Bob Stannard: Lies and the liars who tell them

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.”
– Unknown

Through our electoral process we have elected a pathological liar as our president. It’s true that public figures will sometimes stretch the truth. Former NBC News anchorman Brian Williams comes to mind. When they do they usually pay a price.

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?

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  • Frank Beardsley

    It must be part of his treatment plan.

  • Martine Victor

    Much of Trump’s motivation to lie is his savvy, intuitive grasp of what appeals to his “base”. He’ll lie to inflate himself and deflate perceived enemies – the latest casualty is Mitch McConnell, a Republican elite, but nothing’s sacred to Trump but the adoration of his base. The constant barrage of lies and outrageousness creates fear and uncertainty for rational people, but to his base it’s a love fest, a feast of bread and circuses.

    Anyone else tired of hearing about Trump’s “base”, referenced in terms of reverence and awe with sentiments such as – he’s low in the polls but his base remains loyal, he’s catering to his base, blah blah blah the base this or that. The base is regarded as his saving grace. The base is trotted out when Trump utters some offensive remark, bullies, postures, undertakes some new barbarism, as if it justifies the reprehensible behavior, latest slur, insult, atrocity at hand. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any voters…” Get out of jail free with the base!!

    Catering to his base IS base; it’s the lowest common denominator. If there weren’t such destructive consequences arising from his disastrous presidency, I would pity the base for their naivety in being duped by a master con and pathological liar.

  • Steve Baker

    I’m not suggesting that. They are all quotes from Obama. I suggest you Factcheck your Facts!
    Pick a couple and I’ll give you the context.