Commentary: Who can trust a long history of lying?

In case you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump lies a lot. He has what Native Americans would call a `forked’ tongue.

In Trump, we have a world-class, gold-medal, virtuoso of a liar. Trump lies like the rest of us exhale. Since his inauguration, The Washington Post has identified over 12,000 lies or misstatements made by Trump. He tells short lies, tall lies, big lies and small lies. He lies about everything: the economy, Russia, the environment, women, opponents and everyone else in his orbit. Someone once described a compulsive liar as someone who would lie about the weather. Check.

Trump lies when he doesn’t have to because its second nature to him. Why tell the truth when a good lie will do? When he’s caught lying, he lies some more — calling the allegations fake news. To him, there’s not much difference between the truth and the lie.

Of course, most of his lies are to cover up criminal activity by his campaign, transition and administration: Russian conspiracy, payoffs to porn stars and obstructing justice. But lying is only one part of any con man’s trifecta of deceit that includes cheating and stealing. To give you an example, Trump allowed the Russians to cheat on his behalf in the 2016 election that helped him steal the election. Then his campaign lied about it in order to cover it up. Trump did it so effortlessly, you could tell this wasn’t his first rodeo.

Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels knew the key to effective propaganda was telling the “big lie” and repeating it so often that eventually the audience would believe it. Hitler’s big lie was that the Jews caused Germany to lose WW I. He used it to gain power, start a World War, and eventually murdered six million Jews.

Trump’s first big lie was adopting the racist birther conspiracy that claimed Barack Obama wasn’t an American citizen and therefore an illegitimate president. Trump knew it was a lie but nobody in his party challenged him on it. Trump saw that birtherism awakened the racism that percolated beneath the surface of the American consciousness. When he wasn’t rebuked for that lie, he saw it as silent consent from his base. Since he wouldn’t be held accountable for his lying, he lied even more.

The problem with having a habitual liar as president is that nobody trusts him — and in turn, nobody trusts us. As commander and chief, Trump is the head of our military. Generals like James Mattis, H.R. Mc Master and John Kelley, all left Trump’s administer for various reasons. But I believe the main reason was they couldn’t take the lying anymore.

These three men graduated from our military academies, with a strict code of honesty and honor. If you lie, cheat of steal, you’re kicked out. And if you see someone else lie, cheat or steal — and don’t report it, you are gone, too. Trump has a word for whistleblowers — rats. To have grown up with such honorable values and see this con man’s act must have made them sick to their stomachs.

Businesses and organizations spend a great amount of time and resources trying to win the trust of their employees, shareholders, suppliers and customers. What takes years to build can be destroyed in seconds by a liar. Since our allies don’t trust Trump, they probably withhold valuable national security information from us, making Americans less safe.

The key to any con man’s success is convincing enough people that what they see and hear is not true. You are asked to suspend reality.

In Trump’s case, he is asking his base to believe the following: James Comey is lying; Michael Cohen is lying; Michael Flynn is lying; Robert Mueller is lying; Stormy Daniels is lying; Karen McDougal is lying; The other 20 women accusing Trump of everything from sexual harassment to rape are lying; Hundreds of small contractors who are accusing Trump of cheating them of payments are lying; Only Donald Trump, who has told over 12,000 lies since taking office — is telling the truth.

George Washington famously said, “I cannot tell a lie” when asked if he cut down a cherry tree. Now we have a man in the White House who cannot tell the truth. How far we’ve fallen. A recent survey shows that 65? I guess they’re just lying to themselves.

So saddle up America. If we all vote we can saddle Trump with the worst defeat in the history of presidential elections.

And that ain’t no lie.

Jack Hoban is a resident of Lewes

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