Remember Donald, It’s Not A Lie If You Believe It

Steve Bannon says he doesn't believe the President has ever told a lie.

Former Trump campaign adviser and White House “chief strategist,” Steve Bannon says he doesn’t believe the President has ever lied:

Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, said Sunday that he does not believe that Trump lies.

“[Trump] has not always told the truth,” host Jonathan Karl said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I don’t know that,” Bannon responded. “This is another thing to demonize him.”

“You think the president’s never lied?” Karl asked in a follow-up question.

“Not to my knowledge, no,” replied Bannon. ”Except when he called me Sloppy Steve.”

“He says things that are not true all the time,” the ABC host interjected.

“I don’t believe that,” Bannon said. “I think he speaks in a particular vernacular that connects the people in this country.”

Karl later noted that Trump acknowledged he lied to The New York Times about a Trump Tower meeting and asked Bannon if some lies are OK.

Bannon said that he did not know whether Trump’s comments qualified as a lie.

This is, of course, utter nonsense. At last count, the President has told thousands of demonstrable lies since entering the Oval Office, and it continues to happen on a daily basis whenever he tweets, talks to the press or speaks to the public. His Administration, spokespeople, supporters on Capitol Hill, and friendly pundits do the same thing every time they defend him. There is no denying this at this point. Bannon, quite obviously, is gaslighting the American public with an utterly absurd assertion,

Or maybe, there’s a simpler expanation:

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kathy says:

    While Bannon has said something as ridiculous as that he does not believe water is wet or fire is hot, I wonder how many in the Cheeto cult believe him

  2. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think a lot of his supporters understand him to be “speaking in a vernacular” because they speak that way too. It’s this sort of speech where one takes the amount of exaggeration of facts to indicate the level of emotion behind the speech.

    The thing is, Trump has weaponized it into a mode of communication in which he can say anything that’s convenient at any time, and never be accountable for it.

    So, yeah. It’s lying.

  3. Charon says:

    It’s not a belief or believing if you don’t care what the actual facts are. And Trump never cares about facts, he cares about:

    1) What he thinks people want to hear


    2) What he wants people to believe.

    He never, ever, gives a rat’s butt what the actual facts are, one way or the other.

  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    At risk of repeating myself, Trump voters are largely white evangelicals, and those people have been raised from childhood to believe lies, to dismiss the truth and to follow any white man with bad hair who will take their money and fill them full of bullshit.

  5. Charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    raised from childhood to believe lies,

    Not necessarily, people who are converts to that horsesh!t are likely to go all-in on the bible inerrancy, evolution denialism, the whole nine yards.

    I have a relative who once was a nice Jewish boy who is now totally apesh!t on that Dominionist horsesh!t. Big Ted Cruz/ Mike Pence admirer, natch.

  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    We’ve been hearing lies out of the Republican Party for decades, starting with trickle-down economics, WMD in Iraq, and climate change denial. You can try to say “both sides do it”, but I challenge you to find mendacity on the Democrats side that rises to level of these three “big lies”. Lies are part and parcel of who Republicans are.
    The fact that this culture of lies eventually gave us Dennison should not be surprising.
    The Fourth Estate bears a huge amount of blame for where we are. The press has always been reticent to call a lie a lie…to call BS when it was warranted.
    The yyuuuge question now, is how do we get past Dennison, and move forward in a way that is healthy for the Republic?

  7. Charon says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The press has always been reticent to call a lie a lie…to call BS when it was warranted.

    Maybe there has been a tipping point reached recently, I have lately been seeing words like “lie” used a lot on MSNBC and in the print press. Perhaps they are figuring out the viewers approve of that word where called for, there is no cost to using it on the Trump team.

  8. teve tory says:

    there’s absolutely nothing in Trump’s career to suggest that he has any aptitude for or interest in genuine problem-solving. He’s a brand marketer and a flimflam man who had to make a $21 million civil fraud payout about his fake university shortly before taking office and is now facing a new fraud lawsuit over his fake charity.

    For Trump, cruelty towards immigrants is how he signals solidarity with the white working class voters whose policy needs and actual problems he’s completely abandoned.

    Donald Trump’s Cruel Immigration Politics Is a Scam

  9. teve tory says:

    @Charon: I’m seeing that too. After thousands and thousands of bald-faced lies, the press seems willing to finally tell the truth about it. It took way too much Dennison Dishonesty to get here, but maybe we finally made it.

  10. Charon says:

    @teve tory:

    The immigration politics is the sort of scam people can monetize, I am sure there are a lot of people making money from it. Pretty much everything Trump does gets monetized into a scam.

  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    I have lately been seeing words like “lie” used a lot

    Perhaps. Twice during Dennison’s tour de farce lie-fest on the WH Driveway Friday reporters asked,

    “why are you lying about this, sir?”

    Kind of unprecedented. I hope you are correct and we have reached a tipping point, and the media will start to clearly point out blatant lies. Because otherwise there is no one to defend the truth.

    Fake news.

    DHS Sec Neilson:

    Don’t believe the press.

    Tucker Carlson:

    “If you’re looking to understand what’s actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they’re telling you on the big news stations,”

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A. Steve Bannon is stupid.
    B. Steve Bannon thinks Americans are stupid.
    C. Both.

  13. Steve Huth says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Says Carlson, who works for the biggest “news” station of them all (and the biggest liars, though to be fair their actual news desk–guys like Shep Smith–are basically fine; it’s the 80% that is BS propaganda masquerading as news that’s the problem).

    So, as I frequently ironically find, I’m in total agreement with Carlson and co: Assume the opposite of what the big news station tells you, and you’ll be in good shape.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    Bannon highlights the “Moderates Dilemma”. If you have been taught that it is bad to demonize someone, how do you handle it when someone is actually a demon?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Kay Tur did a point by point take down of trump’s 19 big lies in that WH lawn fiasco.

  16. TM01 says:

    I found out that Trump lies the same way you all did, by hearing about it on the evening news.

  17. TM01 says:

    I believe Obama had a scandal free adminstration.
    I believe I’ll be able to keep my doctor.
    I believe the JCPOA is a good deal.
    I believe Obama never sent Hillary emails to her private email server using an alias.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:


    Yes, and you hate lies so much that the fact that Trump tells a thousand for every one told by Obama is, what? Fine, right? The same theory that says murder is OK because Cain.

    Stop wasting our time by pretending to give even half a sht for lies or emails or any of the rest of it, you don’t, and you never did. You’re a racist, a bigot, a nasty little hater, and that is all you are, and all you care about.

  19. Kylopod says:

    While we’re on the subject of Tucker Carlson, it’s worth remembering a little anecdote from the early 2000s when he worked for CNN. He reported that President Bush had made fun of death-row inmate Karla Faye Tucker and used profanity in a conversation they’d had. Later, he said the following:

    Then I heard that [on the campaign bus, Bush communications director] Karen Hughes accused me of lying. And so I called Karen and asked her why she was saying this, and she had this almost Orwellian rap that she laid on me about how things she’d heard — that I watched her hear — she in fact had never heard, and she’d never heard Bush use profanity ever. It was insane.

    I’ve obviously been lied to a lot by campaign operatives, but the striking thing about the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that. It almost crosses over from bravado into mental illness.

    I never liked Tucker Carlson, not even back in those days, but moments like this gave me the impression he had some integrity.

    And what he describes is exactly the way I feel about the Trump Administration. They lie as shamelessly as Carlson described Karen Hughes doing, and they don’t restrict it to private conversations. They’ll go before the press and lie on live TV. A few weeks ago Sarah Sanders told the NYT how upset she was to have been accused of lying. “It certainly bothers me,” she said. “Because one of the few things you have are your integrity and reputation.”

    When I read this, I got the same feeling that Carlson described after his conversation with Karen Hughes: it was almost surreal, seeing someone lie about lying. Bannon’s remark about Trump is in the same category. We know Bannon is not part of the Trump cult, that he’s a Machiavellian type vying for power and influence. He’s not speaking from ignorance or delusion, he’s speaking because he knows there are people dumb enough to believe him.

    And who’s one of the greatest enablers and defenders of Trump today? Tucker Carlson. The very guy who once described the bizarre feeling of being confronted by bold and shameless dishonesty from the people in power is now one of the biggest apologists for an administration that makes the Bush team look like choirboys. Now that’s surreal.

  20. teve tory says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a tweet by Tur saying something like “Here’s the 19 lies trump told this morning.”

  21. dazedandconfused says:


    I caught the Zakaria interview, it was obvious Bannon is attempting, once again, to put his own thoughts in Trump’s mouth. He is apparently unable to accept his own fall from “grace”. There is only room for one, and only one, prima donna within the sphere of a malignant narcissist. When people started saying Bannon was Trump’s boss Bannon’s goose was irrevocably cooked.

  22. CSK says:

    I had lunch with a friend today who posited that Bannon is trying to get back in Trump’s good graces because Bannon is the leader, or wants to be, of the white nationalist movement, and desperately needs Trump to be the symbolic head of it–much the way, I think, that Bannon thought Palin would serve the same purpose eight years ago.

  23. Kylopod says:


    because Bannon is the leader, or wants to be, of the white nationalist movement, and desperately needs Trump to be the symbolic head of it–much the way, I think, that Bannon thought Palin would serve the same purpose eight years ago.

    In the 2016 cycle Bannon initially had his eyes set not on Trump but on Ted Cruz, also initially the favorite of the Mercers. In retrospect it may seem a little strange he’d want his right-wing nationalist movement being represented by a Cuban-Canadian, but there was a period of time when Cruz seemed like the most viable candidate representing the GOP’s hard-right faction, particularly on the issue of immigration.

    Bannon also went back and forth on his approach to Paul Nehlen. Initially he supported Nehlen but later abandoned him, claiming he hadn’t known about his “pro-white” and anti-Semitic views, despite the fact that those views were well-publicized before.

    There are striking parallels between what Bannon has set out to do and what far-right nationalist parties in Europe like the National Front parties in France and Britain have done, where they started out on the overtly racist and anti-Semitic fringes then had some more polished figure come and claim to have cleaned up the group and rid it of its extremist elements. (You can see that transition in the candidacy of Marine Le Pen as opposed to her father’s a decade earlier.) What people like Bannon and Le Pen are attempting to do is create a coalition of conservatives and rightists in order to enable the far-right to infiltrate the mainstream in a way their forebears were unable to do.

  24. CSK says:


    Bannon went to Italy in May to influence their election. He got the result he wanted, although I don’t know if he was the prime mover in that instance.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: A great deal of the time Bannon isn’t the prime mover of anything, he’s just someone who gets in on a trend in order to give the impression that he’s leading it. You can see that clearly in the Alabama election last year: he poked his nose into the race after Luther Strange was already headed toward defeat at the hands of Roy Moore. Then a lot of media commentators started talking about Bannon as the leader of the movement to help get extremist candidates nominated, when in fact that movement had preceded his involvement, and he probably had very little impact on it at all. (There was a similar effect at work with Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Movement in 2010.)

  26. TM01 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Stop wasting our time by pretending to give even half a sht for lies or emails or any of the rest of it, you don’t, and you never did.

    Is the implication here that you care about the emails, the security beaches, the Obama scandals, etc? Because you certainly don’t seem to care about those. It appears that you’re nothing more than a hyper partisan who only cares about what The Other Side does.

    Trump lies about things like crowd sizes. Big whoop. That’s no worse than saying he caught the biggest fish ever but his camera fell in the lake.
    Obama lied about consequential things. JCPOA. Hillary’s server. Keeping your doctor. Budgets. Debt ceiling. Immigration law.

    You’re a racist, a bigot, a nasty little hater, and that is all you are, and all you care about.

    LOL. and that’s really all you’ve got. YOU’RE A RAAAACIST!

    The biggest threat from Trump is you seeing all the lies of your ideas being laid bare for all to see. Your ideas don’t work. Never have. Never will. Therefore everyone opposed to you is racist, a bigot, a Nazi. Or Russian. LULZ

    You keep telling yourself that ONLY your way is the right way. Anything else is RAAAACIST.

  27. Kylopod says:


    Trump lies about things like crowd sizes. Big whoop.

    Trump claimed to have opposed the Iraq War from the start, despite an audio clip to the contrary. He claimed Hillary Clinton started the birther movement. He claimed to have stopped questioning Obama’s birthplace after the release of the long-form birth certificate. (He was still bringing it up later.) During the campaign he repeatedly claimed real unemployment was more than twice as high as the BLS data showed, then as soon as he became president he began bragging about the very same stats he had previously refused to accept. He claimed to have scored one of the largest electoral victories in history. (It was actually the 11th smallest.) He claimed to have won the popular vote apart from millions who voted illegally (a claim pulled right out of his ass). He claimed repeatedly that the US is the highest-taxed nation in the world (not even close). He claimed the tax bill was the largest tax cut in history. He claimed the Obamacare repeal bills would be giving everyone excellent health care for less money. He claimed to have signed more bills than any other president up to this point (not by a light year). He claimed to have never said Russia didn’t meddle in the election (he did). He claimed Paul Manafort (his campaign chairman for five months in 2016) was with the campaign for a “very short period of time.” He claimed the policy of separating children from parents which his administration began just a few months ago was a “law” begun by Democrats.

    The point of bringing up his lie about the inauguration crowd size is simply to highlight how completely pathological his lying is, that he’d even lie about something so completely inconsequential. It highlights his sick, twisted mindset and the motivation explaining why he lies: he has this pathological need to be constantly claiming he’s always on top, always the best at everything, always vanquishing his enemies, and he does it without the slightest concern for sticking to the truth. That explains all his lies, including the most egregious and far-reaching ones. And you somehow twist that fact into the idea that “he only spews total bullshit on trivial matters, and makes sure to be honest and straightforward on everything else.”

  28. Mu says:

    There might be something to it with the evangelical crowd. After all, it’s basically “the bible is to be taken literally and what you read in it is right”. And if you can reconcile mentally that Jesus’s patriarchal line can be correct despite being different in the two instances quoted in the bible, or can unify the two different death of Judas, dealing with something as banal as Trump’s alternative facts is easy.

  29. Matt says:


    I believe Obama never sent Hillary emails to her private email server using an alias.

    Because in order to click reply you totally have to know every server your email is going to bounce through.

    I imagine you think you’re clever because OMG Obama totally had to type Cl*****@IL***************************************************************.com…..

    The email situation is absolutely stupid and only idiots think there’s anything there. Anyone with a slight amount of IT experience (and without a partisan bent) is laughing at the claims you’ve been making. The FBI easily recovered all the emails involved and they found NOTHING in the deleted emails that was improperly deleted. Move on..

    I don’t give a shit about the couple RETROACTIVELY classified emails that were involved either. That would be like if the police/city decided to lower the speed limit of the street in front of your house and then issued tickets to everyone who drove on it at the original speed limit prior to the speed limit change… There was nothing of concern in those emails but you gotta hype what little you can.