Trump closes out 2018 as he began it: as a liar
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler gives us the Trump lie count, 2018 version.
When 2018 began, the president had made 1,989 false and misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database, which tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. By the end of the year, Trump had accumulated more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency — averaging more than 15 erroneous claims a day during 2018, almost triple the rate from the year before.
Observers continue to battle between themselves as to whether Trump’s lying is intentional, in that he mostly knows he’s lying but doesn’t care, or is inadvertent, because he is abso-tootly out-of-his-gourd delusional and cannot distinguish between reality and the fictions he invents in his own head. It does not matter. If it’s the first, he lacks the basic character to be in the office; if it’s the second, he is medically unfit for the position.
But having a president who lies, constantly and about everything, is genuinely bad on its own. This should not be controversial; if anything, it has been so taken for granted in the past that our presidents would act with at least a scrap of integrity that now that we’re actually facing, head-on, someone who lacks it, the press, pundits, and political establishment seem stymied as to how to even react. The reaction ought to be obvious: You disassociate from that person. You condemn them. You stop the dance of trying to interpret why the craven liar is lying to you, and recognize that constant, every-single-speech lying is itself disqualifying behavior for which there must be public consequences.
Whatever the underlying medical or non-medical cause, Trump’s insistence on telling myriad lies to the American public has ratcheted up in proportion to the pressure he is under, and by “pressure” we largely mean the investigation into Russian election-tampering and whether Donald Trump’s team directly knew of and/or assisted in those hostile foreign efforts. It’s going to get worse in 2019 as the investigation comes to a head. You know it, I know it, he knows it, everybody knows it.
The man’s obsessive, narcissistic, and frequently delusional behavior is transparently dangerous and a menace to democracy. That is obvious. There’s no debate to be had about whether his lies are good or bad, whether they are strategic or tactical or just ignorant and ranting. He is just a liar. He is willing to do immeasurable harm to his nation rather than suffer the smallest slight or admit the smallest failure. It will continue until it no longer works; it will no longer work only when lawmakers from his own party decide it should not.