Prevaricating presidents (Part One – Trump)
Folks who follow my commentaries know that I do not believe hyperbole, hypocrisy and prevarication are the bane of politics – but rather are conditions of employment. Some politicians fib more than others. And the problems seem to have gotten worse in recent years. On the other hand, those calling others liars my be lying themselves – or at least distorting the facts (spin) for political purposes.
Politicians mostly lie to gain an advantage – or to besmirch the opposition party and political leaders. We can call to mind California Congressman Adam Schiff when he claimed to have seen conclusive evidence that the Trump campaign had criminally colluded with the Russian meddling effort. No doubt, Schiff was stunned when the Special Counsel – after 18 month of intensive and expensive investigation – declared that there was no evidence of such collusion. In fact, he pulled the legs out from under the entire two years of conspiracy theory lying by Democrats and their media cronies. Of course, the media calls their false narrative “spin” – when, in fact, it is disinformation. A lie by any other name.
Democrats still harken back to what they contend to have been lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by the President George W. Bush administration. The most tenacious and persistent lie was the contention that the WMDs were the primary – even the sole– reason for the war. When, in fact, it was multiple actions by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein that had the UN call for a regime change – and authorized the United States to lead a 65-nation war effort to remove Hussein. That effort was approved by the United States Congress with the support of folks like Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. The WMD narrative never tells the real reason for the war in Iraq. To say the WMD claims were the only reason is a lie.
One must admit that President Trump was rather loose with accuracy and truth on many occasions. His propensity to prevaricate caused the Washington Post to create the Pinocchio dubious honor awards. According to the Post, Trump racked up more than 30,000 lies in his four years in office. That was a stretch in many cases – and it was a claim that had no comparison with other past presidents. How many lies would an average President commit if the Post had dedicated such time and resources to fact-check every word uttered by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama?
CNNs fact-checker Daniel Dale – whose own veracity I have challenged in previous commentaries – developed a list of what he considers Trump’s “15 most notable lies” – the big whoppers, you might say. Here is my review of his list. In Part Two of this commentary, I will deal with a list of the Biden lies for comparison. Here are the 15 “most notable” Trump lies – by Dale’s estimation.
- Trump said it did not rain on his Inauguration Day – although it did shower after his speech. I wonder how many readers even remember that “notable lie?”
- Dale claims that Trump lied in February 2020 when he said that the Corona Virus was not a significant threat to the United States – and that it would be over in the near future. Trump was certainly wrong, but his top medical advisor at the time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was saying the very same thing at the same time. In a television interview, Fauci said that the Virus would not have a significant impact on the United States. Just for the record, Fauci also poo-pooed the use of masks as a safety measure at the same time Trump was criticized for not having a strong masking policy. When asked in an interview if he would wear a mask in public, Fauci indignantly responded, “Why should I? I do not have any symptoms.”
- Dale said Trump lied about the direction of Hurricane Dorian– and used a Sharpie to show the theoretical future path. If you fact-checked the alleged lie, Trump was not the one who marked the weather map AND the weather service had – at one point – indicated that Dorian would go into central Georgia. It subsequently turned north.
- After speaking to the Boy Scout Jamboree, Trump said he received a phone call from the head of the organization to say that it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” An unnamed source allegedly associated with the Boy Scouts said no such phone call was ever made. Unnamed sources are NOT credible – but try to tell that to folks like Dale.
- Dale claims that Trump dishonestly attacked Congresswoman Ilhan Omar – saying she supported terrorists. Dale called it “an ugly smear.” While she may never have said that she supported al Qaeda terrorism in so many words, her many statements were in opposition to Israeli and American policies regarding terrorist groups, such as Hamas. Trump’s statement was not entirely a misrepresentation of Ilhan’s public positions.
- Trump claimed the trade deficit with China was $500 billion when he entered office — when the Trade deficit was ONLY $400 billion. Trump may have been referring to the $500 billion in imports from China – not the net deficit. What can be said is that Trump reduced the deficit from $400 billion to $127 billion at the end of 2021.
- Dale accused Trump of lying about men who came up to him and “cried tears of gratitude.” This is one where there is no reported record of those claims by Trump AND no evidence that they were proven to be false.
- Trump says that he was not aware of the payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels. It is hard to imagine what Trump would not have known, but the only evidence of Trump being aware is the testimony of Michael Cohen – a Trump-hater and proven liar.
- In sin of omission, Dale says that Trump’s claim that migrant children were separated under President Obama and that he, Trump, had signed the order ending it. Both are true. But Dale believes that Trump was not ‘fessing up that the practice was expanded by his then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
- Dale accuses Trump of “turning reality upside down.” By claiming that Biden would end protections for pre-existing conditions. That probably was a misrepresentation of Biden’s position, BUT Dale is lying when he accuses Trump of wanting to weaken or eliminate those benefits. The GOP wanted to end Obamacare and replace it with a system that would also protect pre-existing conditions. Dale is repeating Democrat disinformation.
- Trump took credit for the passage of an enhanced Veterans Choice program – making it provide more coverage and benefits than the old plan. That is a fact. Dale calls it a lie because he did not give Obama credit for the initial program – which, incidentally … sucked. Trump proposed the improved legislation and signed it. Enough said.
- Dale accused Trump of lying when he said that noise from windmills can cause cancer. Why Trump said that – and what was his source – has never been revealed. It is true that there is no evidence that noise from windmills causes cancer. For whatever reason, Trump certainly misspoke.
- Trump often promised a healthcare plan in a couple of weeks. The plan was never advanced. Whether Trump was lying, or the victim of excessive optimism is not clear. I suppose one can interpret that as a political lie. If promising things that do not happen is a mortal political sin, then most politicians will be spending eternity in Hell.
- According to Dale, Trump claims that he was named Michigan Man of the Year. Dale states that Trump never lived in Michigan as proof of the lie. But that would not preclude a Michigan organization from having named him Man of the Year. This one needs more explanation before it can be called a purposeful lie. Even Dale concedes that “It’s so illustrative because it makes no sense.” In other words, no benefit to Trump.
- Of course, the last on Dale’s list is the so-called BIG LIE – Trump’s claim that he won the election. Dale goes on to slander a big chunk of the population when he writes, “… to millions of deluded Americans, it’s the truth.” I am not going to get into the middle of that debate in this commentary. Suffice it to say that there is a big controversy going on in America on that one.
Now let’s be real. Trump has said a lot of crazy stuff – and untrue stuff. That cannot be denied. But the one thing that has been generally true of his braggadocious statements and misstatements is that they all seemed rather … well … petty. And remember, this is not my list but the CNN’s fact-checker. He has selected these as Trumps most notable lies.
Trump’s statements about the 2020 election may have been his most controversial and challengeable claim – the one with the biggest impact. But for the most part, his exaggerations, claims and even lies were over picayunish stuff – without a lot of public importance or significant impact.
If you consider Dale’s list of the “most notable lies” the ones he declares as the most significant — you can see that they are mostly low-grade fibbing or exaggerating. Even Dale alluded to the fact that some of his lists is not particularly meaningful or beneficial to Trump. More of the kind of meaningless bs you may hear on the street or in a barroom.
It is important to understand that Dale’s column oozes with his personal animosity toward Trump –destroying Dale’s own credibility as an objective fact-checker. He calls Trump a “huckster” and an “incorrigible exaggerator.” Dale said that researching his online article was like “trying to pick the most notable pieces of junk from the town dump.” He said it harmed his health. How is that for hyperbole?
Dale is not an ethical fact-checker, but more of a leftwing propagandist who spins the facts. A liar, of sorts. CNN’s smarmy Daniel Dale needs a fact checker.
In part two of “Prevaricating Presidents,” we will take a look at Biden’s veracity.
So, there ‘tis.