“The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.”- Donald Trump, THE ART OF THE DEAL
Our president is a liar, and that doesn't even scratch the surface of him; he lies constantly, in nearly every speech or interview. He lies to support his policies, underline his childish insults and puff up his bloated ego. And he doesn't just evade, use obfustication, or exaggerate, like all politicians do, he just straight up says things that are factually incorrect. How much does he lie? The New York Times recently ran a huge list of all of his lies since he took the oath of office on January 21st.
Here's what it looked like:
|100 lies in 6 months|
And note that those are only the lies he's told as president, it doesn't count his years of lying about Barack Obama's birth certificate, or mention the fact that when he finally, reluctantly, admitted that Obama was a legitimate American citizen, he still lied about who started the conspiracy!
So our president lies constantly, in a manner unprecedented for any other president. But what's worse to me is why he lies; I've said before that I believe that Trump is truly a psychopath, and they have an enormously inflated sense of self importance, which is where a large part of his dishonesty comes from. Here is a man who never apologizes, openly refers to himself as smart, and sees his six bankruptcies as good business moves. His main guiding principle in life (perhaps his only one) is that he, Donald Trump, is a great, amazing, and virtually god like person, and he wants all other people to agree with that principle. So it's easy for him to go from being a man who's donated to Democrats and Planned Parenthood to being a rabid Republican who wants to defund Planned Parenthood. When he started publicly questioning Obama's birth certificate, he found that it made him popular with Republican voters, so he just kept repeating it, soaking up their adulation and doubling down on his dishonesty (He once claimed to have investigators in Hawaii who were finding out "amazing things" about Obama's birth certificate. We still haven't heard from them.). And when he started giving speeches at his rallies, his posture and body language clearly showed him feeding off the crowd's adulation, literally almost swelling up with pride as he spoke. From the beginning, it was obvious that he would just say things to make the crowd cheer for him, with his lies getting bigger and bolder ("Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the cofounders of Isis!") as the campaign went on. Many people in the crowd realized that he was not telling the truth, but they were untruths that they wanted to hear, that espoused a world view they agreed with, so they cheered anyway, building an almost circular symbiotic relationship of lies between him and his crowds.
And he can pivot on a dishonest dime if he needs to; during the campaign, Trump spoke repeatedly about The New York Times, saying that it was "failing" and "dishonest". But after he won, he did an interview with reporters from The Times, in which he openly praised the paper and humbly said that he hoped he would "make them proud". And then he went right back to giving speeches assaulting the Times, as if he had never met with those reporters! How can he do this? Again, his guiding principle is to convince everyone else in the world of his greatness, so he will calibrate what he says to one group of people, and then completely change his words when speaking to another, and again, while all politicians learn to do this, he takes it to an extreme. He can be superficially charming to a person's face, and then have no qualms about stabbing them in the back once they're gone.
Will Trump's lies every really catch up with him? Sadly, they haven't so far, but hopefully someday, when the coal and manufacturing jobs don't come back, and his healthcare policies harm people who live in states that voted for him, people will start to see him for the habitual liar that he is and turn on him. Really, it can't happen soon enough.