Donald Trump Is A Serial Liar, Even When It Comes To Trivial Issues
Last week, President Trump gave a highly partisan speech to the quadrennial Boy Scout Jamboree that a leader of the organization later ended up apologizing for. Notwithing standing that apology, Trump maintains that his speech was “great” and that the Boy Scouts told him so:
President Trump said the head of the Boy Scouts called his recent address “the greatest speech that was ever made to them,” days before the chief scout executive apologized for the president’s remarks.
Trump faced criticism for the speech last Monday, which many saw as inappropriately political for the jamboree setting.
Trump denied to The Wall Street Journal that there was any “mixed” reaction to his speech, noting the standing ovations from the crowd. His comments to the Journal were first made public in a transcript of the interview Politico published Tuesday.
“And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful,” Trump said. “So there was — there was no mix.”
The Boy Scouts, however, are basically denying that any such call took place:
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump said the Boy Scouts called him after his highly criticized speech at the National Jamboree and told him it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”
But the Boy Scouts told Time that officials are unaware of that phone call.
“The Chief Scout Executive’s message to the Scouting community speaks for itself,” the organization told Time, referring to a statement a top Boy Scouts executive made last week after backlash against Trump’s speech, which critics equated to a campaign rally.
Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh apologized for the “political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree.”
This isn’t the most consequential issue out there, of course, but it is yet another example of how this President finds himself able to tell bald-faced lies about even the most trivial subjects, especially when they boost him or his reputation. It’s been something that Trump was regularly guilty of both during the time before he was a candidate for President, during the campaign, and after he became President. Before he became a candidate, for example, Trump often claimed that his television shows The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, were huge successes in the ratings. The truth is that, while The Apprentice was a Top 25 show in its two first seasons, it never came close to being the top-rated show on television.(Source) Celebrity Apprentice, meanwhile, was never a Top 25 show and only made it into the Top 50 in its first season, and that both shows declined in their ratings as the years went along. (Source) The main reason that NBC apparently kept airing it is that, like most other “reality” shows, it was relatively inexpensive for the network. Similarly a year ago, Trump claimed that the National Football League had sent him a letter complaining about the fact that two of the planned Presidential debates had been set for nights on which the league had scheduled games. The NFL denied that any such letter had been sent, and Trump never produced a copy of such a letter despite numerous requests from the media. On his first full day in office, Trump crafted an obvious lie about the size of the crowd at his Inauguration the day before that he made his new Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeat and defend in his first briefing to the media, a performance that set the tone for the sour relationship between the Trump White House and the White House Press Corps that has continued to this day. More recently, several Trump golf courses had hung a Time Magazine cover featuring Trump that turned out to be utterly fake.
As I said, these are all relatively trivial issues, and if the President’s duplicitousness were limited to minor issues such as this then perhaps it wouldn’t be noteworthy. The reality, of course, is that these trivial examples are just the less serious side of a more serious problem, which is the fact that the President and the Administration are seeing fit to withhold the truth, mislead with irrelevant information, and outright lie when it comes to important issues as well. The most recent example of that, of course, is the revelation yesterday that the President participated directly in the drafting of the first statement that was released in the wake of the revelations regarding his son’s meeting with a lawyer tied to the Russian government, a statement that turned out to be a lie. In the first two months of his Presidency, Trump repeated on Twitter an easily disproven lie regarding the prisoners released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay during the Obama Administration.These are only two examples of lies the Trump Administration has told. The New York Times has been tracking them and has a list updated through July 21t.
The most serious of Trump’s lies, of course, came in connection with the investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election and contact between people associated with his campaign and Russian officials.
In early May fired F.B.I. Director James Comey just days after Comey had testified regarding the Bureau’s ongoing investigation into the Russia matter. Initially, the Administration claimed that Comey’s dismissal was due to his conduct during the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server and the manner in which she handled classified information. This was detailed in a memorandum written by Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein in support of Comey’s dismissal that specifically cited the press conference in which Comey announced that the investigation would be closed without charges being brought and the letter he sent Congress in October advising that the Bureau was reopening the investigation. The veracity of the official White House story was significantly undermined, however, when it was revealed that Rosenstein knew that Comey would be fired before he ever started drafting the memorandum. Fairly quickly it became apparent that Comey may have been fired due to Trump’s frustration with the Russia investigation, something that Trump himself seemed to confirm. Trump topped off this admission by appearing to threaten Comey with ‘tapes’ of conversations between the two men. Last week, we learned that Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation of Trump’s former National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn. Trump also apparently admitted to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the U.S. that he had fired Comey due to the Russia investigation during an Oval Office meeting. Since then, we’ve seen more reports indicating that it was in fact the Russia investigation that led to Trump removing Comey, an action that has been followed by rumors that he could fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller himself, or even Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as part of what looks for all the world like an effort to hinder the investigation of people close to him. At one point, Trump responded to all of this by essentially saying on Twitter that he was too busy to tell the truth.
Admittedly, inflating the truth or not providing complete information is something that politicians in general and Presidents in particular have done in the past and will continue to do in the future. Sometimes, not providing complete information is necessary to protect national security or for other legitimate reasons. With the possible exception of the Nixon Administration during the height of Watergate, though, I don’t think this country has seen a President Whether it’s about trivial matters or more serious ones, there’s something obviously concerning about a President and an Administration that finds it so easy to lie on a regular basis. Additionally, the fact that Trump finds it necessary to lie even about trivial matters like the ratings of his reality show, the crowd at his Inauguration, or the reaction to his speech to the Boy Scouts says something about his personality and raises obvious questions about why the nation should believe anything he or his subordinates say going forward. This raises an obvious question about the President’s ability to lead the nation if and when a serious national or international crisis occurs during his time in office, as it undoubtedly will. We’re at the point now where the President of the United States is mimicking Homer Simpson:
Unlike Homer, though, it’s not funny when the President does it.
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