unfortunately we were never offered a chance to share in their amazement. Since he won a majority in the Electoral College Trump has taken his lying to the next level. First he claimed that the crowd at his inauguration was larger than the crowd at Obama’s, which could easily be debunked with TV images. Then he stated that he would have won the popular vote if 3.5 million illegal immigrants had not voted for Hillary Clinton, and that he would have won New Hampshire if busses full of people ready to commit voter fraud had not come in from Massachusetts.
A week ago Trump informed the world via Twitter that Obama had been ‘wire tapping’ his communications in Trump Tower. As usual, Trump offered no proof, and everybody with minimal knowledge of how the FBI and CIA operate knows that this was impossible, unless Obama had secretly set up an operation that would make Nixon’s ‘plumbers’ look like first graders in the field of intelligence gathering. A simple call to the FBI director could have put Trump at ease, but instead he demanded that both intelligence committees in congress investigate his claim. Americans are now also finding out that most of Trump’s campaign promises were lies. Medicaid won’t be spared but gutted by the American Health Care Act Trump is strongly promoting, illegal immigrants are not treated ‘humanely’ and families are not kept together, but instead of deporting only criminals all undocumented aliens are now being hunted, and there is no hesitance to separate parents from their children. And Mexico will not pay for ‘The Wall,’ although Trump still appears to believe otherwise.
The fish rots from the top, so Trump’s underlings are also forced to tell an unhealthy dose of lies, which sometimes leads to almost comical situations. AG Jeff Sessions and VP Mike Pence recently produced falsehoods, respectively about Russian contacts and about former NSA Flynn’s lobbying for Turkey. Both were so primed to tell a lie that they volunteered to do so, even though the questions that would have forced them to lie were not asked.
Yesterday during the White House press briefing Sean Spicer gloated over the 4.7% unemployment rate the Department of Labor had just published. Since in the past Trump had always called those numbers ‘phony’ Spicer was asked what had changed. The answer came straight from Trump: “They may have been phony in the past but it’s very real now.”
The press had a good laugh about Trump’s distancing himself from his own lies, but a lying president is a danger to the US. What are parents to believe when their sons and daughters are being sent into combat, and how can any foreign leader ever take Trump at his word?