Trump generates media hysteria by telling the truth about telling the truth

Honestly, I don’t know if President Trump was consciously baiting the media, or if the words that are generating pompous outrage were spontaneously and unselfconsciously expressed. Probably the latter, not that it matters, because Trump has found his groove, and it is working for him.

He said something to Jonathan Karl of ABC News that no other president would ever say: “When I can, I tell the truth."



This is the most honest response to the question that could be made. Everyone except children understands that presidents can and do lie to us. I was an adolescent when the United States lied to the United Nations and the world, denying that the Soviet claim to have shot down an American spy plane was true. Subsequently, the Soviets put on display Francis Gary Powers, the pilot of the U2 plane (the very existence of which had been a secret, owing to its ultra-high altitude capabilities and long range), exposing a blatant lie told by a government. At the time, it was a huge shock that our federal government, including a president, would lie to us.

Since those innocent days of the 1950s, a more realistic view has become nearly universal, and most people realize that presidents do not always tell the truth – sometimes for very good reasons.

Trump is therefore telling the truth – and his supporters (and many of those not committed to hating him) understand that.

But CNN doesn’t (of course).  

President Donald Trump, whose time in office has been defined in large part by his frequent falsehoods and misleading statements, claimed Wednesday he tries to be truthful.

"I remember, you remember well in the campaign, you made a promise. You said, 'I will never lie to you,'" ABC News' Jon Karl said to Trump in a new interview. "So can you tell me now, honestly, have you kept that promise at all times? Have you always been truthful?"

[Cough! “FakeNews”]

CNN sees the comment as proof of Trump’s irredeemable status as a liar:

Trump's comments are especially notable coming at the close of a contentious campaign season in which he has repeatedly engaged in smears and falsehoods to advance Republican electoral fortunes, from inflating his rally crowd sizes to accusing Democrats, frequently without evidence, of supporting ruinous immigration policies.

Trump, in speaking off the cuff, often gets the details wrong, exaggerates, and engages in hyperbole. True, past presidents have never done this. They vet their prepared remarks, and stick to script, for the most part. That minimizes the risk of errors. But it also marks the politician as manipulative, a politician who maybe can’t be trusted to tell us what he really thinks.

Trump ran against this political tradition. He is real, warts and all. He is spontaneous. And he says what he means, even if he is sloppy with the details.

More importantly, he has kept his political promises to a degree that no other president in human memory has. He didn’t lie about moving the US embassy from Tel Avis to Jerusalem. He didn’t lie about bringing economic growth well in excess of 3% (facing a media chorus that this was “impossible”).

Where it counts, Trump tells the truth.

And he is a real guy, somebody who teases, jokes, and yeah, sometimes gets the little stuff wrong. But when he makes a promise, he means it.

After generations of pols that way too slick, he is refreshing. The media gotchas are damaging their own credibility.

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