As time wears on, the presidency continues to prove less powerful and amusing than he thought it would be, and a steady stream of his close advisers end up indicted and/or in prison, Donald Trump has been escalating the number of lies he tells the American public. By a lot.
The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. He hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year. So far in 2019, he’s averaging nearly 22 claims a day.
His two-hour ranting monologue in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend featured 100 individual lies—in public. Most of them were repeats of previous false claims, many of which he repeats incessantly in speech after speech, and many of which can be proven plainly false not by in-depth expert analysis but by simply running some damn videotape. He regularly lies about his own actions, dissembling about everything from the most basic economic statistics to the invisible crowds that he is forever insisting are hovering just outside the doors of whatever venue he is currently speaking at. He’s now topped 9,000 individual lies since the inauguration, according to the Washington Post’s count.
So, is there any plan as to what to do about this? Is this simply the new standard for the American presidency? The president is allowed to lie to the American public if it pleases him, and there shall be no recourse other than, at best, irregular reports in various newspapers as to just what the national leader has invented, exaggerated, or hallucinated on any particular day?
Again, there are only two possibilities here. Possibility No. 1 is that Donald Trump is a pathological liar. He knows he’s lying to the public, and either cannot help doing it or is intentionally misleading the public on a daily, relentless basis.
The second possibility is that he is severely mentally ill, and unable to tell the difference between the realities that exist and the ones he invents.
He does not know he is lying when he claims not to have done something he demonstrably has done or vice versa, but genuinely has no memory of his past statements or actions and simply cannot retain the facts and figures he is regularly briefed on.
There is evidence for both. There is no third possibility.
So then, again we ask: Is it truly the consensus, among the ruling class, that this behavior is within the acceptable bounds of the presidency? That prior presidents who held closer to the truth in their pronouncements were, if anything, foolish for not taking advantage of the same power? Will the next president be held to the same standard Donald Trump and his omnipresent enablers have set forth, or will the next president be expected to revert back to previous standards of decency?
Is anyone in the Republican Party so much as contemplating this? And if not now, is there some future cliff edge from which the current buffoon will not be allowed to jump? Could we get that perhaps spelled out for us in advance, assembled dignitaries of our upper classes?