Can Trump tell the difference between truth and his lies?

Trump issues so many plainly untrue statements that one must wonder if he’s divorced from reality.

This is more important than a few executive orders signed by President Donald Trump. It’s more important than his nominations for positions in his administration. It’s even more important than who gets appointed to the Supreme Court, or whether Obamacare gets repealed.

Nothing in the headlines these days is more important than this: The President of the United States is divorced from reality, unable to tell the difference between the truth and what he wants to be true. In August, much of the American press finally broke out the word “lie” to describe many of Trump’s statements, but that’s not enough. Reporters must now press the president to explain if he believes these statements to be true and why. Plenty of politicians deceive, but one who cannot discern reality from fiction is dangerous.

Read more details at http://europe.newsweek.com/trump-difference-truth-lies-552292

A Lie by Any Other Name

From Charles Blow:

This is not a presentation of “alternative facts,” whatever that may mean, as Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s mistress of misdirection, posited over the weekend.

These are lies; good old-fashioned lies, baldfaced and flat-out lies.

Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged.

Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science.

And Trump for his part continues to rage about three to five million illegal votes causing him to lose the popular vote in November. This, too, is a lie. A lie. Not the euphemisms you hear on television, like “unsubstantiated,” or “unproven,” or “baseless.” It is a lie, pure and simple.

But Trump won’t let it go. His pride is hurt, his vanity tarnished. The man who prides himself on winning lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million votes, the biggest popular vote loss by a winning candidate in American history. That stings.

So, even after his lie is reported and rejected, he continues to perpetuate it. This is what makes Trump qualitatively different from our leaders who came before him: He believes that truth is what he says it is, and the only reason it has yet to be accepted is that it has yet to be sufficiently repeated.

We all have to adjust to this unprecedented assault on the truth and stand ready to vigilantly defend against it, because without truth, what’s left? Our president is a pathological liar. Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it.

full column: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/opinion/a-lie-by-any-other-name.html

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

Conway calls Trump’s lies “alternative facts”

A top adviser to President Donald Trump on Sunday said White House press secretary Sean Spicer provided “alternative facts” to reporters during his first briefing.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving, Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” Conway said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Host Chuck Todd fired back at Conway over her comments.
“Look, alternative facts are not facts,” said Chuck Todd. “They’re falsehoods.”

ref: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/315527-conway-spicer-used-alternative-facts-in-press-briefing

Trump creates a hellscape of lies and distorted reality

From a Washington Post column by Margaret Sullivan:

Consider, for example, the saga of Serge Kovaleski, the highly regarded New York Times reporter whose disability limits the use of his arms.

Yes, this is the reporter whom Trump mocked during the campaign — waving his arms in a crude but unmistakable imitation of Kovaleski’s movements. When criticized for doing so, Trump vehemently denied that mocking Kovaleski was even possible because he didn’t know him. (Which was also a lie.) All this, because Trump wanted to promote a myth — talk about “fake news” — that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11, which he falsely claimed Kovaleski reported while working at The Washington Post. Any reasonable person looking back at the facts would find that ­absurd.

How to deal with these endless lies? That’s the challenge facing us as we go forward into the Trump hellscape of lies and distorted reality.

Full column at https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-hellscape-of-lies-and-distorted-reality-awaits-journalists-covering-president-trump/2017/01/15/3656a17e-d90f-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html