Trump’s lies: Do they matter?
Well, it turns out President Trump “was lying the whole time,” said Noah Rothman in USA Today. About what? Take your pick. For months, Trump denied any knowledge of the $130,000 hush money payment his lawyer Michael Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. But last week the president’s new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, revealed that Trump “not only knew about the transaction but [also] reimbursed Cohen for his trouble.” Separately, Harold Bornstein, the president’s zany former gastroenterologist, revealed that the hyperbolic letter he released during the election proclaiming Trump’s “astonishing health” was in fact dictated by the patient himself. Oops! Trump’s mendacity is reaching new heights, said Tom Nicholson in Esquire.com. Last week he notched his 3,000th false or misleading statement since taking office, according to The Washington Post’s comprehensive tally. That amounts to 6.5 lies every single day. His lying is actually escalating, from 4.9 falsehoods each day in his first 100 days to nine a day in the past two months.
“The most shocking aspect” of last week’s revelations was that “they were not at all shocking” to the nation, said Stephen Collinson in CNN.com. Trump’s “loyal base,” who dismiss the media’s reporting and fact checks as “irretrievably biased,” probably didn’t believe—or care—that he was lying. The rest of the country is essentially resigned to the fact that our president is a compulsive and habitual liar. And having seen that the exposure of his many lies does not affect the blind loyalty of his base and most congressional Republicans, “Trump has learned he can get away with anything.”
Maybe in the short term, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. The problem may come when there’s a “genuine crisis”—a nuclear showdown with Iran or North Korea—and the president needs the country to trust him. With Trump’s track record, Americans may not believe “anything he says.” The other question is whether Trump is a political anomaly or the start of a new era, said Matt Lewis in TheDailyBeast.com. Since Trump has gaslighted the country so dramatically and so successfully, will future political leaders also embrace lying as a deliberate strategy? Have voters become so tribal that lying just doesn’t matter? Americans used to vote out the “bums” in Washington who lied to us—but maybe “we’ll grow accustomed to living with them.”