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A politician on center stage calls Mexican immigrants rapists and killers for those people send their bad guys here; says Syrian refugees are snakes and they and other Muslims could harbor ISIS among them; says African countries are sh*tholes and Haitian immigrants carry aids … .  Then without a hint of irony or embarrassment — except a permanently red face — he proclaims, “I am the least racist person anybody is going to meet.”  What would a rational individual call him?

The Washington Post ran an op-ed by Bella De Paulo on Donald Trump’s lies and lying, drawing on her research work and the Post’s Fact Checker.  It turns out he is an inveterate liar and, worse, a cruel one for his lies are often malicious.  The op-ed was also taken up by the right-leaning Chicago Tribune, the leading such organ in Chicago.

Bella De Paulo is a social scientist who earlier on in her career as a professor at the University of Virginia studied lies and liars jointly with some colleagues there.  Since October 2017, President Trump, she notes, “told a remarkable nine lies a day outpacing even the biggest liars in our research.”  It gets worse.

Most of the lies (about half) in their study of college students and general community members in the area were self-serving intended to advantage the liars.  Less often they told kind lies, like the woman telling her mother she did not mind taking her shopping.  These constituted about a quarter.

One category was so small as to warrant just a footnote in their study.  This was the cruel lie intended to hurt or disparage someone.  Only 0.8 percent of student participants’ lies and 2.4 percent of community members’ lies fell in this category.

President Trump is different, shockingly different.  To use his favorite adjective, an amazing 50 percent of his lies were in the cruel category, the content hurtful or disparaging.  His kind lies were few, outnumbered 6.6 times by self-serving ones.  It is not surprising then that 58 percent of voters questioned in a Quinnipiac University poll last November thought he was not honest.  As most people tend to believe others, there has to be a good reason to label someone dishonest.  The old adage, one can’t fool all of the people all of the time appears to be working — the people have caught on.

The departures from the Trump administration took in the most prestigious cabinet post.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired; Mr. Trump apparently furious at his enthusiastic support for the British in their reaction to the poisoning in Salisbury of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.  The pair remain in critical condition.  The nerve agent used, Novichok, was developed in Russia.  Mr. Skripal acted as a double agent for the UK in the 1990s and early 2000s betraying many agents.  Would that assemble enemies?

President Trump, therefore, had a point.  However, within a few days he had flip-flopped.  He is now projecting a united front with the British, the Germans and the French on the issue.  Clearly, there were also other reasons for his unhappiness with Mr. Tillerson, including the latter’s reported pithy description of him as ‘a f***ing moron’.  Disagreements on political appointees was another issue.  Moreover, Tillerson’s radical reorganization efforts were not popular with career officials in his department.

Trump’s chief economic adviser resigned last week.  His successor Larry Kudlow is a long-time media personality.  He is not what one would call a professional economist.  In fact, he does not even have an economics degree.  He is a journalist.  He is also an ardent supply-sider and trickle-downer though — no doubt to Trump’s liking — and he played a role alongside the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore on Trump’s tax plan during his campaign.

So the arrivals and departures at Trump Junction continue, a busier place than almost any previous administration and with numerous government vacancies.  But then, are there many who want to risk a job with the mercurial Trump when it is also difficult to believe much of what he says?

Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media.  His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.

 

One Comment

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    FYI:

    Trump Administration Has More Than 250 Unfilled Jobs : NPR
    https://www.npr.org/2017/11/22/…/trump-administration-has-more-than-250-unfilled-jo…
    Nov 22, 2017 – Hundreds of jobs remain unfilled in the Trump administration, and many are being held by temporary appointees. … STIER: That means that you have to figure out workarounds or get a very busy Cabinet secretary agency head to do the work of another position in addition to their own responsibilities – not a …

    Trump Leaves Top Administration Positions Unfilled, Says Hollow …
    https://www.npr.org/…/trump-leaves-top-administration-positions-unfilled-says-hollow-g…
    Oct 12, 2017 – But observers are more alarmed by the less visible vacancies at the sub-Cabinet level: hundreds of positions without a nominee, and a president who says he has no intention of filling many of the jobs. “I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be — because you don’t …

    Opinion | Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s – The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/14/…/trump-lies-obama-who-is-worse.htm…
    Dec 14, 2017 – We also left out modest quantitative errors, such as Trump’s frequent imprecision with numbers. We have used the word “lies” again here, as we did in our original piece. If anything, though, the word is unfair to Obama and Bush. When they became aware that they had been saying something untrue, they …

    All False statements involving Donald Trump | PolitiFact
    http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/false/
    All False statements involving Donald Trump. False. Gutter ball. Donald Trump · In Japan, “they take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and they drop it on the hood of the car. And if the hood dents, then the car doesn’t qualify…It’s horrible, the way we’re treated.” — PolitiFact National on Thursday, March 15th, 2018.

    ‎False statements involving · ‎The immigration visa lottery · ‎Did Fire and Fury author …
    President Trump has made more than 2,000 false or misleading …
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/president-trump-has-made-more-than-2000-false-or…
    Jan 10, 2018 – With just 10 days left in his first year as president, Trump breaks a barrier we thought was beyond his reach. … The percentage gain in the S&P 500 during Obama’s first year still tops Trump’s numbers — though any president bragging about stock market performance soon finds out it’s a fool’s game.