Our view: Presidential prevarication reaches new heights, or lows, on the one-year anniversary of post-fact life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
The check-up results are in: After one year in office, President Donald J. Trump has retained his ability to never let reality stand in his way. Some may have harbored doubts, of course. How can someone in the highest office in the land and with so much riding on his decision-making continue to lie like a hand-knotted Persian rug? Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson would probably chalk it up to genetics, but give the president credit, this level of fabrication has got to take more than enough functioning gray matter to pass a dementia test.
Consider, for instance, President Trump’s Thursday morning tweet that his determination to build a “wall” along the nation’s southern border has not “evolved,” as his chief of staff claimed one day earlier. “The Wall is the Wall,” the president insisted after John Kelly gamely explained to the Hispanic Caucus and Fox News that Mr. Trump’s campaign pledge had been ill informed and that a more reasonable compromise was in the offing.
Now, does anyone seriously believe that the former U.S. Marine Corps general was lying about that? Far more likely is that he and perhaps others on the bedraggled White House staff had wrangled the president into a realistic view of border security only to watch as — poof — Mr. Trump returned to Crazytown at the earliest opportunity.
Indeed, there seemed to be a lot of visits to Crazytown of late, notwithstanding Mr. Trump’s passing score on a cognitive test given by Dr. Jackson. (A test, incidentally, that is designed to detect signs of dementia, not to determine whether someone can be trusted with the nuclear button.) There was his trashing of the new U.S. embassy in London as a Barack Obama mistake when it was actually authorized by George W. Bush, and his claim that the U.S. got swindled out of the previous embassy, which it never owned. (All of this was apparently a ruse to avoid the ribbon-cutting and unhappy Brits who were bound to protest anyway.) Then there were his over-hyped “Fake News” awards that turned out to be merely be a recycled airing of grievances, most long-ago corrected (and in worst cases, reporters disciplined). All in all, it was a big week for erratic behavior.
One final word on the Fake News business. People make mistakes. It has always been the case in the news business or any enterprise. But what stands out when you peruse the Fake News list is the speed and clarity of the corrections that followed — in some cases, within minutes of an errant tweet. Now, if the Trump administration wants to adopt a similar policy for the president’s whoppers, we will gladly give up our own “Alternative Fact of the Week” feature. We’d have to — there simply wouldn’t be anything to write about. Alas, we’re stuck with a bounty of riches instead. How bountiful? There’s been so much focus on “holes” and “houses” (let’s not even go there — the countries in question have suffered enough) that Mr. Trump’s alleged affair with, and $130,000 hush money to, porn star Stormy Daniels hardly got much mention across the country despite its salaciousness. Hey, we’re not claiming decorous restraint, more like Trump overload.
And speaking of bounty, our favorite social media reaction to the presidential check-up this week and the effusive praise given Mr. Trump’s health by Dr. Jackson came from the naysayers who doubt the presidential measurements, specifically the business of weighing 239 pounds. What followed was a tumult of photos questioning Mr. Trump’s expansive waistline that were eventually dubbed the “girther movement.” Sorry, Mr. President, but America needs proof you are the same height and only nine pounds heavier than the Orioles’ Chris Davis. We’ll accept no foreign documents.
As for President Trump’s favorite preoccupation — special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian intervention in the last election — his tweet this week that the “Russian Collusion Hoax is dead” would be a whole lot more convincing if the evidence of Russian involvement with the Trump campaign wasn’t continuing to pile up. Just ask Stephen Bannon, if the White House ever permits him to speak freely again.
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