Fact-checking Trump: The need has only risen since the inauguration

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room on Monday.

President Donald Trump lies often, lies obviously, seldom retracts or acknowledges the lies and pretty much never apologizes for them. The lies are usually either self-aggrandizing, unfairly disparaging of other individuals or whole groups, or, in several of the recent instances, the lies have been bizarrely and transparently false efforts to strike back at someone who has said something less than worshipful about Trump himself.

To me, this behavior encompasses an impressive number of character failings just on the single topic of honesty. His lying was so extreme and unrepentant that journalists have felt obliged to break from their former norms, of simply pointing out the inaccuracies, to a practice of calling many of his statements “lies.”

Anyone who cared to know that Trump is a habitual liar knew it a long time ago. Almost 62 million U.S. voters either didn’t know this, didn’t care, didn’t consider it disqualifying or at least found it to be more than offset by his many other fine qualities. I’m still trying to understand that last part, but I freely admit that I have not be able to fully grasp the phenomenon.

We’ve seen dishonest politicians before, but I’m not sure we’ve seen anything of this magnitude. There’s no reason to believe that he is going to mend his ways (and why should he, after all since his mendacity didn’t impede and may even have facilitated his rise to the presidency?) So the question perhaps is what are we, who still attach some importance to facts and honesty, to do about it?

At the moment, all I can think of is to try not to get tired of pointing out the lies; try not to slip into apathy at the endless task of pointing out the lies. We are greatly aided in this endeavor by the rise of a subgenre of journalism that has arisen over recent years devoted directly to fact-checking. The big national papers have full-time fact-checking operations. My own favorite is the original fact-checking site (as far as I know), FactCheck.org, which isn’t tied to a specific newspaper and is available free on the Worldwide Web. FactCheck is calm and staid and doesn’t score the lies on a scale of “Pinocchios” or rate the biggest lies as “Pants on Fire.” But FactCheck is my fave.

So, in that spirit, and especially in the spirit alluded to above of not just “normalizing” Trump’s blizzard of lies, here is the summary first paragraph of FactCheck’s discussion of Trump’s claim, in his recent meeting with members of the U.S. intelligence community, that the idea that his “feud” with the U.S. intelligence community was itself a fiction made up by the lying media.

“President Trump engaged in revisionist history when he accused the “dishonest” media of making “it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.” In fact, Trump made numerous disparaging remarks about the U.S. intelligence community.”

The full FactCheck piece on the topic, with the details, is here.

In truth, Trump recently compared intelligence officials to Nazis, but that’s ancient history (almost a month old, before the existence of papyrus on which such statements could be recorded). And, anyway, he said it to a group of reporters, so it may not count, because they probably just made it up. But oops, he also said that in a tweet so it does count.  

Trump also rejected for quite a while the intelligence community’s finding that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election in order to help him get elected. He has since acknowledged – and this is a rare, praiseworthy moment, that he might have been wrong about that – but, true to the essence of his character, he neither retracted his earlier statements, nor apologized for them. He just said, yeah, maybe Russia did. Although it was a pitiful effort to show that he could back down on one of his ridiculous claims, it was way too little, way too late.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but between the time I finished this piece (or at least the parts above this paragraph), but hadn’t yet sent it to my editors, Trump decided to dust off one of his already rejected previous lies, and give it a fresh shot.

As you may know, Hillary Clinton got almost 3 million more popular votes than Trump in November. That is, by a huge margin, the biggest margin by which any previous president lost the popular while still winning the electoral vote. It’s about six times better than the margin by which George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 to Al Gore.

 Trump and some of his minions made up a lie that Trump had actually won the popular vote but his victory had been stolen by fraud. Trump tweeted about that, too. To my knowledge, Trump never produced an iota of evidence to back up this utter, pitiful falsehood. Then the lie went away. But apparently the wound to Trump’s ego of winning in this fashion apparently never fully subsided. Or perhaps there is some other explanation, but it is surely within the realm of psychiatry.

And so, after (as I just mentioned) I had finished writing this piece, the New York Times reports that yet again, at his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday, Mr. Trump said again that he actually won the total national popular vote except for the millions of illegal votes cast against him by immigrants who are in the country illegally and are therefore not eligible to vote.

If he is ever able to prove this, I will certainly apologize. Until such proof is convincingly adduced, I will cite this as merely the latest backup for the several things I said in the first paragraph above about Trump’s strange (or estranged) relationship to the truth.

Meanwhile, in other not-real-definitely-made-up news, New Yorker-based satirist Andy Borowitz’s latest column is headlined “Trump Creates Ten Million Jobs for Fact-Checkers.”

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Comments (47)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/24/2017 - 11:22 am.

    The Trumpian Hordes

    I would think that if we were to poll:

    Do you believe telling the truth is the good and right thing to do?

    Truth would get a 90+ percent approval rating. As it gradually settles in on the populace that Trump truly is a different animal on this than any of his Presidential predecessors or political contemporaries (and Factcheck and Politifact clearly document this) will their be consequences?

    And the only consequences that could make must of a difference (other than impeachment) would be if his loyal supporters begin to abandon him in significant numbers.

    He’s not going to build the wall, he’s not going to make Mexico pay for it, he’s not deporting every illegal alien he can find, he’s not banning Muslims, he’s not eliminating every least Islamic terrorist. All the stuff he pledged to do will turn out to be pseudo-lies and these will be over-layed by daily provable lies on things mundane (inauguration attendance) to critical (Russian hacking).

    Will the Trump core eventually flee? Will single digit popularity and the public hostility that comes with it give us a President in full lock down, not unlike the Summer of 1974 and Nixon?

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/24/2017 - 11:56 am.

      In Answer to Your Closing Question

      Yes,…

      unless the Republican-controlled Congress decides to pull the plug through impeachment,…

      they already have ample grounds.

      They’d likely prefer a President Pence,…

      which would amount to a massive bait and switch,…

      but the damage a Pence administration would do,…

      will make Trump’s reign look like a sunny-day stroll in the park.

      • Submitted by Joel Stegner on 01/25/2017 - 11:46 am.

        Pence would be worse?

        Do you really think so? Does Pence arouse any passion? Is Pence going to be dishonest and vindictive like Trump? No way in the world. He will not continue to wage the full frontal attack on democracy that s true of Trump. Sure, his positions on a bunch of issues is highly problematic, but he is normal enough to care about the consequences of his actions.

        When you were talking George W. Bush with Dick Cheney, I might agree with you but the notion that anyone could be worse than Trump is hard to swallow.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/24/2017 - 11:41 am.

    Headlines

    What I have been noticing is that the fact checking function has moved from columns to the headlines. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post are now stating that Trump is either lying or issuing false statements in the headline. I suspect there have been internal meetings about this at both papers, and that we are now seeing the result.

    I have been thinking about the deeper issues raised when we have a president who has little interest in maintaining credibility. Trump not only says false things, he doesn’t really care if you believe him or not. How far into federal government will this extend? If the president isn’t credible, are the members of his cabinet not credible as well? Will statistics compiled by the executive branch no longer be seen as credible?

    During the next four years, there will be times when it will be important and valuable to know what the president’s position on any given might be. Since his words do not correspond to his beliefs, how will we go about ascertaining his real views. His aide, Ms. Conway, suggests that we pay attention not to what’s in his words, but what’s in his heart. Is there a way of determining that short of a Cat scan?

  3. Submitted by paulprice2027 Price on 01/24/2017 - 12:35 pm.

    National Day of Patriotic Devotion, adding to the mix

    The Washington Post has published a news story that President Trump declared his day of inauguration a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”. Here is the link to the Proclamation published in the Federal Register: http://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/24/2017-01798/national-day-of-patriotic-devotion.

  4. Submitted by Bill Phillips on 01/24/2017 - 12:38 pm.

    voter fraud again, sigh

    This whole issue of illegal immigrant voter fraud has always seemed nonsensical to me – there’s no benefit for the illegal immigrant, it’s a felony, and it has to occur in a public place that is monitored. Why would anyone here who is seeking a better life, an income to send home, or personal safety risk everything to commit such a senseless crime? It has been used as a justification for voter ID requirements that have, for the most part, served to disenfranchise legitimate voters who are homeless, have names similar to disenfranchised felons, or who are otherwise transient or unsettled. And now, to have our new president making completely unsubstantiated claims that millions of such immigrants acted to deny him a popular majority in the election goes beyond the nonsensical into the realm of paranoid fantasy. He won the election, but apparently can’t move on. Sad for him; sad for us all.

    • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 01/24/2017 - 01:53 pm.

      The numbers don’t even add up

      There are roughly 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, about 8M from Mexico and Central America. Exit polls show hispanic turnout of roughly 50% among citizens and only 66% voted for Hillary. If you want 3M net illegal votes in Hillary’s column then you need 9M illegal voters or 90% turnout of illegal immigrants of voting age. Minnesota led the nation with 74% turnout. The idea that turnout among illegal immigrants was higher than any other part of the population is ludicrous. It’s not even that the statement that Hillary’s popular vote margin came from illegal votes is false. The statement is not possible. He may as well state that her margin came from dogs and cats voting.

      http://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000845

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/25/2017 - 08:00 am.

      And now . . . . . .

      And now he’s calling for a “major investigation” into voter fraud. Anything to prop up his poor fragile ego, I guess:

      http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/25/politics/trump-calls-for-major-investigation-into-voter-fraud/index.html

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/25/2017 - 09:10 am.

        I Don’t Oppose this Investigation

        Let’s make sure it includes the states Trump won. Let’s see how many illegal votes were cast in Florida or Wisconsin.

        Because it’s all about the integrity of the system, right, Mr. President?

  5. Submitted by Bill Kahn on 01/24/2017 - 01:08 pm.

    Seems like if POTUS thinks we’ve got massive voter fraud going on, we should conduct a careful recount of all fifty states, territories, and D.C. Trump folks inexplicably stopped a few in court, though, so it doesn’t really jive with his rhetoric.

  6. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/24/2017 - 02:31 pm.

    What makes Trump tic?

    Not to defend Trump or his strange relationship with the Truth or reality, but I was curious to know why some of his supporters were trying to defend his conduct in which he seems to be mocking a reporter. I investigated and found one site which made a plausible argument in Trump’s defense that he was not mocking the reporter but exhibiting a certain pantomime “mugging tic”, I’ll call it, which we commonly observe in everyday informal conversations when we describe our conversations with another person to a third person using our own voice and the voice of the other person. This site supported their defense with several clips of Trump’s “mugging tic” similar to the more famous one where Trump is talking to his audience and trying to give his version of a conversation with a general or some other personage “playing” himself and that other person.

    It’s odd mainly because people don’t use that form of informal conversational tone in speaking to large crowds or in political speeches. This sort of “mugging tic” seems to be part of his way of communicating, like his tweeting, a way which I suspect is strongly connected with his flinging off whatever pops into his head regardless of the Truth. I think Eric is right in thinking an explanation for Trumps behavior or pattern of communication is in psychiatry. But maybe we ought, as suggested in a New York Times article I read this Sunday, learn how to listen to him without losing our own grip on reality and the Truth.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2017 - 08:11 am.

      Trump was mocking, not impersonating

      Trump was mocking the reporter, that fact that he has a mocking “style” that uses to mock everyone he mocks doesn’t change that fact. And as with all his mocking, Trump is lying in that he’s distorting the how people actually behave and what they way. The fact that Trumps “mocks” bear no resemblance to the people he’s mocking is actually the point, he’s substituting his deranged fantasy for the actual statements.

  7. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 01/24/2017 - 03:14 pm.

    Several weeks ago

    Kellyanne Conway said we should not listen to what Trump says, but what is in his heart. I have to listen to his mouth to hear that is in his heart and I don’t like it. I can’t imagine having a job like Conway’s or Spicer’s having to defend everything that comes out of Trumps mouth. Their credibility drops to zero, right along side of Trump’s, in very short order.

    Impeaching Trump doesn’t fix anything when Pence is the replacement. It is going to be a very rough 4 years. Hopefully voter take this as a wakeup call the next time around.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/25/2017 - 09:39 am.

      Pence is not Trump

      He’s very conservative and I don’t like him, but he has a voting record that is consistent.
      I doubt that he would be into craziness like The Wall.

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/24/2017 - 03:18 pm.

    An informative read with respect to government run by a person (and their supporters) who lies.

    (quote)

    One tends to imagine life in an autocratic regime as dominated by fear and oppression: armed men in the street, total surveillance, chanted slogans, and whispered secrets. It is probably a version of that picture that has been flitting lately through the nightmares of American liberals fretting about the damage a potential autocrat might do to an open society. But residents of a hybrid regime such as Russia’s — that is, an autocratic one that retains the façade of a democracy — know the Orwellian notion is needlessly romantic. Russian life, I soon found out, was marked less by fear than by cynicism: the all-pervasive idea that no institution is to be trusted, because no institution is bigger than the avarice of the person in charge. This cynicism, coupled with endless conspiracy theories about everything, was at its core defensive (it’s hard to be disappointed if you expect the worst). But it amounted to defeatism. And, interestingly, the higher up the food chain you moved, the more you encountered it. Now that Russia has begun to export this Weltanschauung around the world, in the form of nationalist populism embodied here by Donald Trump, I am increasingly tempted to look at my years there for pointers on what to expect in America.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/lessons-from-putins-russia-for-living-in-trumps-america.html

    (end quote)

  9. Submitted by Joe Musich on 01/24/2017 - 08:34 pm.

    Creating cynicism ….

    as a political practice intentional or otherwise to maintain power is almost too calculating for me to about this group of bumblers. They each clearly have their own outcomes in mind. However each and everyone of them was for the most part some sort of business leader in their own right. These cats are hiding their own personal interests to stay in favor with he who shall go unnamed in the short term. As the days pass by and the workers need to play greater roles and the sinking ship of state gels as a structure each business leader will either have to shut up something up. These cats are not the people that can do that. Each and everyone of them takes orders from no one. When each thinks that that have what they came for the “federation” of fools will disintegrate. Or possibly he who shall go unnamed will implode. It will be a race to see what comes first. This is not Lincoln welcoming opponents into his government. This is a man who uses people for his own benefit. His choices are of the same character. They in the end will likely viciously compete or it could become the largest lawsuit between government (loosely using the term) officials. Motormouth Conway will not be able to keep this group together. As far as a tactic to upset this group, a whisper campaign might be the best way to initiate the crumbling of (would be fun to use the name here because it almost rhymes with crumbling) he who shall go unnamed. Ya know something like a reporter asking a question off the record, “We have a source that says you Mr President intend be the person who will make the sole decision about how any monies the US gaines from a relationship with Gasprom ?” Well use your imagination. I guess what I am saying each of these personalities have already demonstrated they too big to trust anyone in a business relationship. VEEP on steroids and in real life coming to a Theater of Politics to you soon.

  10. Submitted by Roy Everson on 01/25/2017 - 07:37 am.

    Cut Fearless Leader slack

    Why do his diehard supporters accept his lies? Easy, he is king of their tribe, he is head of the White Peoples tribe who has made his disdain for non-white people perfectly clear to them. He is their champ, period. To them Trump’s lies are just a means of driving the PC crowd nuts. As my old poly-sci instructor (and retired State Dept. careerist) often said : “He may be an SOB, but he is OUR SOB.”

  11. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/25/2017 - 10:03 am.

    Why:

    Can’t Trump tell the truth? To Paraphrase Colonel Nathan R. Jesup , because, he can’t handle the truth!

  12. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 01/25/2017 - 10:56 am.

    Conspiracies

    Of course, it doesn’t help the cause of facts and truth that Trump has surrounded himself with ‘advisors’ who are notorious conspiracy theorists, so he has a never-ending source of ‘alternative facts’ to distract him from reality.

  13. Submitted by Misty Martin on 01/25/2017 - 11:32 am.

    Mr. Black, please don’t ever stop writing!

    Mr. Black:

    I just want to say that I SO enjoy your “take” on this whole ‘circus’ that has been created, ever since Trump won the Presidency. One of the greatest enjoyments of my life now is reading your latest articles on this whole situation, and I learn so many facts that I otherwise would not know.

    Thank you so much for your gift to the world. To be informed of what’s going on is a great blessing and privilege, and thanks for helping do just that.

  14. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 01/25/2017 - 12:25 pm.

    I think…

    Any explanation for Trump’s behavior that ascribes it to some hidden motive or other adult-level choice is wrong. He lies and argues at the level of a four or five year old. He believes in the magic that a five-year old believes in. And because he is rich and powerful there are many who will support his beliefs because of what they gain personally. And for people like Spicer and Conway and others, they will put their own selfish interests ahead of what is good for this country.

    Trump has spent the last several years undermining our democracy and institutions for the same reason a five-year old says, “I hate you Mommy”. I don’t see how he can survive the next four years as president without destroying our form of government and imposing a dictatorship.

  15. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/25/2017 - 01:08 pm.

    We know that Trump lies to protect himself from any perception that he is not A Winner. According to the brilliant documentary Frontline did (“The Choice,” a dual biography of Trump and Hillary Clinton, done before the election), Trump’s method when he loses some contest are first, to deny that he lost; second, to find someone or something to blame for what appears to be a loss; last, to deny that there even was an issue in the first place. [Check his method on the “birther” issue.]

    In the voter fraud case, i late October 2016 he began alleging that voter fraud on a massive scale would be–in the near future–the cause of his losing the 2016 election. That was when his poll numbers were so far down that his own staff told him he was going to lose to Clinton–he started to set up The Big Excuse for Donald’s not coming out on top. Then, to everyone’s surprise, he won the electoral college tally by beating Clinton very narrowly in four states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan (total from all four: fewer than 100,000 advantage to Trump).

    But since then he has been forced to acknowledge as a fact that Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by almost 3 million more than Trump got. He can’t get by that, he can’t let it go. So he picked up the Excuse again: voter fraud.

    Trump know he’s lying about such fraud. But he will attempt to dominate the narrative, as Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway put it, by loudly bleating about some national investigation, so we will drop the issue–like with the non-revelation of his tax returns where something really ugly hides, Trump will answer all questions about his lie on voter fraud by saying that a really big, really important investigation [an audit, so to speak!] is underway so he can’t comment on it.

    Trump is undermining his own election: We’ve all accepted that he won the Electoral College ballot and that makes him President even though most of us wanted someone else. But he himself doesn’t believe that that tally is enough.

    If Trump were a more admirable figure, he would now be in the midst of becoming truly a tragic figure. Someone to pity.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/26/2017 - 12:13 pm.

      Compare

      “Trump’s method when he loses some contest are first, to deny that he lost; second, to find someone or something to blame for what appears to be a loss; last, to deny that there even was an issue in the first place.” So let’s see: Democrats lost the election and then: 1. Denied that they lost (Trump is not legitimate, we won popular vote); 2. Found someone (everyone) to blame (Comey, the Russians, etc.); 3. Deny that this loss matters because people are on their side anyway.

      • Submitted by Helen Hunter on 01/29/2017 - 08:29 pm.

        No comparison!

        Those of us who voted for the sane and qualified candidate 1) don’t deny that the present resident of the White House won the electoral college vote. Since such a thing has happened, we see that it’s time to get rid of the electoral college. (It was thought up both to give the slaveholder Fathers of Our Country more political clout than they would have had under DEMOCRACY, and also because those Fathers didn’t trust ordinary people (white men at the time) to know enough to pick the “right” candidates; i.e., the ones the Fathers wanted in.)
        2). Comey and the Russians did influence the election against Secretary Clinton.
        and 3) we certainly DO NOT deny that this loss matters! That’s why we’re on the streets and on the phones, and will be until the Federal government is in the hands of normal people again.

  16. Submitted by chuck holtman on 01/25/2017 - 03:26 pm.

    We know that Mr. Trump’s pathology

    requires that he lie constantly. We also can read much being published lately as to the role that the constant lie, the pointless lie and the big lie play in establishing and maintaining autocratic government: demarcating and cementing loyalty; forcing opponents to openly declare themselves; neutering the press; and eliminating the possibility of advocacy by reasons, thereby ensuring that power is the only available justification for any action. So is Trump’s pathological lying merely a part of his makeup, is it intentional toward establishing an autocracy, or does it suggest that those with his pathology are best suited to form autocracies because their pathological behavior, by happenstance, is just the sort that propels an incipient autocracy forward? A fascinating question, though I wish it were an academic one.

    On the more specific matter of Trump’s lies about illegal votes, I fear that everyone is missing the ball. Again, Rove 101: the best defense is to charge the other side with whatever you’re trying to hide. It’s quite irrefutable that from the Senate and electoral college structures all the way down thru gerrymandering, voter list purging, an endless cornucopia of vote suppression methods, and differential time burdens to vote (and even leaving wholly aside the conspiratorial but vast world of vote hacking), the votes of some demographics count a lot more than the votes of others so as to systematically skew results. The Democrats shouldn’t be statically defensive in the face of Trump’s ridiculous claims, they should be making a full-throated assault, analytically and rhetorically, on both the structural and the corrupt ways that the vote cumulatively is skewed.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/25/2017 - 05:14 pm.

      Excellent Point!

      Been my stance all along: Its war, quit bringing good will to a gun fight!

      • Submitted by Helen Hunter on 01/29/2017 - 08:38 pm.

        Please, no war imagery

        I used to use it. Our language is littered with war and violence images (kill two birds with one stone).
        We can’t get to our desired result (trump and all his kind out of power, but also a decent country to live in for all of us) by using these ideas.

  17. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/25/2017 - 04:21 pm.

    Re Charles Holtman’s list of acts tending to indicate autocracy, “forcing opponents to openly declare themselves”: On Saturday, Donald Trump went to CIA headquarters and–among other rambling statements–told the assembled spies and analysts that it had occurred to him to ask that the assembled CIA indicate that they had voted for him by a show of hands.

    He didn’t ask them to do that, in the end. But it chilled me to the bone that he would even think of requiring CIA personal loyalty. Or think of finding a way to single out CIA people who didn’t vote for him.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2017 - 08:17 am.

      Yeah, that CIA thing was disgusting

      Trump was in a room full of very smart people bragging about his intelligence and knowledge to people who knew almost everything he was saying was pure crap. I wonder if he’ll ever know how embarrassing and ludicrous that was?

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2017 - 09:10 am.

    It’s nice to see the media stay on top of this

    I agree with Eric that journalist and others need to document and expose Trump’s (and Congresses) ongoing dishonesty but I think Trump’s strategy is clear. He’s literally flooding us with so many lies and bogus claims it’s hard to keep up, so what does that mean in terms of an effective response?

    The advantage Trumps barrage gives him is that it will become fatiguing and tedious to cover in a relatively short order. While the vast majority of people will know he’s a liar, and they he can’t be trusted, they’ll stop paying attention on a day to day basis until really big stuff breaks through the daily din. The other advantage it gives Trump is that it keeps his actions and name on the front pages and in the headlines, this is all a megalomaniac needs, it’s been his lifelong dream. In practical political terms his supporters, regardless of their actual numbers will celebrate the frustration and disruption he’s inflicting on the media while everyone else will drift away. The final advantage that focusing on his bogus claims give him is it may distract from more substantive coverage.

    For instance, what’s really important today, his resuscitated voter fraud claims, or his executive orders? I’m not seeing anything about how the government can actually carry out his orders, especially in the midst of a hiring freeze? What are the legalities of his orders? He can’t just say: “build a wall” and it will be so, congress has to pass some legislation. He can’t just take the money away from “sanctuary” cities and put it into the wall. And what exactly IS a: “Sanctuary” city, I mean legally, how can a city like MPLS be accused of “harboring” undocumented workers? And what about all this attempts to gag federal agencies? What are republican lawmakers actually doing about all of this? Are we really keeping out eye on the ball by focusing on his lies? After all, he’s not the first president to lie and frankly so far his lies are pretty harmless compared to the ones that got us into the Iraq War. In this way Trump can actually turn his dishonesty into a political advantage if the media focuses on bogus voter fraud claims instead of substantive policy.

    Absolutely the dishonesty and duplicity of Trump and his republican allies needs to be covered on a regular basis, but not at the expense of more in depth policy proposals.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/26/2017 - 04:13 pm.

      Dog training

      It’s the same thing as a dog training strategy called “flooding” where you expose the animal to so much of the stimuli that eventually the animal is overwhelmed and ceases to respond.

      He’s treating the American people as if they were a bunch of dogs.

  19. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/26/2017 - 12:15 pm.

    Maybe

    All politicians lie… But people may not care if Trump lies about irrelevant things if he doesn’t about significant ones AND does things to improve people’s lives. Sure, it is a hypothetical idea and we have to wait and see if that will happen but why not? How many people attended an inauguration and why he lost popular vote are irrelevant and unimportant questions that Trump should not have brought up and/or addressed… but it equally applies to media.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2017 - 03:44 pm.

      Uh huh

      People who lie about little things (and not all things Trump lies about are little things. Russian cyber attacks and the CIA are not “little” things in my book) tend to lie even more when big things are at stake.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/27/2017 - 07:38 am.

        Big and small

        Trump didn’t lie about Russians – he said he didn’t believe in it, which is different. On the other hand, all people lie about little things which doesn’t necessarily mean that they lie about big things do we will have to wait and see.

        • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/27/2017 - 09:28 am.

          We cannot let right-wingers normalize Donald Trump’s serial lying: There has never been an American politician who lies as regularly and as egregiously on major and minor issues as Donald Trump. He makes things up out of thin air, then pounds them in as if by repetition he can “make a lie true” (he did this all the time in his campaign rallies).

          We are in absolutely new territory here. No past president has ever tried to lie to the American people as Trump has lied to us, and continues to lie. And all the Trump supporters seem to want is that we accept lies as the norm. No.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/27/2017 - 01:23 pm.

          Trump lied about the Russians

          Trump lied twice about the Russians thus far:

          1) He claimed he currently has no financial interests connected to Russia, a lie that was revealed when his son in law admitted significant Russian financial assets.
          2) He claimed that he’s never pursued any significant business deals in Russia, a lie revealed by the NYTs who discovered that Trump’s been trying to do business in Russia for over a decade.

          Look, here’s the thing, if you’re not bothered by Trump’s dishonesty, or if you minimize it by parsing the “size” or significance of his lies, you are simply not interested in integrity.

          As for myself, I don’t expect those who were not “bothered” by the lies that got us into the Iraq war to be “bothered” by Trumps lies no matter how “big” those lies may become. I would predict that no matter what level of dishonesty, deceit, or manipulation Trump rises to, such people will simply keep lowering the bar so as to keep claiming his lies are insignificant.

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/27/2017 - 06:16 pm.

            Consider this possibility

            Mr. Udstrand, you gave “Russian cyber attacks” as an example of big lies and I said that Trump did not lie about that one which is correct and you are bringing up now totally different things, still related to Russia but not what you mentioned the first time. And also getting back in history, there were no lies that got us into Iraq – none whatsoever.

            Now, my big problem with Trump from the very beginning was that I didn’t trust him to do what he said he would do and yet he is doing so far what he promised which makes people who voted for him happy. The rest of the stuff is silly and sometimes even stupid but still irrelevant to his actions – so far he hasn’t done anything based on lies. Now, maybe we should consider another thing: While the media and the left are up in arms about his lies about crowd size and illegal votes, he is doing what his voters wanted and the left are barely noticing being pre-occupied with his “lies.” Wasn’t he called a “master manipulator?”

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 01/29/2017 - 11:15 pm.

              I prefer to focus

              On his belief that his executive orders are beyond the rule of the federal judiciary. That and the belief that amongst his supporters this is perfectly A OK. Still think this is just another “bad president” Paul?

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/30/2017 - 12:20 pm.

                Bad president?

                Dude, you don’t think this is the FIRST president to think that he’s beyond the law do you? Nor is he the 1st president to have supporters regardless. He may be the first president to sink into negative approval rating after just 9 days in office however, which may make him a very bad president indeed.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 01/30/2017 - 01:31 pm.

                  So when federal agencies

                  Blatantly disregard the rule of law, insistence that legally elected representatives should “talk to Trump”, while federal agency staff actively deny human rights uand essentially label judicial orders meaningless, that is not a portent of anything. That assigning a propaganda master to the highest levels of national security governance is business as usual. That literally starting a domestic propoagnda network is no big deal. What’s its gonna take? Tiananmen Square style protest suppression? Based on the activities of the last few days, one can hardly count on agency staff to prevent it…

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/31/2017 - 10:41 am.

                    Dude….

                    This is what a bad presidency looks like, I’m not saying it’s a “good” thing. I’m just saying this isn’t the first criminal regime we’ve had in the White House. Trump could well turn out to be the worse president we’ve ever had, but then he will have been the worse president we ever had. Sure we resist bad presidents and try to hold them accountable to the law, but that’s what we always do, it’s not a “new” thing for Trump, although it may be a “new” thing for some complacent liberals who thought Bush and Cheney were “just” republicans.

                    I hate to say but progressives have been warning you guys about the ascendance of someone like Trump for decades but complacent liberals just kept normalizing sociopathic republicans and acting like all that mattered was the immediate election. So now you guys are the experts about bad presidents? I don’t think so.

            • Submitted by Steve Roth on 01/30/2017 - 03:51 pm.

              Really?

              “so far he hasn’t done anything based on lies”

              The start of his entire campaign was based on a lie: that there’s streams of “illegals” pouring over the border to sell drugs, steal jobs and to murder people.

              None of this stuff is silly. The media and the left are “up in arms” about crowd size and illegal votes precisely because Benito Cheeto continues – without prompting – which you have to wonder why this is – to bring it up, and wait for it – lie about it.

              Everytime someone rolls out the cavalcade of excuses about Trump I can’t help but wonder if their reaction would be the same if HRC were POTUS and doing the same things…

  20. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/28/2017 - 04:48 pm.

    I read in the Times today that even the White House staff is very concerned about Trump’s constant lying. In fact, some of that staff are quite concerned about the chaos of all this week’s rapid-fire Executive Orders on issues where he hasn’t even contacted or consulted the agencies involved. He’s doing this all alone, as dictators tend to do. He has, therefore, no idea whatsoever of the consequences of what he’s doing with those orders.

    Just what his supporters wanted: ignorant “orders” from the Boss Man who thinks he knows it all, when he knows terrifyingly almost nothing of what he’s doing.

    New lie yesterday: that the U.S. has somehow discriminated against Syrian Christians in admitting refugees, letting fewer Christians in than Muslims. Well, no, that’s untrue. He can say and repeat that until he’s blue in the face, and it’s still a li–almost the same amount of Christians and Muslims in 2016. (Sean Spicer is reduced now not to trying to claim that one of Trump’s lies is true, but only that “The President believes what he believes.” Oh, my).

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/30/2017 - 09:08 am.

      Concerned Staff

      Does the depths of their concern extend to quitting, and taking their concerns public?

      Last week, Charles Pierce reminded us of Jerald terHorst, President Ford’s first press secretary. For the first month of the Ford administration (interregnum?), Mr. terHorst had been assuring the public that there was no pardon planned for President Nixon. We kn ow how that turned out, but the significant part of the story is that Mr. terHorst quit in protest over having been made to lie.

      That is how you show concern about unethical behavior.

  21. Submitted by Steve Roth on 01/30/2017 - 03:58 pm.

    Basic Journalism

    That Trump is fact-checked on the front pages should not give anyone but the most hardened idealogues pause. Basic journalism – investigating the issue/story and reporting it, demands actual facts. Listening to Conway and Bannon decry and threaten the media means they really do know this – but want the media to kowtow and just parrot the press releases and Spicer-speak verbatim. The lies ARE the story, and the lies are found out by journalists digging and finding the facts.

    Now in Trump’s case, when you’re completely unhinged and you lie about things that there’s absolutely no reason to lie about – how can any reporter not write about that and not only what the messenger is trying to get him to buy into?

    Speaking of lies, its amazing to see folks doing Olympic-style gymnastics to figure out a way to NOT call a lie a lie (here’s looking at you, NPR)…

  22. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/31/2017 - 08:01 pm.

    Give guy a credit

    I am not here to defend Trump but everything he is doing he has actually promised… and it is logically following from his ideas. And of course his worst rating is the result of constant pounding from the media…

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