Donald Trump is like Pinocchio with a twist. When we first meet Pinocchio, he is a wooden marionette who turns into a real boy in the end; Trump began life as a real boy only to morph into a Russian puppet with a wooden and juvenile personality. Pinocchio, at one point, turns into a donkey; later in life, Trump stopped being a Democrat (symbolized by a donkey) to join the Republican Party. Most notably, people know Pinocchio is lying because his nose grows long; we know Trump is lying because his mouth is moving.
The story of Pinocchio inspired The Washington Post’s Fact Checker to assign up to four Pinocchios to indicate the truthfulness behind statements. This came up in yesterday’s impeachment inquiry hearing when Rep. Mike Conaway interrupted Rep. Jackie Speier to cite the Post’s three-Pinocchio rating of a recent statement from House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, in the hope of outing him as the big liar in the room. Conaway’s hopes faded when Speier quipped, “The President of the United States has five Pinocchios on a daily basis, so let’s not go there.”
As she spoke, Trump was busy cooking up a big lie while touring a computer manufacturing facility in Texas with Apple CEO Tim Cook (whom he has referred to as “Tim Apple” only to lie about it). After the tour, Trump tweeted, “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!” He then posted a faux-triumphant video in an attempt to paint himself as a great American hero.
Jiminy Cricket! The truth is that Apple has been making computers at that Texas facility (actually owned by Flextronics) since 2013, and so any presidential credit must go to Barack Obama. Apple is opening a new office complex in Texas (like its California headquarters but smaller), however it has nothing to do with manufacturing or bringing jobs “back” to the United States.
Speier’s comment elicited laughter and applause because it was a masterfully witty takedown of a lame disruption, offering comic relief in the middle of a tense hearing. However, the exchange also spotlights the fact that Trump has long overtaken Pinocchio as a universal symbol of mendacity. To his credit, Pinocchio lied only to protect himself; Trump lies constantly and pervasively even when it seems laughably petty and pointless.
With each new day of the impeachment inquiry, credible witnesses under oath are continuing to dismantle the few lame defenses House Republicans have left. It won’t be long until we see them throw up their hands and follow Rep. Jim Jordan into the Capitol Rotunda for a Hail Mary chorus of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” America sorely needs a President who can be trusted at home and abroad. Given the way the impeachment inquiry hearings are going, it might happen very soon.