It’s Not ‘Misleading,’ It’s A Lie

When a President lies with the ease and regularity of Donald Trump, it's the responsibility of all of us to call it what it is and not hide behind weasel words like "misleading."

Even during a seemingly routine White House ceremony honoring military spouses and mothers, the President can’t help himself:

President Donald Trump just wanted to tout his commitment to the military on Wednesday but ended up misstating the facts.

He claimed during a celebration of military spouses and mothers that the defense spending measure he approved earlier this year included the first pay raises for service members in a decade.

In fact, pay has increased every year for more than three decades.

“First time in 10 years,” Trump claimed during his remarks from the White House East Room.

My administration is totally committed to every family that serves in the United States Armed Forces,” he went on. “I was proud to sign that big pay raise that I’ve already spoken about. And I am proud of it. And I guess there will be others, too. Would you like one sooner, or do you want to wait another 10 years? I don’t know.”

Trump has heralded the pay raise before, but hasn’t mistakenly suggested it was the first increase to troops’ paychecks in a decade.

The first thing to point out is the fact that the CNN headline for this article reads “Trump misleads about military pay raises.” No, he didn’t mislead. He lied.

As his own Defense Department figures show, there have been pay raises for members of the military every year going back to 2008, including several years, from 2008 through 2010, during which the percentage increase in pay was higher than the 2.4% that Trump is trumpeting. As the article goes on to note that it is accurate to note that the 2.4% increase provided for in the 2018 Defense Department budget is the largest in eight years, but it’s although worth noting the context of that fact. The intervening years between the 3.4% increase in 2010 and the 2.4% increase in 2018 were ones in which the economy was relatively stable and inflation was quite low if not altogether non-existent. Also, this was a period during which Congress was acting within the constraints of budget restraints that were meant to keep federal spending in check such as the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was adopted in the wake of the showdown in the summer of 2011 over the debt ceiling and included mechanisms such as sequestration and a requirement for offsets for new spending that placed at least some limits on new spending. The budget that was adopted for Fiscal 2018 essentially nullified most of the provisions of that law, busting through the sequestration caps and ignoring the other methods supposedly intended to control Federal Government spending going forward. Add to this the fact that the 2018 Defense Department budget exceeds what the Pentagon was asking for in the first place and it’s not surprising that pay would increase accordingly in that context.

In any case, I suppose it’s not exactly new news to point out that this President lies. As I noted earlier this month, President Trump has told lies with such regularity that, according to current projections, he would have told nearly 9,500 lies by the end of his first four years in office and more that 18,000 lies if he is elected to a second term in office. Admittedly, previous Administrations, and politicians since time immemorial, have lied, misled, and fudged the truth in the past and will continue to do so in the future. However, with this Administration is happens with such regularity and ease that it is really quite extraordinary. Pointing out these lies on every occasion they’re made is a seemingly impossible task, but at least when it’s done one would expect the media to call them what they are. What Trump said last week wasn’t misleading, it was a lie. Call it what it is and stop trying to sugarcoat it.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Military Affairs, National Security, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    I assume he lies every time he speaks. I know that’s not so, but I’d be right most of the time

    ReplyReply



    24



    1
  2. @Kathy:

    It’s the safest default position.

    ReplyReply



    18



    1
  3. Mark Ivey says:

    “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

    ReplyReply



    4



    1
  4. gVOR08 says:

    Keep in mind that when WAPO counts two thousand or so lies to date, that’s new, unique lies. In between he’s repeating the old lies. If he said it was 3:00 o’clock I’d check my watch.

    Wiktionary defines lie as “To give false information intentionally with intent to deceive.” and, as with Reagan, there’s always the question of whether he just didn’t know any better. There is a Calvinist reluctance to brand him as a “liar” without knowing what’s in his heart. There is a modern journalistic aversion to making value judgments, even blindingly obvious value judgments.

    To a pragmatist, this is all silly. The question isn’t a moral question, “Is he a lair?”. The question is, “Can we trust what he says?” Obviously we can’t His motives are beside the point, he’s a liar.

    We’ve had this same issue big time with Reagan, W, and Trump. Why do we keep electing these weasels?

    ReplyReply



    11



    2
  5. CSK says:

    Trump says what he thinks will make him look good, to himself and his audience. Objective truth has no meaning to him. He lies as reflexively as he breathes. And it doesn’t matter to the Trumpkins.

    ReplyReply



    16



    1
  6. Andrew says:

    @gVOR08:

    Because they say what their voting base wants to hear, are persons that their voting base could see having a beer with, and are Caucasian.
    Or as they call it in the PR business: Likable.

    Those are really the only “qualifications” needed. ‘Merica. F*ck yeah!!

    ReplyReply



    5



    1
  7. Todd says:

    Rational people know that Donald Trump lies almost constantly. Buy people who have been fully indoctrinated by right-wing propaganda are absolutely convinced that while, yes, Donald Trump lies, it’s no more than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama (I mean come on, Obama got “lie of the year” for that thing about being able to keep your doctor) /sarcasm

    ReplyReply



    11



    1
  8. michael reynolds says:

    I realize I’m being tedious on this point, but the people who believe Trump’s lies have been groomed, carefully, over the course of their lifetimes, to believe lies – groomed by evangelical Christianity, with side-helpings of Limbaugh and Fox News.

    And I maintain that they know they are accepting lies as truth. I have long maintained that absolutely no one actually believes in God, let alone in preachers with pompadours, no one. People believe in brick walls and never, ever try to walk through one. People say they believe in God but disobey him constantly. What do they really believe in? Brick walls. What do they pretend to believe in? God and Trump.

    People are terrified by the mere suggestion that they should re-examine their beliefs and perhaps toss a few out. They can’t do that, they lack the intellectual integrity, they lack the love of truth, they are frightened people who tell themselves that if they have faith, if they pretend really hard, that they won’t die, or remain unemployed, or be replaced by black people. Deep down they all know the truth but they don’t wish to be set free by truth, they choose to remain in a cozy mental prison that makes them feel good. And they demonstrate their belief in the impossible by attacking anyone who challenges that belief, precisely because that belief is paper-thin and takes effort for them to continue to believe. It’s exhausting suspending disbelief and they cannot tolerate anyone who makes that suspension more difficult.

    The Trumpaloons have built a cult of personality in which they identify with Trump as their master, as their avatar, as their scourge of foes real and imaginary. They can no more question Dear Leader than they could question Pompadour Preacher or Jesus himself. It’s all one to them.

    ReplyReply



    15



    4
  9. Kathy says:

    Here’s the thing.

    if Mangolini lies about the size of the inauguration crowd, and about calling the families of military personnel killed in action, and about things he’s said in the past, and about ay raises in the military, and about trade disparities (which he even admitted to), etc. how does any reasonable person believe him when he claims the JCPOA was a bad deal, or that he could do better, or anything else that really matters?

    Did most people believe he was telling the truth the multiple times he said he’d abrogate the JCPOA? I believed it when Macron reported that would be the case, not when the Orange Clown claimed it.

    ReplyReply



    7



    2
  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Speaking from the vantage point of having worked with this person (and I use that term loosely) for several years:

    This man lies as a matter of normal functioning. He’s what we term a pathological liar – the behavior with him is habitual and compulsive. I’ve long believed that he lies so obsessively, and so regularly, that in his mind the lies have become reality, and reality is a lie. If the man told me the sun was shining, I’d look out the window to verify it before I believed him.

    He’s lies about everything, even trivial things that serve no purpose at all. It’s a fundamental character flaw that is, at this point, baked into his psyche. It’s normal for him. At basis, he’s is just fundamentally broken as a human being. He’s beyond redemption.

    ReplyReply



    24



    1
  11. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “…as their scourge of foes real and imaginary.”

    That’s it, really. Trump says terrible things about women, people of color, and the “elites” of either party. He taunts the disabled. He’s a coward and a bully.

    As they themselves say, he’s just like them.

    ReplyReply



    9



    1
  12. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Speaking from the vantage point of having worked with this person (and I use that term loosely)

    “Worked,” or “person?”

    ReplyReply



    11



    1
  13. al Ameda says:

    @Todd:

    Rational people know that Donald Trump lies almost constantly. Buy people who have been fully indoctrinated by right-wing propaganda are absolutely convinced that while, yes, Donald Trump lies, it’s no more than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama (I mean come on, Obama got “lie of the year” for that thing about being able to keep your doctor) /sarcasm

    Exactly. My family is pretty representative of this. Of the nine of us I’m the only certain Democrat, one brother is kind of libertarian and votes liberal-lite.

    No matter how hard we try to avoid it, politics inevitably comes up at family get togethers, issues of the day, that sort of thing. Whenever a brother or sister points points to as fact something Trump said that they supports strongly, I usually end up pointing out that what he said was a flat out lie. And, I’m always told, ‘they all do it,’ or ‘Hillary [insert whatever].’

    But I get it. They know a fair amount of what Trump says is not true, but they approve of the direction that Trump and Republicans are taking the country, and what Trump says is not as important to them as the right wing journey to roll back liberalism.

    ReplyReply



    10



    0
  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    Person

    ReplyReply



    6



    0
  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Exactly! This is the same type of exaggeration that I see on real estate sites in looking for a new apartment. “Recently reconditioned top to bottom”–painted sometime, can’t remember when, but I’m SURE that it’s less than 2 years ago. “Nicely landscaped common area”–more grass than asphalt. Just use the rule–when ever his lips move, it’s probably untrue–especially if he’s bragging.

    ReplyReply



    4



    1
  16. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    in his mind the lies have become reality, and reality is a lie.

    The best liars I’ve met are also some of the most gullible people I’ve met. They’re convincing liars because they sincerely believe whatever they’re saying, and can sincerely believe the opposite five minutes later. And Trump sure does seem gullible.

    ReplyReply



    8



    1
  17. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:

    The best liars I’ve met are also some of the most gullible people I’ve met. They’re convincing liars because they sincerely believe whatever they’re saying, and can sincerely believe the opposite five minutes later. And Trump sure does seem gullible.

    Yep, it’s why if you’re shopping for a psychopath you should spend the extra money and get a smart one. We’ll be saved – if we are saved – by Trump’s stupidity.

    ReplyReply



    6



    1
  18. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Look on the bright side. Now when something bad happens to folks at the White House, I can smirk without the slightest feeling of guilt.

    ReplyReply



    5



    1
  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    That’s the thing, though. Trump is an abysmal liar. His lies were so obvious, and so blatant – so simple to recognize – that everybody caught on to them essentially immediately. It didn’t come across as someone trying to convince others of the validity of the lies. It came across as someone who had essentially invented his own alternate reality in which he was the starring attraction; someone who was just verbally expelling the self-aggrandizing invented reality that lives in his head in a torrent of ridiculously threadbare lies. It got to the point where we made a game out of injecting subtle exposures of the lies into conversations when he was in the room. True to his nature, he never realized we were doing it. The guy is NPD written in 30 foot tall letters – the Hollywood sign of mental illness, if you will.

    If it were anybody else – someone who wasn’t so malevolently stupid – I’d feel pity for them. Trump though? No, all I feel for him is a sense of abiding disgust. I invariably left any room he was in feeling as though I desperately needed a shower just to wash the stench off.

    ReplyReply



    10



    1
  20. george says:

    Is it a lie if you don’t know what’s true? For instance, if I truly believe the earth is flat, I’m not lying when I say it is, I’m merely being ignorant and stupid.

    In some of these cases I suspect Trump doesn’t know or care what the truth is (the raise for the military for instance); he’s just making things up as he goes along, and it probably never even occurred to him to have someone look into it before he made a statement. Which, I’ll add, is worse in a president than lying; at that level, divorced from reality is ultimately more dangerous than lying. Which is why Nixon, for all his faults, was a much better president than Trump.

    ReplyReply



    5



    0
  21. NW Steve says:

    @george: @george:

    For instance, if I truly believe the earth is flat, I’m not lying when I say it is, I’m merely being ignorant and stupid.

    If you have worked hard to make sure that you are oblivious to verifiable reality, and to exclude all evidence that your preconception are wrong, then there is some kind of culpability there.

    Not sure what to call it, but it is still tantamount to lying.

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  22. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump is such a financial wizard and expert on foreign trade relations that he wants to put unemployed Chineese citizens back to work!
    American National Security be damned!

    Trump just announced bizarre plan to save Chinese jobs from America
    American telecom companies have been advised by the U.S. intelligence agencies to avoid using equipment purchased from ZTE and other Chinese telecom equipment makers like Huawei because of national security concerns over potential backdoor hacking points that could be embedded in the foreign-made technology.
    Washington Press
    White House insiders are calling this policy the Chinese Basket Fvck for American Taxpayers.

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  23. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump is such a financial wizard and expert on foreign trade relations that he wants to put unemployed Chineese citizens back to work!
    American National Security be damned!

    Trump just announced bizarre plan to save Chinese jobs from America
    American telecom companies have been advised by the U.S. intelligence agencies to avoid using equipment purchased from ZTE and other Chinese telecom equipment makers like Huawei because of national security concerns over potential backdoor hacking points that could be embedded in the foreign-made technology.
    Washington Press

    White House insiders are calling this policy the Chinese Basket Fvck for American Taxpayers.

    ReplyReply



    2



    1
  24. Kathy says:

    @george:

    Which is why Nixon, for all his faults, was a much better president than Trump.

    At this point the only president to have held power in US territory I’d place below Trump is Jefferson Davis.

    ReplyReply



    4



    1
  25. Guarneri says:

    Oh for the good old days of you can keep your doctor, inflammatory YouTube videos, bleach bit, I did not have sex with that woman…………

    ReplyReply



    1



    15
  26. An Interested Party says:

    Oh for the good old days of you can keep your doctor, inflammatory YouTube videos, bleach bit, I did not have sex with that woman…………

    Indeed…presidents and politicians lie, of course, but to this extent? It’s pretty bad when someone makes Nixon look good by comparison…

    ReplyReply



    6



    0
  27. Mister Bluster says:

    Guarneri’s Last Words:
    I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid.

    ReplyReply



    7



    0
  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: I just recently bought a ZTE flip phone to replace my previous LG phone that was getting old. If I need to get rid of it for the sake of national security, I’ll do it of course, but I DID pay $29.00 for it and handsets for Trac Fone are difficult to come by in the area in which I live. Let me know what you think.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  29. al Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    Oh for the good old days of you can keep your doctor, inflammatory YouTube videos, bleach bit, I did not have sex with that woman…………

    I have to agree, those were better times.

    ReplyReply



    8



    0
  30. Paul L. says:

    But John Lewis is not a liar.
    John Lewis said the Trump inauguration was the first he ever boycotted when boycotted George W. Bush’s inauguration.
    Defended as just Gotcha and Hate Speech.

    ReplyReply



    0



    2
  31. An Interested Party says:

    But John Lewis is not a liar.

    John Lewis is a saint compared to the Orange Blob…your analogy is like comparing an arsonist who burns down a whole city with someone who simply lights a match…

    ReplyReply



    0



    1
  32. Paul L. says:

    More Trump lies.
    DACA is not a DHS memo. It is a law passed by Congress .
    The US/Iran deal was not just a agreement It is a treaty

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  33. Joe says:

    @gVOR08:

    . There is a Calvinist reluctance to brand him as a “liar” without knowing what’s in his heart.

    Abject darkness, Calvinists, abject darkness.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0

Speak Your Mind

*