Telling the Truth Is a Challenge for Trump

By Roger Simon

July 14, 2016 6 min read

It is not difficult to tell when Donald Trump is lying. Just watch his lips. If they're moving, he's lying.

Yeah, it's an old joke. But it has one big advantage: You can plug in the name of almost any politician and it still works.

Rarely in modern times, however, has a major presidential candidate been accused of lying as much as Trump has been. Further, Trump has broken the L-word barrier. Traditionally, the words "liar," "lie" and "lying" have rarely been used by the media in describing presidential and presidential candidate behavior.

The accusation is usually considered too raw, too harsh, too extreme. Presidential candidates do not "lie." They "misstate." They "exaggerate." They "err." Perhaps unintentionally.

But Trump has ushered in a whole new era. Fact-checkers have found that Trump's speeches are riddled with lies. And that doesn't count the personal attacks.

Tuesday was an extraordinary day in presidential politics. Bernie Sanders finally endorsed Hillary Clinton. President Barack Obama delivered a tightrope walk of a speech to a nation trying to come to grips with a pattern of white cops killing black men and a black man in Dallas who had just gunned down five police officers. And Donald Trump gave a speech.

We are a nation living on a knife-edge. As much as we would like to deny it, every word delivered by our national leaders and our would-be national leaders counts.

"Now, I'm not naive," President Obama said. "I have spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency. ... I've seen how inadequate my own words have been. And so I'm reminded of a passage in John's Gospel: 'Let us love not with words or speech but with actions and in truth.'"

And then there was Donald. Donald decided to use Tuesday to spread what appears to be another — surprise! — outright lie. According to the lie, people in sympathy with the Black Lives Matter movement have called for moments of silence to honor the police killer in Dallas.

He said on "The O'Reilly Factor": "I saw what they said about the police in various marches and rallies. I've seen moments of silence called for for this horrible human being who shot the policemen."

On Tuesday night, at a large rally in Westfield, Indiana, Trump said: "The other night, you had 11 ... cities potentially in a blowup stage, marches all over the United States — and tough marches. Anger, hatred — hatred! Started by a maniac! That some people ask for a moment of silence for him — for the killer!"

As of yet, nobody has been able to corroborate Trump's claim. It will probably go down in history with the dancing Muslims in New Jersey the day the twin towers fell — if it goes down in history at all.

It doesn't really matter, right? These are just words. On Monday, there was an Associated Press story headlined "Trump predicts more protest violence to come this summer."

Responsible? Irresponsible? Or just Trump?

"Donald Trump said Monday he believes relations between police and the nation's African-American community are 'far worse' than people think," the story began, "predicting that protests against police violence that followed last week's slaying of five police officers in Dallas 'might be just the beginning for this summer.'"

At his Tuesday speech in Indiana, Trump seemed a little bored with himself — except when it came to Hillary Clinton. There he found his vigor, even if it was vigor unrelated to truth. "Hillary Clinton, through her incompetence, directly and indirectly created ISIS," Trump said. "It was stupid, stupid policy. ... She is the one that created it."

"I am the law and order candidate," he reminded us. "We need law and order and we need strength in this country. We don't have strength in our country. We have Crooked Hillary Clinton, as crooked as you get," and a "rigged system."

He also said: "Hillary Clinton is incompetent, OK? The greatest single thing, in my opinion, that she's ever done is to get out of the email problem. ... I think it's her greatest achievement. ... Houdini couldn't have gotten out. She was so guilty. ... It was so disgusting ... what Crooked Hillary did."

And if we elect Clinton? "Four more disgusting years of Obama," Trump said, seeing as he considers both the same person. "Four more years of weakness."

But there is hope! "A lot of Bernie Sanders people are so upset about it they're going to be voting for Trump," Trump predicted.

Add their votes to Republican votes and we will get four years of Donald Trump.

In George Orwell's "1984," the protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting the past to make it match the present. The ministry is a gigantic concrete building with three slogans of the Party (there is only one party) carved into it:

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

So vote for Trump if you'd like. And take your pick.

Roger Simon is Politico's chief political columnist. His new e-book, "Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America," can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

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