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…