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Believing Comey — and in Trump’s steady approval rating

Of course, if the question is whether to believe Comey or Trump, it’s not even close. 

James Comey
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Perhaps the James Comey moment is passing, although he’s still around. I watched and read half a zillion of his interviews. But William Saletan of Slate claims to have consumed them all, across audio, video and print. And his conclusion, which is the title of his piece: “Believe James Comey.”

Specifically, Saletan means that on any matter over which Comey and Donald Trump disagree, believe Comey.

I also find Comey very credible, not just because I find Trump so much less credible, but because Comey put on a clinic about how to project credibility. He doesn’t flatter himself. He doesn’t speculate. If he doesn’t know the answer to a question he’s asked, he says “I don’t know.”

Of course, if the question is whether to believe Comey or Trump, it’s not even close. It seems that we almost need a word other than “lie” to describe Trump’s firehose stream of falsehoods and exaggerations. We can only speculate about whether even he, the author of the lies, is aware of the falsehood of what he just uttered or whether he recognizes that the dichotomy of truth and lies applies to his utterances.

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By genius or something else, he has figured out that a significant minority of Americans – enough, especially in the swing states, to get him elected – will accept blatant falsehoods rather than face plain truths about modern times, about the world, and about their leader.

Since this piece is short, and since I haven’t updated my regular tracking of the Trumpian approval rating in more than a month, here’s the update (which is pretty similar to most of the updates): No real change.

As of Friday morning, the HuffPost average of many polls on the current incumbent’s approval ratings is 41.9 percent approval; 52.3 percent disapproval. This represents a small change from the HuffPost average from late March, when it was 43.1/52.7.

Look at the whole trendline and you’ll see that they have basically been flat, with a very small, statistically insignificant improvement throughout 2018.

The current once-a-week Gallup approval number, 42 approval/53 disapproval, matches the HuffPost average, although last week’s Gallup number (38/57) was worse. The best conclusion looking at all these numbers, once again, is that they are unchanged, just as Trump’s basic presentation of who and what he is remains unchanged.