Editor’s note: This commentary is by Bob Stannard, an author, musician and former lobbyist. This piece first appeared in the Bennington Banner.
“Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.”
Thus far that’s not been true for our president. He still has his job in spite of the fact that he’s devoid of being able to tell the truth. Back in July 2016 Trump’s co-author of “The Art of the Deal,” Tony Schwartz, said, “You know, it’s a terrifying thing. I haven’t slept a night through since Donald Trump announced for president because I believe he is so insecure, so easily provoked and not — not particularly — nearly as smart as people might imagine he is. I do worry that with the nuclear codes, he would end civilization as we know it.”
He continued, “This is a man who has more sociopathic tendencies than any candidate in my adult life that I’ve observed.”
Sadly, this canary in our coal mine was ignored. In less than 200 days President Trump has proven Schwartz right and we should be worried. Trump’s go-to position is to lie first, probably because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and has shown little desire to learn the facts on any given issue. Why read and learn when lying is so much easier?
Those of us with an ounce of moral character tend to feel compelled to come clean and tell the truth when confronted. Not our president. Our president lies about the smallest things. Recently he appeared at the Boy Scouts of America annual Jamboree and gave a terrible speech. It was so bad that the head of the BSA had to offer a public apology.
The real question is why, after all of the lies he’s told, that anyone, any single individual would ever believe one word that he says.
So what’s Trump’s response? He lied. He said, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them and they were very thankful.” No such call was ever made and no such words were offered.
When talking about his ridiculous border wall, he said, “The president of Mexico called me and said their southern border … very few people care coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.” This is a lie. President Nieto never placed a call.
What’s wrong with this man? Why is he compelled to lie about things that are so easily proven false? We should leave the answer to that question to the doctors. The real question is why, after all of the lies he’s told, that anyone, any single individual would ever believe one word that he says.
On day one he lied about the size of his inaugural crowd. He lied about Obama’s country of birth. He lied about winning New Hampshire. He lied about seeing thousands of Muslims “dancing in the streets” after 9/11. He lies when he calls our free press “fake news.”
We’re not talking about exaggerations. He does exaggerate everything all of the time (think finger size). No, we’re talking about boldfaced lies from a man incapable of telling us the truth about anything no matter how small.
If our president will lie to us about getting a flattering phone call from the Boy Scouts, what else might he lie about? Do you really believe him when he says the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt”? Do you believe him when he says he has no dealings with Russia? Do you believe him when he said he doesn’t even know Putin or anyone in Russia?
When will the Republican Party cease enabling Trump? Their silence on his endless lying is deafening. Trump is dragging our nation through the swamp of lies. Enabling Republicans are content with allowing him to do so. Are you?