According to the fact-checkers, Donald Trump tells an average of over five lies per day. While we are all beginning to adapt to that reality, it is stunning that the President of the United States is such a congenital liar.
Those of us who are acquainted with facts can see the pattern of his lies—they are always in service of his narcissistic ego. But at a fundraising speech in Missouri last night, the president himself took it one step further. He told the story about a conversation he had with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,’ ” Trump said, mimicking Trudeau, according to audio of the private event in Missouri obtained by The Washington Post. “Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in — ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit.’ He’s very proud because everybody else, you know, we’re getting killed.
“ … So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid.
What we have is a president who is publicly bragging about the fact that, in a meeting with a foreign head of state, he was (1) ignorant about our trade relationship and, (2) he made up a lie. We’ve known for a while now that what he said to Trudeau in that meeting wasn’t true, the United States does not have a trade deficit with Canada.
Trump’s remarks last night in Missouri about all of this tell us a lot about why he lies so much. The first thing to note is the fact that he went in to that meeting with Trudeau completely ignorant of the facts. That confirms a lot of what we’ve learned about him: he isn’t simply ignorant, he’s not the least bit interested in knowing the facts. To justify simply making up a lie, the president explained that he did so “because we’re so stupid.” In other words, being honest in talks with a foreign leader, as he assumes previous presidents have done, is “stupid.”
But the kicker is that Trump actually bragged about his own ignorance and lies. He isn’t merely shameless, he thinks there is some value in not knowing what he’s talking about and simply making things up. That takes us back to something we’ve known about him all along. This president values bullying as a way to dominate above all else—even the truth. He bragged about this episode last night because he thinks it makes him look tough and Trudeau weak. That is all that matters to him.
According to the Washington Post report on this speech, the president went on to denigrate almost all of this country’s allies.
In his 30-minute speech to donors in Missouri, Trump launched a blistering attack against major U.S. allies and global economies, accusing the European Union, China, Japan and South Korea of ripping off the United States for decades and pillaging the U.S. workforce. He also described the North American Free Trade Agreement as a disaster and heaped blame on the World Trade Organization for allowing other countries to box in the United States on trade.
This is also an example of how Trump demonstrates that he values dominance above all else. He thinks that berating our allies makes him look tough.
The through lines of Trump’s meandering speech were simple: Trump was tougher than all the rest, and the United States was not going to be laughed at or taken advantage of.
Nothing—absolutely nothing—matters to Donald Trump other than clinging to the idea that he is winning via dominance. He will bully, lie, cheat or steal in order to fulfill that delusion. That pretty much sums up the guy who sits in the oval office right now. Heaven help us!