Spencer Means / Flickr The Carlottesville Terrorist...
Spencer Means / Flickr

Bella DePaulo is a contributing writer for The Washington Post  and other reputable news outlets, but she spent the first 20 years of her career as a social scientist studying lies and liars. DePaulo says she thought she had gained a sense of what to expect from humans, but when it comes to Donald Trump, his lies are off the charts on many accounts.

“In research beginning in the mid-1990s, when I was a professor at the University of Virginia, my colleagues and I asked 77 college students and 70 people from the nearby community to keep diaries of all the lies they told every day for a week. They handed them in to us with no names attached. We calculated participants’ rates of lying and categorized each lie as either self-serving (told to advantage the liar or protect the liar from embarrassment, blame or other undesired outcomes) or kind (told to advantage, flatter or protect someone else).”

Late last year, the Washington post published a piece​​​​​​ that calculated how many lies, misleading claims and/or flip flops the current so-called US President made during his first 298 days in office. That number is 6-times higher than the average person in DePaulo’s studies. She adds his number of lies began to accelerate last October to over nine public lies per day. One must take into consideration that “reporters have access to only a subset of Trump’s false statements.” The number does not include the lies he makes in private. DePaulo says, “Unless he never stretches the truth in private,” that number is significantly higher. (And anyone who says they believe Trump does not lie in private, would be a perfect candidate for DePaulo’s study.)

There are also certain kinds of lies that play into DePaulo’s observations. Trump told 6.6 times as many self-serving lies than kind ones, which is another much higher ratio compared to participants in her study. But one of the most disturbing aspects of Trump’s lies is the “cruelty.”

“An astonishing 50 percent of Trump’s lies were hurtful or disparaging. For example, he proclaimed that John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey, all career intelligence or law enforcement officials, were ‘political hacks.’ He said that ‘the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a TOTAL BOMB and was forced to close.’ Talking about green card applicants, he insisted that other ‘countries, they don’t put their finest in the lottery system. They put people probably in many cases that they don’t want.’ And he claimed that ‘Ralph Northam, who is running for Governor of Virginia, is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities.’”

DePaulo get’s deeper towards her conclusion adding that more than 60% of Americans are very aware that Trump is a liar, which is remarkable. But are they aware of another telling point of the social scientist’s study? 

“By telling so many lies, and so many that are mean-spirited, Trump is violating some of the most fundamental norms of human social interaction and human decency. Many of the rest of us, in turn, have abandoned a norm of our own — we no longer give Trump the benefit of the doubt that we usually give so readily.”

To read DePaul’s fascinating piece in full, click HERE.

No doubt, Trump as a politician will be studied for decades, but as a human being, he would make for a study of the ages. I can say in my entire life, I’ve never witnessed a more dishonest, greedy, racist, homophobic, sexual predatory, pathetic, self-serving human being. And that’s being kind. However, Republican leaders Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Republican asshat Senator Ted Cruz and Republican political pundits Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh rank way up there as mean-spiritied, self-serving liars.) These are public servants whose salary are paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of the American people. Something’s gotta give—something must give.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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