What’s Unique about Donald Trump’s Lying?

When reminded about the undeniable fact of Donald Trump’s Lying, Trump’s supporters often deflect with “what-aboutism” (What about Hilary? What about other presidents?). They’ll remark that every politician tells lies, as if that excuses any politician for telling lies. But there are marked differences in the lying done by other politicians over the years, and Donald Trump’s lying.

First, Donald Trump’s lying occurs on a daily basis, and it occurs frequently, publicly, and unapologetically. This is documented by fact checkers, including The Washington Post, which, as of December 2018, had recorded an average of 15 lies or misleading statements per day in 2018. On one particular day, Donald Trump’s lying brought the day’s total to 125. As of January 13, 2019, Trump’s documented public lies or misleading statements totaled more than 7,000 since the start of his presidency, according to The Washington Post.

Second, Donald Trump’s lying and exaggerations continue even in the face of contradiction. If direct contradiction doesn’t cause him to dig in even more to steadfastly support one of his own falsehoods, Trump moves on to another topic. Or, he’ll simply deny ever telling the lie, despite video documentation that shows otherwise. Take, for example, the Stormy Daniels saga. Trump is recorded on various occasions contradicting the accounts he gave on earlier occasions.

According to The Atlantic, here are some of the most frequent and notable instances of Donald Trump’s lying, all easily proven false: The separation wall at the U.S.-Mexico border is already being built (false); the Obama administration also separated children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border (false); Trump’s tax cut bill was the largest tax cut in history (Ronald Reagan’s tax cut bill, among others, was larger); other countries owe the United States large sums of money for NATO (false); the Democrats stirred up a “migrant caravan” by offering them health care and food benefits paid for by U.S. taxpayers (false).

Though we have to acknowledge that fact-checking is much easier, faster, and more efficient than it was, say, had we wanted to verify a politician’s story 100 years ago. Nevertheless, reality points to the fact that most people, politicians or otherwise, do not blatantly, publicly, and unashamedly lie with as much frequency as does Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, Trump’s base continues, no matter what, to support him and make excuses for his lies. Is it because he tells them with such confidence? Is it because his base justifies Trump’s Donald Trump’s lying with the belief that others now and in the past have told as many lies as Trump has (and maybe technology is the only reason we’ve been able to fact-check Trump and not others)?

Or perhaps, in some twisted way, Trump’s supporters admire him for his ability to get away with so many lies. “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular,” said Trump in his book, The Art of the Deal. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.”

If we want to believe something – believe in something – we look for evidence that supports what we believe, and we disregard what doesn’t line up. Trump’s supporters filter out anything that doesn’t support their idea of Trump as a shrewd, savvy businessman who has their backs. Indeed, Donald Trump’s lying not only appears not to have hurt how his base perceives him, it may actually help.

Cavuto: Is Trump giving the media very real ammunition? | Fox News
[2018-05-03]

Jake Tapper debunks Trump’s ‘wall of lies’ | CNN [2019-01-08]

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