|Photo: Evan Vucci - A.P.|
I was driving with a conservative friend the other day and I mentioned the irony of President Trump maligning Joe Biden for his many verbal gaffes. I said that a guy who lies as much as Trump does has no business pointing his crooked finger at anyone. He told me that Trump doesn't really lie, that he merely exaggerates.
I think that is hogwash.
Take the most recent example, Trump blaming Obama for the problems with coronavirus testing.
“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion,” Mr. Trump said. “That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason it was made. But we’ve undone that decision.”The reality; Obama never enacted new policy on testing. His FDA proposed the idea of increasing oversight of medical testing to protect patients from being given tests they didn’t need and from inaccurate results. This proposal had broad popular support on both sides of Capitol Hill but it was never enacted and never became regulation. Instead, in January 2017, the Obama administration issued a “discussion paper” and left the matter up to Trump.
So you tell me, is this one a lie or an exaggeration? It is a familiar Trump gambit, throw something fuzzy at the wall with little connection to reality and see if it sticks, facts be damned. I would call it lying, at the very least it shows a recurring lack of intellectual integrity on the part of the President. The fact checker pegs the total number of Trump prevarications at 16,241 but that was almost two months ago and has certainly now been long since eclipsed.
And then there is Trump's hunch:
Donald Trump declared live on television on Wednesday night that he did not believe the World Health Organization’s assessment of the global death rate from coronavirus of 3.4%.Lie or exaggeration? Do you think he really had a "lot of conversations" with health care professionals who believe that 1% is the correct number or that the coronavirus symptoms are "very mild and don't even have to see a doctor" or did he make this up like he did with the soldiers returning from Iraq whose brain injuries were mere headaches?
“"I think the 3.4% number is really a false number. Now this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations ... personally, I'd say the number is way under 1%."“Now, this is just my hunch,” Trump began, before continuing that “based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild – they’ll get better very rapidly, they don’t even see a doctor, they don’t even call a doctor.”
He went on: “You never hear about those people, so you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population, in terms of this corona flu, and/or virus. So you just can’t do that.”
This sort of Trumpian embellishment is intentional and has a clear design. Where I come from, we have a word for people like Trump. Liar.