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Trump Is America’s Most Honest President
He just can’t help himself from blurting out the truth—even when it’s self-sabotage.
By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN May 23, 2017
… Donald Trump cannot keep a secret. In fact, the “liar president,” as his opponents would have it, might just be the most pathologically unsecretive—dare I say, honest—president we’ve seen yet.
Sure, we’re accustomed to thinking of Trump as chronically deceptive and flat-out wrong, and he commonly is—about crowd sizes, illegal voting, his “fine-tuned machine” of an administration, the Iraq War, 9/11 cheering, the list is endless. But someone must be putting truth serum in Trump’s second scoop of ice cream these days. No matter the stakes, he doesn’t have even a White House junior aide’s gift for circumspection, spin or truth-shading. Lately, in fact, Trump can’t shut up even when almost everything is at stake.
In a town of snakes and double-agents, the president’s extreme emotional transparency would be admirable, a sign of vulnerability, sincerity, guilelessness—that is, if it weren’t so self-incriminating. Most notably, on the firing of FBI director James Comey, Trump could not for one single day stick to the simple if ludicrous script that his aides hawked in the immediate aftermath: that Comey was fired at the suggestion of Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, the attorney general and his deputy, out of gallantry to Hillary Clinton, the damsel distressed by Comey’s political whims last October.
No, Trump could not prevaricate.
Obviously, to be be a successful real estate developer, you have to blow a lot of smoke about how everything is coming together beautifully. SlateStarCodex’s review of The Art of the Deal explains:
I started the book with the question: what exactly do real estate developers do? …
As best I can tell, the developer’s job is coordination. This often means blatant lies. The usual process goes like this: the bank would be happy to lend you the money as long as you have guaranteed renters. The renters would be happy to sign up as long as you show them a design. The architect would be happy to design the building as long as you tell them what the government’s allowing. The government would be happy to give you your permit as long as you have a construction company lined up. And the construction company would be happy to sign on with you as long as you have the money from the bank in your pocket. Or some kind of complicated multi-step catch-22 like that. The solution – or at least Trump’s solution – is to tell everybody that all the other players have agreed and the deal is completely done except for their signature. The trick is to lie to the right people in the right order, so that by the time somebody checks to see whether they’ve been conned, you actually do have the signatures you told them that you had. The whole thing sounds very stressful.
But as a politician, Trump doesn’t seem like a very talented liar.
What really makes his enemies mad, however, is when he tells the truth. For example:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”