Trump sought to undermine the foundations of civil society. But no onslaught of deceit can last foreverby Stefan Stern / October 27, 2020 / Leave a comment
“We can’t just say, ‘Oh, it’s fine if a President lies 50 times a day’… No!”
And thus was Barack Obama, the 44th US President and one of the greatest orators of his day, reduced to monosyllabic outrage by the behaviour of his successor. Obama was speaking last weekend in Miami, Florida, one of the key swing states in the US election. Voters there have been told, among other things, that coronavirus is on its way out and will soon be gone, and that President Biden would lead a socialist administration which would impoverish all citizens. At least, that is what the current President has told them—four of his 50 lies a day.
It is tiring trying to keep up with the consistent level of deception and mendacity that emerges from the Trump regime. The Washington Post calculated that the President had made over 20,000 false or misleading statements by this summer, and that was before the election campaign reached top speed.
His former strategy advisor, Steve Bannon, had said the administration should “flood the zone with shit”—that is, maintain a frenzy of distracting and misleading statements to keep the media and opponents busy and exhausted. It has kept the show on the road—until the facts of Covid-19 proved unignorable and impossible to distract from.
Is it naïve to worry about lying politicians? We don’t expect wholly accurate and 100 per cent truthful statements from them at the best of times. They prefer not to admit to mistakes, and tend to offer a hyperbolic interpretation of events, especially when elections are drawing near.
But when the supposed “leader of the free world” is unable to answer questions truthfully—indeed, no longer seems able to distinguish fact from fiction, preferring instead to inhabit his own fantastical version of reality—then we all have a problem. It is one we are all too familiar with, but it’s worth examining more closely as we enter the final hours of the 2020 campaign.
The President of the United States is the most closely watched leader in the world. What he (there has not yet been a she) does in that job matters. When lying becomes as normal as breathing, not just second nature but first nature, a terrible example is set. And as long as that President appears to be…