The Trumped Up President

Last week, Donald Trump made the following statement:

“Even the President of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”

And the week before, he said the following:

“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.”

The problem is that neither phone call took place. There’s a word for that: lying.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s White House press secretary, has since begrudgingly admitted that those calls never took place. But instead of admitting that the President had brazenly lied to the American public, as he clearly had (and as he has often done before), she tried to spin his lies into honest mistakes, claiming that the President of Mexico expressed those sentiments in person, during the G-20 summit four weeks ago, and that “multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership following his speech there that day congratulated him, praised him and offered quite powerful compliments following his speech.”

But here’s the thing. Trump said these were phone calls, and they were not. That’s not an honest mistake. That’s an intentional misrepresentation of the facts, which is the definition of a lie.

And why is this distinction so important? Because if he is willing to lie about the manner of those conversations, then how can we be sure that he is not also lying about what he claims was the substance of those conversations as well? Or any conversation he has, for that matter?

Sure, Trump claims that was the feedback he got – praise for his policies from the President of Mexico and praise for the greatest speech ever from the Boy Scouts. But he also claimed that he got that feedback over the phone, which was a lie in both instances. If Trump lies compulsively, even about insignificant things, how can anyone trust what he says about things that really matter?

Despite the almost comical efforts of Trump’s 24/7 DC spin machine, these lies cannot be dismissed as honest mistakes. If Trump cannot remember things accurately, as they happened, if he cannot keep the facts straight, then we really need to consider whether this 71 year-old is fit and capable of leading our nation. And if the man cannot tell the difference between a phone call and a face-to-face conversation, then we’ve got even bigger problems than a Liar in Chief.

And it’s not like these are isolated incidents, either. Trump has proven to be a serial liar. The Washington Post has documented an average of four lies per day from Duplicitous Donny since he took office. The New York Times has been running a daily recap of Trump’s lies, just so people can keep up with his ballooning body of dishonesty. And PolitiFact, a site that specializes in fact-checking political claims, has an entire page dedicated to the man’s deceit, examining more than 400 statements Trump has made as a candidate and elected official, with 47 percent of them proving to be absolute lies (that’s nearly half, folks!), 21 percent of them being mostly false, 14 percent deemed to be half-truths (or half-lies, depending on how you want to spin it), 12 percent categorized as mostly true (but still containing inaccuracies or misleading bits), and only 5 percent his statements considered to be completely truthful.

So maybe you didn’t trust Hilary Clinton. Fair enough. Maybe you don’t trust any career politician. Fair enough. And maybe you even like the promises Trump made during his campaign, and believe he was at least being honest about those. Fair enough. But given the man’s propensity for lying, how can you still stand by him?