Budowsky: Trump’s war against truth

Budowsky: Trump’s war against truth
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While America’s first president, George Washington, said he could never tell a lie, America’s current president, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpScarborough defends CNN against Trump: CNN 'has more integrity' Time asks Trump Organization to remove fake cover from golf clubs Why UK millennials voting for socialism could happen here, too MORE, is at war against truth.

Lets begin with a source I do not often quote on matters of economic philosophy or political preference, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. In a breathtaking editorial on Wednesday the Journal, comparing Trump’s behavior to a drunk clinging to an empty gin bottle, warned about “the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”

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I would offer two amendments to the wording of the editorial. First, some of Trump’s false statements are bald-faced lies. Second, they do not only damage his presidency. They damage America. They damage American security. They damage the alliance of democratic nations. They directly help our adversaries and enemies.

When Trump speaks so many falsehoods, as the Journal states correctly that he does, there are only two explanations for this behavior. Either explanation of Trump’s pattern and practice of repeatedly making false statements would be unprecedented in the history of the American presidency, from Washington to Trump.

The first explanation would be that the president is a pathological liar. The second explanation would be that he is so profoundly incapable of separating truth from falsehood that it raises a legitimate question about whether to trigger the incapacity provision of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Major historical events do not escape Trump’s penchant for falsehood. He lied when he charged that the father of Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThree more GOP senators announce opposition to healthcare bill Senate GOP delays ObamaCare repeal vote past recess Club for Growth opposes Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Texas) was involved in President Kennedy’s assassination. He lied when he claimed to have seen American Muslims celebrating the attacks on 9/11. He lied when he claimed he was always against the Iraq War.

I would propose that it is an outright lie for President Trump to continue to slander former President Obama with his false charge that Obama committed the crime of ordering illegal wiretapping against him in 2016. This charge that he continues to make has been debunked and repudiated by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, the Justice Department and the directors of the FBI and NSA.

Even giving Trump the benefit of the doubt that he incompetently reads Breitbart and watches Fox News and immediately tweets angry accusations believing whatever he reads or hears is true, his slander against the British Government Communications Headquarters, falsely claiming British intelligence committed illegal wiretapping against him, demonstrates a lack of competence and integrity that causes real damage to American and Western security.

As the Journal editorial suggested, if America was ever threatened by North Korea or any nation, many Americans and foreign leaders and citizens would simply not believe Trump because he claims it, even if he is right.

If there is ever a legitimate need for an international coalition of allies against a foreign enemy or terrorist group, many leaders and citizens of allied nations would be reluctant to join a multinational force under Trump’s command. They would disbelieve his claims about the threat and fear his military judgment.

If Trump actually believes that the CIA is comparable to Nazi Germany, as he has falsely said, or if he actually believes that British intelligence has committed crimes against America, as he has falsely charged, these loony tune views would make him incompetent to anticipate a crisis or command a response because good intelligence is essential to being commander in chief or leader of allied nations.

Trump regularly bears false witness against political opponents, internationally respected media, democratic allies, the size of his crowds, the margin of his close election and a list of subjects too long to fully describe here.

When a president wages war against truth, it poses a clear and present danger to America and democracies around the world.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.