Why Does Trump Lie?

In Misleading Information On
- Updated

As of May 29, the most honest man in America had uttered 19,127 false or misleading claims in his 1,226 days in office, according to Glenn Kessler of The Post, who has been tracking them since Day 1. That’s 15.6 falsehoods a day, or roughly one per waking hour, every hour, every day. That puts him on track to hit 20,000 lies by Wednesday, July 29; by Nov. 3, at this pace, he’ll be north of 22,000 — but of course that period will constitute the heat of the campaign, when the frequency seems likely to increase.

All right, some still say; Yes, Mr. Trump is worse than normal, but they all lie. What’s the big deal, really?

Here’s the big deal. Mr. Trump’s lies are different. Not just in quantity, but also in quality. He lies for a different purpose than every other president — yes, even, I would argue, Richard Nixon, the biggest presidential prevaricator until Mr. Trump came along.

What is that difference? In a nutshell, it is this: Our democracy has, to use a word that former Vice President Joe Biden employed in his powerful June 2 speech in Philadelphia, certain guardrails that, as Mr. Biden put it, “have helped make possible this nation’s path to a more perfect union, a union that constantly requires reform and rededication.” Every president before Mr. Trump has been mindful of those guardrails. When they lied, they lied out of respect for those guardrails. Mr. Trump lies to crush those guardrails into scrap metal.

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