Trump Rose Garden
Credit: The White House/YouTube Screen Capture

There is nothing normal about a president being judged by the overwhelming number of lies he tells. But with the Oval Office currently occupied by the Liar-in-Chief, that has become one of the major stories of the Trump era. Here is the latest from the fact-checkers at the Washington Post.

Powered by his two-hour stemwinder at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 2 — which featured more than 100 false or misleading claims — President Trump is on pace to exceed his daily quota set during his first two years in office.

The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. He hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year. So far in 2019, he’s averaging nearly 22 claims a day.

It is also not normal for a president to be evaluated by the number of investigations underway about his potential criminal activities both before and after he assumed office. And yet, that is one of the major stories about this administration. Here’s the latest on that.

Nearly everyone in Donald Trump’s world just became a potential witness.

House Democrats are laying down a vast net as they ramp up their investigation into deep tracts of the President’s personal, business and political life, with a breathtaking document request from a list of 81 people, agencies and entities.

They went after the Trump Organization, Trump employees, the Trump presidential campaign, the Trump transition team, the Trump inauguration committee, the Trump White House and blood members of the Trump clan.

The intent of the sweeping oversight offensive designed to encircle the President, launched by Rep. Jerry Nadler, the New York Democrat who’s the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is clear. Democrats are eyeing a case that Trump is not fit to continue in his job.

Under normal circumstances, a president would be evaluated based on his domestic and foreign policy accomplishments. So let’s pretend that Trump isn’t the Liar-in-Chief who is constantly triggering criminal investigations and take a look at what else is in the news.

Legislatively, the president is experiencing one of his only successes since Republicans eliminated the filibuster for nominations to the federal courts. The most recent example is Allison Jones Rushing.

The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Allison Jones Rushing, 37, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, making her the youngest federal judge in the country.

The Senate voted 53-44 to put Rushing into the lifetime court seat. Every Republican present voted for her. Every Democrat present opposed her.

Democrats raised a number of concerns with Rushing, who is a partner at the D.C.-based law firm Williams & Connolly. She worked for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has argued that there were “moral and practical” reasons for banning same-sex marriage. And some lawmakers said she simply lacks the experience or legal ability to be a federal judge.

That will count as a success for the president’s supporters in the white evangelical community.

The road will be a bit more rocky when it comes to Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to pay for his border wall. With several Republican defectors in the Senate, it is clear that Congress will use their authority to deny the president’s declaration, but Trump has promised to veto the measure and there aren’t enough votes to override him. However, there are still several court challenges to be dealt with.

Beyond the president’s obsession with building a wall, his policies at the border have proven to be a colossal failure.

The number of migrant families crossing the southwest border has once again broken records, with unauthorized entries nearly doubling what they were a year ago, suggesting that the Trump administration’s aggressive policies have not discouraged new migration to the United States.

More than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, an 11-year high and a strong sign that stepped-up prosecutions, new controls on asylum and harsher detention policies have not reversed what remains a powerful lure for thousands of families fleeing violence and poverty.

When it comes to something Republicans used to pretend they were concerned about, the news isn’t any better.

The federal budget deficit ballooned rapidly in the first four months of the fiscal year amid falling tax revenue and higher spending, the Treasury Department said Tuesday, posing a new challenge for the White House and Congress as they prepare for a number of budget battles.

The deficit grew 77 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2019 compared with the same period one year before, Treasury said.

The total deficit for the four-month period was $310 billion, Treasury said, up from $176 billion for the same period one year earlier.

“It’s big tax cuts combined with big increases in spending when they already had big deficits,” said former Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). “So guess what, it’s craziness!”

On the foreign policy front, Trump seems to have reached some kind of trade deal with China. Here are Kevin Drum’s conclusions after looking into what that means.

I’ve now read several stories purporting to outline President Trump’s new trade deal with China. All of them point in the same direction: nowhere. Trump will eliminate his tariffs, China will eliminate its retaliatory tariffs, and China will also agree to buy a few billion dollars worth of stuff it wanted anyway (LNG, soybeans, etc.). There will also be some vague movements in the direction of opening China’s economy, but mostly things that were already in progress two years ago before Trump derailed them.

I’m sure that Trump and his enablers will hail this as a major success. But it is merely another example of the pattern identified months ago by Brendan Nyhan.

  1. Present distorted version of status quo.
  2. Creat crisis over distorted version of status quo.
  3. Restore status quo (often at substantial cost).
  4. Take credit for status quo.

Finally, after getting played like a fiddle by Kim Jong Un at their recent summit in Vietnam, we’ve learned more about what the Korean dictator has been up to all along.

North Korea is pursuing the “rapid rebuilding” of the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility, according to new commercial imagery and an analysis from the researchers at Beyond Parallel.

Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s only operational space launch facility, has been used in the past for satellite launches. These launches use similar technology to what is used for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“This renewed activity, taken just two days after the inconclusive Hanoi Summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may indicate North Korean plans to demonstrate resolve in the face of U.S. rejection of North Korea’s demands at the summit to lift five U.N. Security Council sanctionsenacted in 2016-2017,” the analysts said. As NBC News reported, Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently identified 20 undisclosed missile sites in North Korea.

I thought it would be helpful to review all of this because, under normal circumstances, a president who ballooned the federal deficit, created crises, took credit for merely reinstating the status quo, and got played by a tin pot dictator would be judged rather harshly. His only real “success” has been to place right-wing ideologues on the federal courts. So even beyond all of the lies and investigations, Donald Trump is an utter failure as president.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.