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When a president lies

(Leigh Vogel/Sipa USA/TNS)

Donald Trump has always been a liar. As a businessman, a presidential candidate, the president-elect and now the president, his penchant for perjury has shown itself, and it is hard to deny.

For example, on Monday Trump tweeted from the @POTUS account, “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process” – a lie. Not only did the United States intelligence community release a joint report on Jan. 6 about Russian meddling, concluding that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” The heads of these agencies, Michael Rogers and James Comey, also defended their report in a House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20. Director Rogers said, “Today, more than two months after we issued this assessment, we stand by it as issued.” This is indisputable evidence that proves the president wrong. The NSA and FBI did not tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process. That is the truth.

Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact checking website, rated Trump’s tweet on this subject as downright false, even going so far as to caption this rating with the words, “They didn’t say that.” 16 percent of Trump’s statements have been giving an even worse rating, labelled as “Pants on Fire,” while 53 percent are either “Mostly False” or “False.” These three ratings make up the bad half of a six-step scale, and also characterize a combined 69 percent of the statements this site has rated for the president. Nearly seven out of 10 times they check how the president speaks to us, he is lying.

For comparison, that number is 26 percent for Barack Obama, 42 percent for Mitt Romney, 26 percent for Hillary Clinton and 45 percent for Mike Pence. I couldn’t find a single politician, besides the president, for whom that number was over 50 percent.

I can’t speak to why we have made this exception for Donald Trump, but I do think the frequency of his lies is important to keep in mind as he rolls out his first piece of legislation, the American Health Care Act. If we consider broken campaign promises to be lies, this bill is full of them.

Politico tracked six major promises Trump made about health care reform, and this bill breaks all of them. He promised “insurance for everybody” and that “no one will lose coverage,” but the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 24 million people will lose coverage over the next 10 years if this bill is to pass. Trump also promised that there would be “no cuts…to Medicaid,” but this bill would cut Medicaid by an estimated $880 billion.

Lies.

We all laughed last year when Trump said that he could “shoot somebody and…. [not] lose any voters,” but he wasn’t so wrong. He’s getting away with things that no other politician could –lying to his electorate more than any of his contemporaries and, with this health care bill, preparing to rob his voter base blind. The white, blue-collar Trump base would be seriously hurt  by this bill.

According to The Boston Globe, the 10 states who that would fare the worst under the new plan all backed Trump in the general election. Age-based subsidies are also under attack, meaning that, according to CNBC, enrollees aged 55-64 – another demographic that went for Trump – would be hit particularly hard with increased costs. And, who exactly would benefit in exchange for the suffering of these poor, old and rural communities? I’ll let you guess.

This is all to say that Donald Trump isn’t who he convinced us he was. He isn’t a Republican – some Republicans hate this bill. And he isn’t a populist, as he’s hurting the very constituencies that voted for him. He’s not even a real politician – something we all saw when he first announced his candidacy and was laughed off by pundit after pundit. With this bill, Trump is beginning to remind us who he really is – a very rich man who has always been very rich, and who is doing everything he can to protect the interests of the other very rich men in this country. It is as simple as that.

To best protect ourselves for the next four years, and to be best informed, we have to spend our time examining the details of his Trump’s policies, and be critical of every one. Trump’s political theater, his posturing, his spewing and spluttering on Twitter and – in short –  his word, means nothing to us. It’s all lies.

Becky Wandel is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at rwandel@umass.edu.

Comments
5 Responses to “When a president lies”
  1. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Benghazi was caused by a video.

    If you like your doctor / health plan, you can keep your doctor / health plan.

    Shall I go on?

  2. Zac Bears says:

    ^David Hunt with the anecdotes-over-statistics logic again! This doesn’t say Obama and Hillary never lied, just that Trump lies a lot more. Silly David.

  3. Becky Wandel says:

    @David: Just as important to me as being able to keep ur doctor/health plan is making sure that everyone can afford/is incentivized to get a doctor/health plan.

    @Zac: That’s just what I was trying to point out! The old “all politicians lie” thing doesn’t apply when someone is lying almost 70% of the time!

  4. David Hunt 1990 says:

    You assume that I think Politifact, the New York Times-Traitor, the Washington Post-Fabricator, and the Communist News Network are accurate.

    I think the enemedia are domestic enemies; traitors.

  5. Sitting Bull says:

    Trump is a buffoon but the issues he has highlighted are in very real need of reform. Ultimately, that is what swept him to the Presidency despite so many personal flaws. If he weren’t such a terrible public speaker and communicator, we’d be halfway through tax reform already.

    No one should be rejoicing for the “saving” of Obamacare. It is a wreck of a program, costs a fortune, and, ironically, is failing in large part due to the people who say they want to save it (millenials).

    We need a border wall, with armed guard towers, a moat and land mines on the Mexican border. Not because all Mexicans are rapists, but because illegal weapons, human sex trafficking, drugs and terrorists continuously pour over the border. No other border in the world is as weakly defended nor as constantly under invasion. This is a no-brainer. Wishing away and deporting illegal immigrants is NOT the same as bearing ill will toward foreigners.

    Tax reform – The IRS code is larger than the Bible. Anyone making under $1 million in income is paying too much, and carrying the load for too many others. People making $80k – $350k are carrying all the freight for the freeloaders paying nothing (now 53% of Americans) and the hedge fund titans hiding behind loopholes. Corporate taxes are highest in the world (wait, what????) but with many loopholes. Simply need to lower to the lowest rate in the world with no loopholes.

    NATO – Trump is entirely right. The Europeans have essentially had free defense from us for many decades. They owe us, not only their freedom and peace, but in actual dollars. Enough is enough. Russia and China are massive threats. The only way to counter them is for the remaining civilized countries to band together. Outside of Poland, France and GB, no one on that continent has contributed anything worthwhile. Germans were once among the fiercest soldiers on the battle field. Now they are a nation of sissies. They need a standing army and Air Force to temper Russia’s aggressive stance.

    Economic policy – free markets only work when they are all free. Europe has tremendous protectionism, particularly agricultural, and China/India are the worst protectionists in the world. Maybe manufacturing is never coming back, but that doesn’t mean we must let China steal all of our intellectual property nor purchase our businesses while not letting American companies have more than a 49% stake in Chinese companies (and are also required to give away all their trade secrets to their Chinese partners who then undermine their partner within a few years). See: Spanish solar energy industry.

    These are only the hot button issues at the TOP of the agenda. There are others, like reducing red-tape to get economy going again, etc. If Trump could only control himself and not be such a maniac, all of this could be accomplished in short order as the American people are hungry for these types of reforms. The man is a lunatic, perhaps, but the IDEAS are winning the day. Someone has to be able to make them happen before we fall farther into second nation status.

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