From the Left Hand Corner: The first year of Trump: Lies, lies and more lies
Before I begin on the intended subject, let me take a line or two to express almost complete agreement with the Abler column of last week. I never thought I would see the day.
With all our divergent pathways in getting to where we are; and with tolerance for other faiths, and their differing important dates; may Sunday for most in Echoland be a joyful celebration of the birth of Christ.
And then there is Trump. By the time I'm scheduled to write again, we will have almost finished the first year of the Trump presidency. For many of us, it was not a year of "blessed endurance."
The majority of Americans seem to have recognized and accepted that Trump has lied as president, just as he lied throughout most of his youth and adult life. It is a question as to how much. Many, many singular reasons are proposed, but no singular reason seems sufficient or satisfactory.
Trump has been characterized as a habitual liar, a chronic liar, one who lies so much that he doesn't know he's lying anymore, one who lies just for the fun of it, or just to stir the waters, to feed his monstrous ego, to gain even more notoriety, and the list goes on.
In this column, I'll mention the reported views of others, as well as my own, of Trump's propensity to lie, and a number of the most clear, glaring examples of the Trump lies of 2017.
It is a sad commentary on our present society that there is even a need for fact checkers to help us as we learn and yearn for truth in government.
One of the better known fact-checking entities is Politico, which began in the first year of Trump as follows:
"Nixon lied. Reagan lied. Clinton lied." But, Trump trumps all the rest put together. He is in a different category.
Politico continued: "The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent."
"Trump seems to lie for the sheer joy of it."
"Those who followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit."
In the old days, and our Western lore, I think we called those guys snake-oil salesmen.
The Washington Post fact checker recently reported that in Trump' first 298 days as president, they found that he had made 1,628 false and misleading claims.
You might contend that the Washington Post, historically conservative, has developed some bias against Trump (well earned), but you will have trouble refuting their listed facts. That is an astounding number of lies for someone our nation has elected as a "leader."
Trump declared that, "ObamaCare is dead" 60 times during the year. Trump declared a number of times through the year that we have trade surpluses with only a few countries, and then only like a $2 surplus. The fact is that we have trade surpluses with many countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Trump claimed repeatedly that he achieved a massive "Electoral College landslide" 304-227. FACT is that all Republican presidents except Hayes, younger Bush and Nixon won by higher margins.
Trump has declared all year that the United States is the highest or one of the highest taxed nations in the world. Fact is that America is taxed lower than the average for developed countries, and in the lower third among all nations.
Another well acclaimed source is a detailed opinion study by David Leonhardt and Stuart Thompson. They reported the false Trump ego filler, "I've been on the Time cover 14-15 times, an all time record." Fact: Nixon was on 55 times.
Trump said he was against military involvement in Iraq. "I didn't want to go into Iraq." However, he supported the decision when it was made back in 2003, and for some time thereafter; and only denied and disavowed it as it became more unpopular.
Leonhart concluded, "It would be the height of naivete to imagine Trump is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying." Leonhardt and Thompson used the conservative standard of lie definition as, "that which is demonstrably false."
Another source made up a list of the 101 most blatant and repeated recent lies and reversals of positions of Trump. I hope that lie No. 99 is as disturbing to you as it is to me. When asked about his relationship with God, he cracked, "All I need is, drink my little wine and have my little cracker."
When asked about the need for forgiveness, he responded: "Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you're not making mistakes?"
As beloved former Vice President Walter Mondale said to me a couple months ago: "This man is scary."