The US President “annihilates the truth”

With the taped conversation between Michael Cohen and then candidate Donald Trump, it confirms that Trump lied to the American people about his awareness of the settlement. But, that is not abnormal. In a recent PBS Newshour/ NPR/ Marist poll, 58% of Americans believe the President tells the truth sometimes or hardly ever, with 3% saying he never tells the truth. 36% of folks think he tells the truth almost always or most of the time.

Before the summer, The Washington Post counted 3,200 lies communicated by Trump as President and in a recent speech in Montana, measured 76% of the comments were false, misleading or unsupported. This percent is similar to the 69% untruthful rate that Politifacts has measured during his Presidency as of earlier this year. Using the latter percent, it means for every three comments, two of them are untruthful. These numbers do not surprise me at all. But, we should not rely only on statistics.

Earlier this week, PBS Newshour had a panel discussion on President Trump and his relationship with the truth. Judy Woodruff interviewed Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington who served in the last three Republican administrations, Lara Brown, the director of the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University and author of several books on presidents, including “Jockeying For the American Presidency,” and Domenico Montanaro, the lead political editor for NPR.

Wehner started out echoing what some have said publicly that Trump is a “pathological liar.” He also uttered the comment in the title above that Trump has set out to “annihilate the truth.” Brown concurred and noted the sheer “volume of lies” makes it hard to categorize. She noted that he “exhausts” Americans with the continual stream of lies. Montanaro echoed their comments, but also pointed out if two numbers from the PBS Newshour/ NPR/ Marist survey are added together, 61% of Americans believe the President tells the truth either sometime, hardly ever or never.

It should be noted that 56% of Americans believes he lies more than other Presidents, with only 32% saying the opposite. Wehner and Brown noted that all Presidents tell lies (LBJ in the Pentagon Papers, Clinton about sexual relations, Reagan about the Iran-Contra affair and Nixon about Watergate, e.g.), but the number and volume dwarf that of his predecessors. Montanaro noted that we expect truth from our President and it is unnerving when we don’t get it. Brown’s comment about the lies being exhausting is true in our house. The man wears my wife and me out. We should not be expecting our President to be untruthful.

Each cited examples of lies, but Wehner said one that is not that big of an issue is an exemplar that set the stage for this President. It related to the size of his inaugural crowd. With visual evidence to contradict him, Trump lied and then made his spokesperson repeat the lie. He said it showed out of the gate, the President was ready to lie even when the facts demonstrated otherwise. That is also in keeping with Brown’s comments that he lies big and small and a comment I have cited from Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked with Trump for years. Wells said “Trump lies every day even about things of no consequence.”

Nothing in this post is news to readers. What is newsworthy is to hear someone use the term “annihilate the truth.” That is an astounding revelation and one I truly do not find fault with. As I shared with a Senator on his website earlier in the week, one way to tell the President may be guilty of more than obstruction of justice is the number of times he has changed his story just since Helsinki. We must let Robert Mueller get at the truth. We certainly are not hearing it from this President, at least not very often.

15 thoughts on “The US President “annihilates the truth”

  1. I concur that he is exhausting, and at the same time, sleep-depriving. And appetite-depriving. I will be very curious to see the statistics for suicide rates for 2017 and 2018 when they are available. That said … I am very curious how some 32% believe he doesn’t lie constantly. I would love to ask them some questions, wouldn’t you? Thanks for the link!

    • Jill, getting through that cognitive dissonance armor is tough. Questions are the only way, but I had a conversation with a Freedom Caucus staffer who would not back off on the premise economic growth would pay for the tax cut. The CBO has been wrong before was his thesis. Keith

  2. It amazes me that anyone can possibly still believe anything that Trump says about anything. Truth and Trump have barely met! He lies, then lies to cover the lie or backtracks with another lie. The constant stream of lies is exhausting! Please read the New York Times, Opinion Today piece by Charles M. Blow from July 25, 2018 entitled “What Doesn’t Kill Him Makes Him Stronger.” In it he states that “The more Trump lies, the more he is empowered to lie.” I believe that you find it quite interesting. Thank-you!

    • Ellen, thanks for sharing. I have used the scientific principle Occam’s Razor before that says the simplest answer is often the truest. Is it easier to believe everyone else is lying or just one man? Especially, when you factor in that one man has a recorded history of lying. Keith

  3. Trump is a lie factory churning out it’s product day after day without a break. I honestly think if Health and Safety got in there they’d recommend it be shut down straight away.

    • David, your analogy is a good one. I continue to be disappointed in his sycophants that lie for him and attack others. Cohen may have some credibility concerns, but so do Rudy Guiliani, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Devin Nunes,…Keith

  4. Joseph Goebbels (who knew a lot about lying) said “A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” For a lot of myopic far-right conservatives, Obama still wasn’t born in the U.S., and Hillary should still be locked up, thanks to Trump and others. But Trump has put a new spin on Goebbels. How about “A thousand lies told a thousand times becomes acceptable behavior by the masses.” Trumpism is just as dangerous as Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda, and most Americans don’t even realize it.

    • Pete, I think he lies so much, he does not know where the truth stops and the lies begin. Even when news is good, he has to make it better. Just this morning, the second quarter US economic growth is its best in four years (partly due to people rushing to sell things before the tariffs, but set that aside). So, the news is overall good. But, that is not good enough as he had to use a superlative – the best results on the planet. Not really.

      I usually stay away from Nazi comparisons as they are overused. But, I must confess the lying, media bashing, civil rights squashing, demonizing…cause similar concern. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: When a Trump supporter tries to blow off the fact that “Trump lies, but so did other Presidents,” there are two responses. The volume of Trump lies dwarfs that of other Presidents and politicians. And, the man is setting policy off his lies – immigration is an issue, but he was blown it way out of proportion, climate change is real and man-influenced, trade is an issue, but he again has made it more of a bogeyman than it is and has not worked with allies to get to a better place, debt is a major issue, but he has helped make it worse, and so on.

  6. It is true all of those presidents did lie and had their faults and demons, however they all made an effort to try and reach the majority of the people (even if it was any times in a manipulative fashion- so who doesn’t in politics).
    This oaf just blusters and blow-hards to his own sycophants and constituency.
    He is a disgrace to the office and a fine argument for the end of the Electoral College. (Rest assured if the result had been reversed he would be howling for its dismantling, as would his followers).
    Brexit and Trump.
    Putin must surely visit an Orthodox church frequently and say ‘Thank You’. How lucky can one leader be?

    • Roger, as Obama said in his speech last week, when a politician was caught in a lie, they would be embarassed and/ or remorseful. The untruthful US President doubles down and his sycophants must defend him. They cannot be proud of lying for this man. Keith

      • Some are probably so deep in their dislike or even hatred of the opposition they’ll follow him to their communal demise…..Although both Goring and Himmler deserted Hitler in the final days.
        We shall see if self-preservation or self-interest have the final words.

      • Roger, his greatest talent is selling himself and these folks have bought what he is selling. Any good news is his doing and any bad news is fake if he is blamed. Our economy had a very good quarter, but it was in part due to rushed sales to avoid his tariffs. It is good news, but is unsustainable even without the tariffs. Keith

  7. Note to Readers: I was reminded today of other subterfuge of the US President. In addition to having his EPA purge its website of climate change information, he is also sanctioning reports by his HHS to discredit Obamacare. Politico reported the inaccuracy of several of its reports.

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