It is well known that Donald Trump speaks fluently in falsehoods when he thinks it will suit his purposes more than the truth. Although much of America knows its President is constantly lying and despises him for it, Trump relies on the fact that his base either won’t know he is lying or won’t care, rationalizing that it is just what he must do to drain the swamp and make America great again.
Lately, however, Trump is getting noticeably sloppy with his lying. Typically, Trump would come out with a bald-faced lie about something important or even trivial. As time goes on and the truth gets revealed, he would shift his position and tell a new lie. But now, Trump is carelessly streamlining the process by offering up a plate of lies that cannot all be true, as if asking people to pick their favorite and accept it as truth.
For example, the Mueller report’s position on Trump’s obstruction of justice is clear: “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Even Attorney General William Barr bit the bullet and quoted this statement in his biased and misleading four-page summary. Since then, Trump has been triumphantly proclaiming that the report totally exonerates him, declaring “I’m having a great day” moments after the report’s release.
But Trump has also been condemning the same report and its authors. The day after its release, Trump called it the “Crazy Mueller Report” and lied that parts of it are “fabricated & totally untrue,” even “total bullshit.” By taking these opposing positions, each one built on lies, Trump is attacking the credibility of the very report that he embraces for supposedly offering him exoneration.
Trump’s sloppy lying emerged again yesterday in his response to The New York Times’ bombshell reporting showing Trump claimed a $1.1 billion loss from 1985-1994. In a pair of early-morning tweets, Trump presented three conflicting lies. First, Trump appeared to accept the reporting’s accuracy while justifying the declaration of such a profound loss as a “sport” among real estate developers, falsely implying that he actually made huge profits. Then, Trump pretended that the Times got it wrong, accusing them of using “very old information” even though they used numbers from official IRS tax transcripts. Finally, Trump abandoned all pretense of critical thinking and trashed the whole piece as “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”
Donald Trump is becoming clumsier with his lying by the day. Rather than rally his base around one big lie at a time about a given topic, Trump is sputtering, throwing out a collection of contradictory lies in the hope that something sticks. Lying has long been Trump’s ugly strong suit, but now he is failing even at that. It is evidence of Trump’s growing incoherence and mental decline, a further sign that he is unfit to be the top executive of anything, let alone the greatest country in the world.