Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

There are lies, and then there are lies that make sentient humans do a double-take.

Anyone who follows the news knows that Donald Trump lies routinely. What makes his constant prevarications different from the spin (and worse) engaged in by more stable political figures is how pathetically inartful they are (you really have to want to believe them, in which case it helps to avoid reputable news sources).

But even those of us who have become inured to the constant tweets, the misspellings and weird syntax, and the widening chasm between Trumpism and reality had to be stunned by his transparent lie at the G7. As the Washington Post reported,

Cohn said that Trump did not want his G-7 partners to think he did not care about the environment, so the president told them, “The environment is very, very important to me, Donald Trump.”

Trump also told his counterparts that he has won environmental awards in the past, Cohn said. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has found no evidence of any such awards — aside from one issued by a golf association for his New Jersey golf course — and environmentalists have strongly criticized many of his real estate projects over the years.

Yes–unreal as it seems, the man who has repeatedly called climate change a “Chinese hoax,” the man who wants savage cuts in the EPA budget, the man who put a climate change denier/fossil fuels apologist in charge of the nation’s environmental agency–that man pretended to be an award-winning protector of the environment in order to make himself look important to people he was trying to impress.

What is really terrifying about this episode isn’t the lie itself. It is Trump’s evident belief that it would be accepted at face value, that no one would question or fact-check it–that none of these knowledgable, sophisticated and informed heads of state would see his pathetic pose for what it so clearly was. (What’s even more terrifying is the distinct possibility that Trump actually believes whatever nonsense he’s spewing at any particular moment.)

As Ed Brayton points out, this particular lie has been trotted out previously, fact-checked, debunked, and awarded four Pinocchio’s. But in Trump’s universe, evidently, the fact that knowledgable people know he is lying, the fact that his obvious untruths are undermining whatever credibility he might have had with anyone but his most cult-like supporters, is irrelevant. It’s what makes him feel important in the moment.

Americans who followed Trump’s first trip abroad were repeatedly embarrassed by his clownish behaviors, his ignorance of history, policy and protocol, and his multiple gaffes. We cringed at the obvious disdain he elicited from the leaders of our longtime allies.

His constant compulsion to lie confirmed–and displayed– his emotional neediness.

This man isn’t just a lazy and intellectually-challenged buffoon. He’s mentally ill. And far from making America great, his self-important, fact-free posturing has made the United States a laughingstock and diminished any claim to global leadership.

On the other hand, it has certainly strengthened the European Union…


  1. And for some reason, 39% of US Voters still support him. What is wrong with THOSE people?

  2. For most of his life, he was just a con man. Now he is a buffoon living in a dream world. Unfortunately, this one has a minion following him closely with a briefcase containing the nuclear codes.

  3. He is apparently a delicate soul who is in need of constant reinforcement from sources outside himself. At some point most people reach an age or a state of mind where they understand whether their actions are good, acceptable or bad in a moral and ethical context and are able to provide their own reinforcement, based on their own grasp of the concepts. He ignores the consequences of his actions in moral and ethical terms; he seems to totally lack morals or ethics, but understands that for the rest of the world he should do or say something that makes him appear “normal”. Since almost everything he says is lies, he only further demonstrates his hollowness.

    I’m no psychologist but I think there is a diagnosis in there somewhere.

  4. “(What’s even more terrifying is the distinct possibility that Trump actually believes whatever nonsense he’s spewing at any particular moment.)” I think your supposition is alarmingly correct.

  5. The solution to Trump can be found, clearly stated in the Constitution of the United States of America; Article II, Section 1, paragraph 6.

    What we need is a solution to the problem of Pence and Congress refusing to act on the solution to the problem of Trump. I could not find anything in the Constitution or the Amendments stating a way to FORCE Pence and Congress to do the jobs we elected them to do when the president is not doing the job he was elected to do. Nowhere in the Constitution or the Amendments is anyone required to tell the truth. Maybe Trump is correct in his assessment that the Constitution is no longer applicable (yes, I know he didn’t use that big word); his latest midnight Tweet with the addition of a strange combination of letters, followed by him questioning our knowledge of his claim it is an “acronym”, is a reminder that nothing in the Constitution or Amendments requires sanity in our leaders.

    There is also the possibility that referring to Trump with, “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” he could consider this a complement on his sexual prowess. Are we the ones using stupidity to repeatedly attempt using the same normal solutions to the many problems of Trump and expecting a different outcome – a solution to end the problems? Please return to the Constitution of the United States of America; Article II, Section 1, paragraph 6; we now have enemies on both our southern and northern boundaries by ignoring where the actual problem lies. His mentally ill disregard for the safety of America and Americans has crossed all borders and we will soon learn what a tiny piece of this earth we actual cover and that we are inconsequential in the broader scope of the world.

    “On the other hand, it has certainly strengthened the European Union…”

  6. While the President displays a more serious level of mental illness every day, the Republican Congress displays a more serious level of denial as each episode of White House craziness unfolds.

    Republicans allowed Trump to carry their banner, they voted for him, and now they either make excuses for his erratic behavior or turn away in silence. Disgraceful!

  7. It’s easy for his supporters to continue supporting him. They would never see an article that exposes his ignorance. They are in a bubble of ignorance & when questioned would spew rhetoric form the past years campaign & then bash Obama. I don’t know what it will take to help people that voted for him to see that he is a just what Sheila said, a liar.

  8. I recently read another article that cited the 2005 essay of Harrry G. Frankfurt titled “On Bullshit”. The article also cited Franfurt’s position that Trump is just a bullshitter and not a liar. The distinction is that the liar actually wants what he/she says to be taken for the truth. A bullshitter, on the other hand, simply doesn’t care. They only wish to be seen and heard.

    I have known and worked with several bullshitters in my life (they were all men) and IMO Trump is the poster-boy for the personality trait/disorder. Bullshitters will say whatever they think the need to keep attention on them – consistent with narcisism. They also view their bullshit as being harmless when often it is anything but. In the case of Trump, being a bullshitter in the commerical real estate industry might actually be a worthwhile skill, at least until a lender/investor wises up. But in the job of POTUS, it can be nothing but a liability and also a formula for disaster.

    The best we can probably hope for under the this regime is that Trump doesn’t start a war, and especially not one that escalates to nuclear proportions. Few world leaders throughout history have ever elicited such low expectations after only a few months in office. But that’s where we are.

  9. Correction: It was the author of the unnamed article cited in my comment who characterized our POTUS as a bullshitter, and not Mr. Frankfurt, the author of the article on that topic in general.

  10. From David Leonhardt in the NYT:

    Matthew Yglesias of Vox published a long reflection on Frankfurt and President Trump yesterday, and it began like so: “Donald Trump says a lot of things that aren’t true, often shamelessly so, and it’s tempting to call him a liar. But that’s not quite right.”
    A lie is a conscious effort to mislead someone, usually in the service of persuasion. But Trump often isn’t trying to persuade. He is instead creating a separate language meant to distinguish his allies from his enemies. A Trump lie, Yglesias writes, is “a test to see who around him will debase themselves to repeat it blindly.”

  11. 45’s supporters are actually surprised when they learn that something he has said is a lie. Unfortunately, they acknowledge it then they forget the truth as soon as they leave. They don’t like the truth. They don’t want the truth.

    Also unfortunately, 45’s opponenets are living in some kind of fantasy world. They are looking for the next superhero to rock their world and take the country back to reason and enlightenment. There are no superheroes. There are only flawed individuals like you and I. We have to make it work.

  12. Shelia, it is true that Trump has strengthened the EU in the reaction of their member states to his narcissistic chatter, but, I hasten to add, he has also greatly strengthened Putin’s hand in both the EU and in matters international, as suggested by the reaction by Merkel and others in the EU who may be left to fend for themselves. As Ali would say, Putin is a bad man, but he is consistent in his approach to dismantling NATO, roughing up Ukraine, annexing the Crimea, hacking the electronic world of democracies etc., all of which at one time or another have been approved by Trump, the man we elected captain of our ship of state whose rudder he is (with the assistance of Bannon) systematically dismantling.

    We are stuck with a mentally ill man who will sign anything put before him with great flourish so long as the supposed attributes of the substance of the order or other protocol of the instrument signed are to his credit. Trump is in fact a consistent liar, but I am not sure with his narcissistic mindset that he even knows he is lying by real world standards. As I have blogged on a number of occasions, he banters back and forth between his world and our real world and we have to quickly divine just which world serves as his base when he tweets or otherwise pronounces some radical policy change out of the blue – his blue – so that we can respond quickly to minimize the damage done.

    We have been unable to minimize his most recent and damaging other world discussion involving Merkel, one in which he has, to the delight of Putin, assisted in a potential dismantling of NATO with his putdowns of our allies’s efforts to present a united front to the Russian bear breathing down their collective necks, pushing prime ministers out of the way for front and center prime TV time and, generally, as Shelia suggests, embarrassing all of us with his constant and recurring breaches of protocol. I think some of this is a product of his mental instability and some is a cover and bluff for his ignorance and lack of exposure to history (if exposure even helps such a demented mind set in narcissistic concrete). Unfortunately, his problem is our problem and, though we cannot do anything about his mental problems we can do something about ours. It’s called impeachment and removal, and if Republicans are cowed and unwilling to help excise this cancer, then it is time to call them out for being complicit in endorsing authoritarian rule by the chief inmate of the Oval Office asylum masquerading as president, a situation that Trump in his right mind would say is sad, but as I would say, sick.

  13. Trump is a pathological liar who was born into wealth. His proclivity to lie in business deals has been exposed to the public. When contractors sued him for the money he owed, he used his wealth and power to counter-sue.

    Deep down inside, he knows that he is inferior intellectually and that seems to stoke his need for admiration. He does have the ability to figure out what people want to hear and he will tell them what they want to hear in order to bask in their admiration at the moment.

    On the other hand, R members of Congress have no excuse for staying quiet about trump’s daily lies and blunders. They have no problem looking the other way because they are at work behind the scenes in an effort to finally turn this country into a complete oligarchy. The time has arrived and their puppet masters are pulling the financial strings like they have never before been able to. Long live the oligarchs, plutocrats or whatever else you want to refer to them as. The rest of us can just fight for the meager crumbs that they toss to the ground.

  14. I might add that Pence has been silent and out of view during the past two weeks. His only news was that he is creating a war chest for his political future. I believe that he has been working diligently in the background to expand his evangelical beliefs into law while trump is on the world stage keeping the news focused on himself.

    The latest headline is that trump is going to remove the requirement that employers must provide birth control in their employer health insurance. Who do we think THAT idea came from? I wonder what other evangelical BS executive orders pence is formulating for trump to sign. Pence must feel like he died and went to heaven.

  15. This has to be one of the weirdest political cycles in the history of the United States. And that may be a lie, but not an intentional one. We have a fake president by the name of Donald Trump, and he seems to take great pleasure in telling an untruth every other sentence.

    He has a following of voters who know he’s telling lies, but they’re absolutely positive he doesn’t tell as many lies as his opponents do. I understand that the New York Times published a long list of Trump lies before the national election took place in November. And Clinton still lost.

    Perhaps the best approach for the Times would be to use this heading for one column in the paper: “Donald Trump Truths.” And then leave all the space below it blank.

  16. Nancy – You are on to something, but I think that while Pence may think he died and went to heaven that given his past record and the one he will still make he is instead headed to the other destination – or none at all. I have thought all along that his religion is a cover and that he is a phony, but even if I am wrong, his secular record suggests that he wants a society reinvented to the First Century A.D. in which Herod and the Romans were the authoritarians of the day, which I think is Pence’s political goal hidden under the cloak of the pronouncements of the gentle Nazarene. He, like Trump, wants to play dictator, whether by pretense or via ancient philosophy, or both, and in spite of our recent experience with dictators and our ongoing exposure to dictatorship (see the Phillipines, North Korea, Russia and other such tinhorn enemies of democracy).

  17. Paul; I copied something from a Facebook post by someone named Eric Lee which would fit under that heading, “Donald Trump Truths”:

    “Trump said in the campaign that if I voted for Clinton, I’d be stuck with a criminal president under constant federal investigation from day one.

    Turns out he was right. I voted for Clinton and I’m stuck with a criminal president under federal investigation since day one.”

    I do like your idea of leaving the space blank better.

  18. Donald Trump was born with the proverbial golden spoon in his mouth. His learned behavior is to be a bully and braggart. Trump in a sense distilled and concentrated the Republican extremist dog whistles into loud thunder. His statements, rants and tweets were delivered with bombastic regularity. His GOP establishment opposition melted away like an ice cube in the Sahara when exposed to Trump’s hot air. The McMega-Media with it – if it bleeds it leads and Jerry Springer confrontations philosophy gave Trump all the free air time.

    Trump did not hijack the Republican Party, he simply said very loudly what other Republicans feared to say in the open. Trump became the logical next step in the Republican Party’s evolution (perhaps eviloution is a better word).

    The Republican establishment fears Trump, at the same time the Republican establishment can use Trump to achieve their long sought after goals of dismantling regulations and to legalize crony-steroid-capitalism. So, I do not visualize the Republicans abandoning the Trumpet.

    The Trumpet’s trip over seas trip reminded me of news reels I have seen of Mussolini, a pompous, jut jawed display of arrogance never before seen in an American President.

  19. Almost two years ago I warned our board about the dangers of bullshit. I even gave them each a copy of Harry Frankfurt’s book, On Bullshit. I don’t think they took me seriously.

  20. I have (45) outrage ‘fatigue’. Of course, #45 missed his phone during his trip and had to, he just had to put out nasty tweets when he returned. I know everyone is following this bozo so I don’t have to.

    I’m on my way to Indiana on Friday because Mother has been in the hospital since last week. They put her in a rehab facility yesterday because she’s too weak to go home and care for herself. Apparently, I was the last to know…no one bothered to inform me until my Mother asked her man partner to call me because she hadn’t heard from me. He called from my Mother’s phone and I swallowed hard when I heard his voice and not hers. You can only imagine what I thought.

    What I’m trying to say before I got side tracked is that 45 and his people watch their silo of news – Fox Spews and until that network shuts down or shuts up, we will have this outrage with 45 until he’s gone. The liberal media is full of lies, right? Ugh.

  21. The amazing thing is that he makes the North Korean leadership seem almost sane.

  22. Gerald – you are correct. Pence is a phony and claims to be a Christian while pushing for authoritarian power that mixes religion with government. He studied law in college, yet sees no reason to obey the Constitution if it doesn’t fit in with his ability to force his beliefs on everyone else.

    He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  23. Gerald and Nancy; did Pence study law as far as Amendments IX and X, or did he wash his hands before leaving the state of Indiana?

    Regarding Trump and my earlier comments referencing Article II, Section 1, paragraph 6; I should have included Amendment XXV. Sadly; nothing in the Constitution references what we are forced to live with at this time and any move to remove Trump will result in opening a different can of worms. How could the founding fathers have envisioned the election of a mentally unbalanced megalomaniac. We would still be left with the Executive Orders currently in effect, the shambles of the White House, destruction of health care and education but less chance of nuclear war staring us in the face with no guarantee any European country would side with us.

    William B. Halper; you said a mouthful, a mouthful of huge, grinning North Korean teeth under a Bart Simpson haircut, our most dangerous enemy at this time…thanks to Trump and our own mindless Congressional body.

  24. Images of Pence conjure up lewd teenage thoughts of Cabinet wanking contests. Betsy beats time♪♫

  25. JoAnn – I am humiliated to report that I went to the same law school Pence attended, though much earlier, and yes, in my day two semesters of constitutional law were required, not to mention as a practical matter other courses in which constitutional questions were involved (see criminal law and Miranda, administrative law. patents and copyrights etc.) I don’t know whether he slept through such courses or not. I suspect not because there were tests one must pass and I suppose he passed them as well as the bar exam or he would not be a lawyer. I suppose his ideology has overcome what he had to learn in law school, where the curriculum is a rigidly secular experience other than the church and state lectures in constitutional law courses per se, but even so there was no study of belief systems themselves but rather the constitutional issues involved under the Second Amendment. See Griswald, Hobby Lobby et al.

  26. Typo Express! I am one Amendment ahead of myself. Make that Second Amendment reference the First Amendment. Mea culpa.

  27. My travels thoughout the country,as a blue collar working class, has been quite a ride. Im in a everyday scenerio where im talking to people who dress and work like me,but 90% dont think like me. im a life long progressive, long hair, tats,biker looks,casual dress,always ready to chip in. Im from the new york/new jersey metro area. newark.. i grew up in a intelligent union class family, no hostilities to color,or religion. open mind,give a hand where needed. The class of scum trump represents,is, the very people who tried and tried to upset unions,organized labor,protests,or just our living standards.roll ahead 50 plus years,to im looking at the very people who, i worked with voting for scum.reason, god,guts,guns. and thats the entire thinking of the working class today,my way,nothing else,i dont agree,my buddies agree,my kids indoctrinated to hate,my folks given up for dead after losing their jobs. In my talks with such working class,i find their reason in some ways real, but,to an extreme because they feel no one is listening. when they talk with thier peers,thats cake in thier ears. soothing, no mistake,their my friends. seems none of them ever get a newspaper, read decent journalism,write a congress/senator. its all talk about headline news without context, and be damn if they even have grip on citizenship. Sure they support their family,get loans at the bank,buy a pickup, and the toys to keep em in debt forever. they never heard of wages that are above living wages,or they feel they owe thier job a heros sacrifice for working cheap. my talks usually are in the rhelm of wall street,and how they have grown and your wages didnt. how wall street decides, much your going to make 2. when your going to make it 3. where your go going to make it, 4.where your going to spend it your going to spend it… seems like 5 reasons to feel good wall street has led you on a path to nothing but a cheap return on the pittance they have decided they will give you,while the investor gleefully smiles at your stupidity for not demanding more. Theres little backbone out there to resist,or complain,i really believe we live in a scared society that is cowering at even demanding a living wage.the generations who have envolved since 1975 havent a clue, that back when,actully we could save money,pay off a mortage in real time, send our kids to school without visting the bank, and park a chevy in the driveway,paid for.Though my travels will atest, the working class today are forged in bigotry,hate,fear,and arm chair resistance,to whats for dinner. We have i phones, the internet,real time sites who still,pride themselves on decent/verifiable journalism,and a way to contact that rep, you voted for,and have your say,intelligently. but, beer and brats first,some armchair politics,and that god,guts and guns mentality wins out because your too fuckin lazy to keep our democracy ours. all the men and women who died defending our country lay at rest, unknowingly now,cant see the sacrafices they gave,to see america devoured buy a scumbag like trump,and his washington mob.when i was a kid hanging on the streets of newark,n.j. in the 60s, when money bags drove his black caddy down the street, he got met witn fingers and eggs. id piss on the leg of a,person like trump. after all, my time as a american is worth a fight. beforewarned,,,, dont start the next election with a minority,movie star,clown,general, the next round has to be unforgiven,and to the point, if i see hilarys speech one more time where she turns her head up ,tilting her nose in the air,were all doomed. hey bernie, im sure you would win,and your the only one in washington who has the gaul to say, “increase wages! “and screw wall street. after all, its time they paid us back…and the SEC got a backbone.

  28. OK, class, listen up! We know that the English language changes by the day…sometimes by the minute or second. Here are some examples:

    1. Sheila’s name is not spelled Shelia, nor is it spelled Shiela. It’s Sheila. Repeat, Sheila. It’s that whole ‘ei’ thing.

    2. ‘Covfefe’ has entered our world today, and it’s being bounced around in hilarious ways: “Is it covfefe or is it Maybelline?” There are hundreds, if not thousands, more very clever uses for our new word! “See the U.S.A. in your Covfefe!” Or “Have you dined at Covfefe Bistro in Destin?” Make up your own. We know you will.

    3. A friend subscribes to Grandiloquent Word of the Day. One of last week’s words was ‘ultracrepidarian’. What a mouthful, eh? Say it three times fast!

    It seems that ultracrepidarian (adjective or noun) is used for someone who talks excessively about something he knows nothing about. Ex: “After Trump’s ultracrepidarian speech to NATO, world leaders were seen smiling and smirking behind his back.” My friend now refers to him as the Ultracrepidarian in Chief.

    Whatever the next six weeks, or four years, bring to us, it won’t ever be boring (dangerous, maybe?) with the ultracrepidarian tweeting and taking up space in the Oval Office.

    Class dismissed! Go grab a cup of covfefe-au-lait at Starbucks!

  29. My first thought regarding Trump’s midnight Tweet (the latest one) ending with”covfefe” was that he was drunk. I have seen no reason to change that belief.

    My second thought regarding Trump’s midnight Tweet (the latest one) ending with “covfefe” and the uproar it has caused on the Internet was that the IQ level of millions of Americans is now the same level as Trump’s. I have seen no reason to change that belief either.

  30. JoAnn,
    Low and dropping with every passing hour. We’re in for a helluva ride with the ultracrepidarian! No reason for either of us to change these beliefs. I just don’t like thinking about the go-fer behind him with that briefcase containing the, um, ‘football’.

  31. Look up the symptoms of Sociopath and Psychopath in the DSM (whatever number is current or past) and I think one would see that they are “very charming” and able to take people in. It is like a sexual allurement encountered with a sex addict. Getting within that circle of energy, one may regret it. Fortunately, perhaps, it may not transfer via electronic media.

    Since we know he lies about so much, I am in agreement with Joann, he is acting like an addict, alcohol or drugs or whatever is his chosen poison. Why believe him when he says he has never had a drink? His brother was an alcoholic, he hangs out with many who appear to use alcohol to excess (look at Steve Bannon’so face), and research has shown it to run in families, it is genetic. One can be what is called a “dry drunk” and never have a drink, but have the same mannerism, behaviors, and beliefs as one who abuses alcohol, or drugs. Why have people not looked at his potential use of prescription medications?

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