According to a number of news reports, in addition to bragging about his administration’s “excellent” performance during the pandemic (and who are you going to believe, Mr. Perfect or your lying eyes?), Trump plans to accuse hospitals and health officials of lying about the number of Covid-19 deaths. His campaign will insist that the numbers are exaggerated.
His base will probably believe him. (Google “motivated reasoning.”)
Over the past, horrific three plus years, those of us who do believe our own lying eyes have come to realize that there is absolutely nothing Trump won’t lie about, no matter how inconsequential or even counter-productive. He is so intellectually and emotionally defective, it is entirely possible he believes whatever comes out of his mouth. (In a recent op-ed, George Conway of the Lincoln Project suggested that Trump’s frantic lies are an effort to hide his inadequacies from himself; be that as it may, he clearly lacks the capacity to realize how stupid those lies–and his ungrammatical, misspelled angry tweets– make him look to sane people.)
I have recently come across two examples that illustrate the truly majestic sweep of Trump’s dishonesty, and how it manifests in absolutely anything and everything he mentions. The first was from Juanita Jean.
Well, come to find out, even though Trump constantly says he was great at high school baseball and could have gone pro … no. Not even close.
She then reproduced a tweet in which Trump bragged that, in high school, his baseball coach had called him one of the best players he’d ever coached.
Yeah, sure. As Juanita Jean notes, the reality was that he was pretty much the kid they picked last for the team.
Slate has managed to unearth nine box scores from Trump’s time at New York Military Academy, which showed a four-for-29 batting record in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, with three runs batted in and a single run scored. Trump’s batting average in the nine games Slate found box scores for stood at a disappointing .138.
Rational people would say “who cares?” Why would you bother to lie about something that–in the scheme of things–is so trivial? And so easily debunked?
Far more significant is the emerging evidence that Trump is nowhere near as wealthy as he has always claimed to be. His desperate efforts to keep his tax returns secret have led many observers to that conclusion, but up until now, it has all been speculative. With the Supreme Court preparing to rule on whether Trump’s accounting firm must comply with subpoenas for those tax records, Pro Publica has issued a very interesting report about that accounting firm.
The story is titled “Meet the Shadowy Accountants Who Do Trump’s Taxes and Help Him Seem Richer than He is,” a headline that gives a pretty good clue to what the investigation turned up. There was a lot to turn up, too–the investigative team found that in “various episodes” over a period of 30 years, partners of the firm — including its CEO — have been in legal trouble as a result of fraud, misconduct or malpractice.
(And that’s not even counting the New York partner who stabbed his wife to death back in 2016….)
According to Pro Publica, the firm helped Trump pay the least amount of taxes possible, which is what accountants generally do, but it also helped him appear “to be rich beyond imagining”–something that required creating “precisely the opposite impression of what’s in his tax filings.”
This lie is more understandable than the one about baseball. Creepy Steve Bannon is on record opining that, if Trump’s base were to discover that he’s not really a billionaire, the disillusion would trigger mass defections. (In America, there are evidently large numbers of people who believe those lines in “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof: “And it wouldn’t matter if I answered right or wrong; when you’re rich, they think you really know.”)
The legal issue before the Court should be a slam-dunk; as the lower courts properly concluded, no one is above the law, and ordering an accounting firm to hand over documents in its possession doesn’t require a President’s time or attention.But who knows?
I hope I’m wrong, but given Mitch McConnell’s appalling success in politicizing the Supreme Court, I don’t hold out much hope that we’ll see Trump’s taxes before November.
But even without the disclosures that lurk in his tax forms, the polls tell us that most Americans trust medical experts and state health officials far more than a President who only tells the truth accidentally.
Let’s just hope we don’t get invaded by aliens from outer space. If Trump warned us, we’d never believe him.