Trump’s endless lying threatens his ability to govern and even exasperates GOP leaders

In the first five days of his presidency, Donald Trump has put the enormous power of the nation’s highest office behind spurious — and easily disproved — claims.

He began with trivial falsehoods about the size of the crowds at his inauguration but has since escalated a graver claim that undermines the trustworthiness of the nation’s electoral system. In a White House reception Monday night for congressional leaders, Trump alleged that as many as 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, denying him a popular-vote majority.

It was a claim that Trump had made in the aftermath of the election, with no evidence to back it up.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, whose own credibility has been undercut during his first week on the job, offered no evidence Tuesday to back up the president’s claim.

“The president does believe that,” Spicer said. “He has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign, and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”

Beliefs, however, are not the same as facts. Pressed to produce the basis upon which Trump bases his assertion, Spicer claimed that a 2008 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts “showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens. There’s other studies that have been presented to him. It’s a belief he maintains.”

Pew made no such finding. Its study, it has noted, was issued in 2012 and dealt with inaccurate, outdated voter registration rolls. It did not address large-scale voter fraud.

Trump’s attraction to conspiracy theories and his contempt for facts that tarnish his pride may have serious implications for his ability to govern.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was a stalwart Trump supporter, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that he was mystified by Trump’s claim about illegal voters — and by his motivations for bringing it up.

“I have no evidence whatsoever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there are that many illegal people who voted,” Huckabee said. “And frankly it doesn’t matter. He’s the president, and whether 20 million people voted, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump’s claim “undermines faith in our democracy. It’s not coming from a candidate for office. It’s coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was a stalwart Trump supporter, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that he was mystified by Trump’s claim about illegal voters — and by his motivations for bringing it up.

“I have no evidence whatsoever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there are that many illegal people who voted,” Huckabee said.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump’s claim “undermines faith in our democracy. It’s not coming from a candidate for office. It’s coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”

On Saturday, the new president stood at CIA headquarters, before a wall of stars memorializing slain officers, and claimed that a dishonest media had refused to report the true size of the crowd on the Mall for his inauguration. Trump offered his own estimate of “a million, a million and a half people.”

Later that day, he dispatched Spicer to the White House briefing room, where the press secretary — in his first formal encounter in that setting with the reporters who cover the president — rattled off another round of unproven figures and contended that the crowd represented “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe.”

On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway compounded the damage in a contentious interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” in which she said: “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”

ref: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-disregard-for-the-truth-threatens-his-ability-to-govern/2017/01/24/945c81aa-e272-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *