Bill Clinton’s proclivity for lying in public just because he felt like it drove me dangerously close to stark raving mad. He lied about trivia and substantive matters; he lied when it was easy to check his facts. Hillary’s similar penchant arguably was more infuriating, because she was so bad at it. She would be President today if she had just admitted that she screwed up by using a “home-brewed” server. All she had to say was that she didn’t understand the technology and made serious mistakes, even to the extent of sending messages that contained classified material and violating her own department’s policy. She could have done this in 2015, and never heard a peep about the matter again. Not that I was sorry to see her torpedo her own candidacy, but still: how ridiculous and unnecessary.
The Democratic/resistance/mainstream media narrative about Trump’s lies is exaggerated and hypocritical, especially giving the stream of whoppers that routinely issue from Pelosi, Schumer, Warren, Schiff and others. Unlike other “resistance” themes, however, it isn’t entirely unwarranted. Trump, as I have noted for a long time, just says stuff; half the time I’m pretty sure he believes complete fantasy when he says these things. That’s not a mitigation. A U.S. President can’t responsibly do that, but Trump does, has, and presumably always will. This is Julie Principle territory: Fish gotta swim, Birds gotta fly, When he’s off script, Trump’s gonna lie.
Shortly after he was elected, I wrote,
Donald Trump, more than any national figure in my lifetime, requires a careful, measured application of The Julie Principle to serve everyone’s best interest. Screaming “TRUMP IS TRUMP! ARRGHHHHH!” for four years will do no good at all. Find a way to co-exist with him so his negative proclivities do as little damage as possible and his positive ones have a chance to thrive, and save the explosions of indignation for substantive matters where opposition is essential.
ESPER: Well, what the president said was he believed that it probably and could have been attacks against additional embassies. I shared that view. I know other members of national security team shared that view. That’s why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region.
MARGARET BRENNAN: “Probably” and “could have been.” That is — that sounds more like an assessment than a specific, tangible threat with a decisive piece of intelligence.
ESPER: Well, the president didn’t say there was a tangible — he didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said is he probably — he believed, could have been —
BRENNAN: Are you saying there wasn’t one?
ESPER: I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies. What I’m saying is, I share the president’s view that probably — my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.
Later yesterday, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Esper added, “But what the president said was, he believed. He said [Soleimani] could have been targeting — all those things that I believe as well, that the national security team believes as well…What the president said was, he believed it probably could have been. He didn’t cite intelligence.”
There’s no excuse for this! Killing Iran’s murderous terrorist required no excuses or contrived justifications: he had murdered many Americans and others; it was virtually certain that he would murder more; his fingerprints were on the attack on the American Embassy in Iraq…what’s the problem?
There was none. Now the President is saying it didn’t matter if Soleimani posed an imminent threat to the United States, because of his “horrible past.” Why couldn’t he have just stuck with that from the beginning?
I sometimes wonder if Trump was abused as a child, and his parents punished him indiscriminately. He was never sure whether the truth would get him beaten or get his pony shot or something, so he developed lying as a reflex as a defense mechanism. At least that would make some sense, though the lying would still qualify as pathological.
Otherwise, this is routine, pointless, self-destructive unethical behavior.
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