White House liar-in-chief is no Boy Scout



Pablo Picasso, Buste de Femme

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of voters say they are embarrassed to have Donald Trump as president. Asked if the president is honest, 62 percent answered no.

To the president’s credit, he works hard to achieve these staggering numbers. On July 25, he told the Wall Street Journal, “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 Boy Scouts deny making said call, much less that it was the greatest speech ever made.

On July 31, he told his Cabinet he’d received a congratulatory phone call—“The president of Mexico called me, they said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they are not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”—only to have the Mexican Foreign Minister issue a statement, “President Pena Nieto has not recently communicated by phone with President Donald Trump.”

There is a pattern.

Remember when then-candidate Trump said he’d gotten a letter from the NFL complaining about the scheduling of presidential debates, and the NFL said no such letter was ever sent? Or when he lied about tapes he might have made of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey? Or when Comey testified under oath that the president lied when he said Comey had lost the confidence of an F.B.I. in disarray. “Those were lies, plain and simple.” 

As Steve Schmidt, former campaign manager for John McCain, said, “You have to make an assumption at this point that every statement made from this White House is a lie.”

To Trump loyalists crowing their tired Obama line, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” note the difference between a mistaken statement soon apologized for vs. Mr. Trump’s innumerable, casual lies that serve simply to stroke his own fragile ego.

Forget fake news. Fake accolades are high on our president’s priority list, a habit dating back to the 1990s when he would call NYC tabloids, pretending to be a spokesman named “John Miller”, to plant stories about himself. “He’s somebody that has a lot of options, and, frankly, you know, he gets called by everybody. He gets called by everybody in the book, in terms of women.”

At age 71, it seems the president is neither able nor willing to clean up his act. He lies big and he lies small, and half the country shrugs.

We were told we were going to win so much we would get tired of winning. Is this what winning looks like, keeping track of our president’s false and misleading statements?

Seven months in, the president is busy patting himself on the back, but for what? His sole accomplishment was putting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, but even that can be attributed entirely to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He watched the healthcare debate from the sidelines, never holding a single press conference to sell it or a town hall to answer questions.

He has not made time to visit military leaders in Afghanistan, but has spent approximately 60 days escaping to Trump properties where he canoodles with the high-society set and plays golf.

He flies around the country on Air Force One performing his tried and true campaign speeches as if he has not already won the presidency, fomenting crowd favorites like, “We are going to start saying Merry Christmas again!” A lie that gets resounding, if ignorant, applause, since no one ever stopped saying Merry Christmas.

According to Quinnipiac, the president’s approval rating has reached an all-time low of 33 percent, but I will say this: the most truthful thing about the president is that he has always been clear about who he is. So he lies. So what.

“One of the ironies here,” says presidential historian Jon Meecham, “is a base of Americans who don’t trust Washington sent someone to Washington who is fundamentally untrustworthy.”

In the earliest stages of his campaign, Mr. Trump railed before a crowd at Iowa Central Community College, ’’How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?’’

Pretty stupid, it turns out.