In the beginning of the Trump administration, media pundits often looked for reasons to suggest that he had finally pivoted and was becoming more “presidential.” My take has always been that, given Trump’s personality, things will never get better. The only change that’s possible is for him to get worse.
It didn’t take long for fact-checkers to start noticing how often the president lied. Some of the busiest people in journalism right now are those who try to keep track of them all. To demonstrate that things are actually getting worse, here’s the latest tally of Trump’s lies every month by Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star:
A chart like that makes it obvious that, not only is Trump getting worse when it comes to lying, things really began to spike this summer, which is something the fact-checkers at the Washington Post noticed as well. There are probably several reasons why that is happening. The most direct is that Trump began holding campaign rallies for candidates running in the midterm elections. You might wonder why that would have an impact of the number on lies he tells. Susan Glaser breaks it down:
On July 5th, the Post found what appears to be Trump’s most untruthful day yet: seventy-six per cent of the ninety-eight factual assertions he made in a campaign-style rally in Great Falls, Montana, were “false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.” Trump’s rallies have become the signature events of his Presidency, and it is there that the President most often plays fast and loose with the facts, in service to his political priorities and to telling his fervent supporters what they want and expect to hear from him. At another rally this week, in Tampa, Trump made thirty-five false and misleading claims, on subjects ranging from trade with China to the size of his tax cut.
Beyond that, there is also the fact that Trump is under a lot of pressure these days because of the Mueller investigation, as well as many other legal problems. That is only exacerbated by the fact that prospects for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections are looking pretty grim. Trump’s lies go hand-in-hand with his narcism. When threatened, his ego can’t engage in rational self-reflection, so he simply lies.
But in addition to all of those things, there is something else that indicates we might not have reached peak season for Trump’s lies. As we saw yesterday, the president told a real whopper about his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
“I actually think it was one of the best jobs,” President Trump says of his administration’s hurricane response in Puerto Rico, calling it an “incredible unsung success.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 11, 2018
To be clear, Trump is not only the most ignorant man who has ever occupied the White House, he’s also lazy and couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag. Given all of that, the longer he is in office the more he will demonstrate utter incompetence. But his narcissism means that he will never admit to failure. His only recourse will be to lie, which he will do more often as the failures mount.