Apparently, President Donald Trump will lie about anything. He lies that his wife has gotten to know North Korea President Kim Jong Un. They’ve never met. He lies that Russia was excluded from the Group of Eight (now Group of Seven) because Vladimir Putin got the better of former president Barack Obama (and then lied that the other members agree with him); in fact, the members collectively threw Russia out for invading and occupying Ukraine. (“Asked why he continued to falsely blame Obama for the annexation of Crimea, as he did almost a dozen times Monday, the president suggested that he knew the black journalist asking the question, Yamiche Alcindor of PBS News, had an ulterior motive,” The Post reported) He lied that he had concluded a trade deal with Japan when in fact there was only a deal “in principle.”
He lies about calls from Chinese officials:
“Trump claimed to have gotten two phone calls on Sunday night from high-ranking Chinese officials seeking to negotiate a trade deal. ‘High-level calls,’ he said. Chinese government officials said Monday that they were unaware of any such calls. When Trump asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to back him up, Mnuchin would only say there had been “communication,” avoiding the word ‘call.’ The treasury secretary quickly interjected again Monday afternoon to add ‘communications.’ “
CNN’s Daniel Dale, who tracks Trump’s untruths, counted “at least 8 false claims in his G7 presser, plus at least 5 more misleading/questionable/lacking in key context. (Those included his suggestion that doing mandatory environmental impact statements as a developer makes him an environmentalist.)”
When he says he wants to make a deal with China or that he’s losing money while president (despite reaping the benefit of leaders who stay at his properties), you have absolutely no idea if he is telling the truth. (If you play the odds, these are likely untrue as well.) You almost sympathize with the Chinese negotiators trying to figure out what Trump actually thinks is true, let alone what he wants in a deal.
When he is not lying, Trump sounds crazy. (The Post reported: “He described both Iran and North Korea in terms of their real estate potential, saying the countries would want to deal with Trump because they sit on valuable, or gentrifying, properties... . He showed no concern that the North Korean dictator had violated U.N. resolutions by firing missiles, instead saying that Kim would not personally disappoint Trump.”) He wants to consider extending loans to the mullahs. (Yes, he keeps claiming Obama “gave” Iran $150 billion, which itself is false.)
Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University and the former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman, said on CNBC, “The president has almost become unhinged in dealing with China on a day-to-day basis... . Having gone through this back and forth on the on again-off again trade deal, the president and his advisors have really lost their credibility in assessing the state of play in this trade conflict.”
He is certainly not alone. The Associated Press quotes a toy company CEO: “We are on Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride. Never have we ever experienced such an unhinged practice of governance. It’s out of control and outrageous.”
Trump uses the news conference to do an infomercial for his Doral golf club, suggesting he will host the next G-7. He calls climate change a “niche” issue and describes himself as an environmentalist despite rolling back Environmental Protection Agency regulations, allowing energy development on former public lands, rolling back the Endangered Species Act and championing coal.
The good news is that mainstream news organizations are calling out the lies and pointing out the crazy talk. Now they need to start asking each and every Republican whether they agree with his assertions and/or think the trade negotiations are in good hands. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., once said he feared giving Trump the nuclear codes. What about now?
We know that if he were the CEO of a public company,he’d have been relieved of his duties weeks if not months ago. However, Republicans are too embarrassed or too delusional to put an end to this dangerous, frightful situation. They even want to give him another term. That might be even crazier than Trump.
Jennifer Rubin writes for the Washington Post.