With 44 days before the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, we are awash in a flood of lies, falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and dissembling emanating from Trump Tower.
If we have learned one thing about Trump, it’s that for a reality TV show guy, he’s not very comfortable with reality.
Trump has a stunning capacity for mendacity, a trait that also appears to be high on his list for campaign managers and associates as well as cabinet picks. Retired Lt. General Mike Flynn, for example, has told some fairly big and dangerous whoppers, including an outright lie about child exploitation and sex trafficking that helped to spur a man to “investigate” a family restaurant with a gun in hand. Even after said man fired the gun in the family restaurant while, you know, people were there (and during which thankfully no one was killed or wounded), Flynn’s son (Michael Junior, natch) carried on what appears to be a great Flynn family tradition by doubling down on a related lie essentially saying “prove it,” like my brothers and I did when we were 7 and 4 years old, respectively. Junior is also active on white supremacist social media platforms, but that is for another day.
Curiously, the gun-family restaurant combo didn’t seem to faze anyone in Trumpworld, despite that whole “pro-life” thing. Either they doubled down on the conspiracy theory, or they remained silent—by which I mean the president-elect, the vice president-elect, and the whole Trump entourage zipped their lips. No one bothered to express concern, and they certainly did not apologize.
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Despite the notion popular among Trumpistas that “there’s no such thing” as facts, we at Rewire are old-fashioned, and stick to the notion that facts are important. For example, however much gas you have in your car, it’s a fact that you have that much gas. It’s a fact that the earth is round and has one moon. It’s a fact that this country was built with slave labor. It’s a fact that abortion is one of the safest existing medical procedures.
Facts are really important for so many things. I don’t know about you, but I like my airline pilots, train engineers, building inspectors, nuclear plant operators, bridge- and tunnel-builders, and other people that run big things to know their facts. I like my doctor to understand facts, and think it’s a good thing when public health officials understand them, too. I consider it important to know that the polar ice cap is melting at an alarming rate and that there really was a drought in California. I could go on, but suffice it to say I am most comfortable when the people running the government of our country also understand and respect facts.
And this may be really demanding, but I also prefer they tell the truth. Is that just me? I think it’s the responsible and ethical thing for government officials to do. I even think they have a greater responsibility to be truthful than anyone else.
Unfortunately, it appears a liar’s virus has infected most people associated with Donald Trump, and it has given them the runs. It’s like diarrhea of the mouth, but with lying. We may need a “National Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap Day.”
It gets a little hard to keep track of all these lies. As a service, we’ve decided to do it so you don’t have to.
Every day—as needed, of course—we will track the lies, falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and dissembling of various members of the Trump administration, their surrogates, and their hangers-on. We’ll make those pieces as short and sweet as possible, although as you know, that might not always be possible given there’s a whole lotta lyin’ goin’ on.
Today’s first prize goes to that moral, decent guy from Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence, who seems to have a very deeply embedded habit of dissembling. Meaning, you ask him a question and he just won’t give you a straight answer. Or any answer at all. He may even just outright lie, like he did during the vice-presidential debate.
After Flynn Junior repeated the lie about child sex trafficking in the basement of a D.C. pizza restaurant, it was reported that not only was Junior working as the “chief of staff” for his father, but that the Trump transition team had asked for a security clearance for him. CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Pence if it was true that Flynn Jr. was up for a security clearance and Pence just refused to answer. He was evasive. He dissembled. It’s about the same as lying.
When asked about the request for clearance on CNN’s “The Lead,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence wouldn’t answer Jake Tapper’s repeated questions about whether he knew the transition team sought security clearance for Flynn Jr. Instead, Pence repeated that the younger Flynn was merely helping his father with scheduling and administrative matters—and no longer is doing so.
You can watch the video of the interview here as well. The vice president-elect seems very intent on calling Tapper’s questions a “distraction.” Frankly, I think it’s quite pertinent to know if Junior is up for security clearance, because I personally feel more comfortable knowing just how many unstable white supremacists and other people up there have such clearances.
Second in the hit parade of lies and dissembling is Jason Miller, Trump’s spokesperson, who on a press call Tuesday refused to answer questions or provide proof of his claim that the president-elect had sold stock—either in Boeing or all of his stock holdings, no one is sure.
Huffington Post reported:
President-elect Donald Trump’s spokesman said on Tuesday that Trump had sold off all his investments in the stock market more than five months ago, but the Trump transition team has yet to offer any evidence to substantiate this claim.
The statement came during the team’s daily conference call with reporters. Asked about a tweet that Trump had sent out earlier Tuesday morning accusing Boeing of overcharging for two new Air Force One planes, spokesman Jason Miller said Trump “sold all of his stock back in June.” At the time, Miller seemed to be saying that the president-elect had sold his shares in Boeing. But Miller later told at least two media outlets that Trump had sold his shares in all public companies, not just Boeing.
In his May 2016 financial disclosure report, filed with the Federal Election Commission, Trump had declared ownership of more than $20 million worth of stocks and bonds, through scores of different investment funds and family trusts. It’s unclear if Miller’s comment also applied to those bonds.
Refusing to provide clarity, dismissing or ignoring press questions, and constant dissembling seem to be the main strategies being employed by Trump surrogates such as Pence and Miller. Pence is often referred to as an “adult Boy Scout,” but as the future vice president, he sure has a problem with the part about always being honest and trustworthy.