September 28, 2020

Trump may be no good at leading America – but he’s really, really good at lying

It’s outrageous to say that Donald Trump is good at nothing.

He may be no good at leading the country through a pandemic and recession. He may be no good at healing a nation that is deeply scarred by racist power. He may be no good at diplomacy with his allies, or even recognising America’s enemies for what they are.

But he is really, really good at lying. An Olympic-standard, Guinness Book of Records fabricator of falsehoods. He regurgitates lies as rapidly and copiously as Joey Chestnut swallows hotdogs.

Trump represents the historic high-water mark for verbal cheating, which is surely the only part of his short legacy that will feature in US history exams in 2030.

According to the exhausted and exhaustive factchecking team at the Washington Post, Trump’s rate of lying is shaped remarkably like the country’s exponential rise in Covid-19 cases.

It took him 827 days to reach his first 10,000 lies, but just 440 days to reach his second 10,000 lies.

The team’s forensic book on the subject calls this “his assault on truth”. But it’s really an assault on our ability to understand what truth looks and sounds like.

This is nothing new for Trump, but it is something new for a democratic nation that proudly used to call itself the leader of the free world.

Credibility was one of the most potent weapons in America’s arsenal of soft power. The kind of potency that allowed Kennedy’s secretary of state to convince Charles de Gaulle to support his case against the Soviet Union in the Cuban missile crisis. Based on Kennedy’s word, not the photographic evidence.

Today America’s credibility has been contorted to protect the feelings of one man-child, not the security of a nation. That’s why someone like Anthony Fauci is so deeply offensive to the factory of fraud built inside this White House.

Fauci is the most senior expert on Trump’s coronavirus task force, but he says he hasn’t briefed the president in two months. In that time, the daily number of new American cases has tripled to more than 60,000.

Rather than deal with the underlying raging wildfire, Trump’s team set about attacking the man best placed to quell the inferno. According to multiple news organisations, the White House sprayed out its oppo research about all the times Fauci supposedly got things wrong.

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