Trump’s Ego-Driven Lies

U.S. government lying is surely not a new thing – recall the Iraq War deceptions – but Donald Trump has started off his presidency with clearly false claims that make the problem worse, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

We are less than a week into the Trump presidency, and it is apparent that one of the more disturbing practices of Mr. Trump’s campaign he intends to continue while in office.

Protestors and police face each other on K St. in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration of Donald Trump. January 20, 2017. (Photo: Chelsea Gilmour)

The practice involves the President’s disdain for truth, but it is not just a matter of the volume of lies and how he has built his political career on falsehood, as disturbing as that is. Rather it is the more specific technique of unrelentingly repeating a lie so often and with such apparent conviction, while ignoring all contrary evidence and refutations, that through sheer repetition many people are led to believe it to be true.

The technique has been demonstrated by authoritarian regimes elsewhere. Many results of modern opinion polling suggest that now, in the post-truth era, there is even greater potential for making the technique work than for dictatorships of the past. Even a fact-checking free press cannot stop it; the fact-checking gets shoved aside amid the repetition.

The early subjects of post-inaugural use of the big lie have been ones closest to the bruises the new president’s ego suffered from the nature of last year’s election and Mr. Trump’s status as the least popular incoming president since such polls began to be taken. These subjects have included the size of inaugural crowds and audiences and the President’s baseless accusation that widespread voter fraud accounted for much of the popular vote that went against him. As the administration is forced to make real public policy, there is good reason to expect that the same techniques being applied now to ego-driven questions will also be applied to substantive policy matters to bolster public support for them.

There is no limit to the range of policy questions on which such efforts may be made, but consider the chief implications for foreign relations of the United States.

The first consequence is a loss of trust among foreign governments and populations, who see how frequent and shameless is the lying and thereby become less inclined to believe the U.S. government even when it is telling the truth.

Gideon Rachman addresses this effect in the Financial Times, asking, “When an international confrontation looms, the US has traditionally looked to its allies for support — at the UN or even on the battlefield. But how will America be able to rally support, in the Trump era, if its allies no longer believe what the US president and his aides have to say?”

A demonstrator holds a sign at the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Chelsea Gilmour)

A lesser ability to muster international support in pursuit of shared interests is one of the specific harms that flow from a loss of foreign trust. Another more general harm is the loss of one of the biggest advantages that the free world, and the United States as leader of the free world, have had over unfree countries — a loss that comes from stooping to use one of the favorite techniques of regimes that rule the unfree.

As Rachman observes, “If the Trump administration now destroys American credibility, it will have handed the Russian and Chinese governments a victory of historic proportions. The cold war was a battle not just about economics or military strength, but also about the truth. The Soviet Union collapsed, in the end, partly because it was too obvious that it was a regime based on lies.”

Ill-informed Public

Another consequence of directing the big lie to domestic audiences is that this audience will become that much worse of an ill-informed constituency, incapable of engaging in the kind of well-informed debate that serves as a check against ill-advised foreign policies and can muster solid support for well-advised ones.

The difficulty in generating that kind of well-informed discussion is hard enough amid fake news and post-truth nonchalance about accuracy. Willing and relentless use of lying by those in power makes the difficulty even greater.

The problem is already great regarding domestic issues on which the people have some basis for making direct and independent observations. For example, two-thirds of Trump voters erroneously believe that unemployment increased during Barack Obama’s presidency, even though it significantly decreased. The problem will be at least as great on matters of foreign relations on which the public has less basis for direct observation and follows more what their leaders say.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

A subtler but potentially significant consequence is that the leaders who propagate a big lie, by being so committed to sustaining the message contained in it, come to believe the lie themselves. And when this happens, foreign policy and its execution become based directly, not just indirectly by way of a duped public, on falsehood.

We saw a bit of this with the more fanatical of the promoters of the Iraq War. One of the most fanatical of them, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (who, in the words of an anonymous official who worked with him, “has an unfortunate ability to delude himself because he believes so passionately in things”), came to believe that the mythical alliance between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda, manufactured as a propaganda point to gain public support for the invasion, actually existed, and even after the invasion he was wastefully directing resources to try to find evidence that it existed.

It is surely no coincidence that in this first week of Donald Trump’s presidency, George Orwell’s 1984 rose to the top of the Amazon bestseller list. We have not yet heard of any proposed government reorganization to create a Department of Truth.  We already have, however, gag orders to keep truth-telling public servants (especially, it appears, those who might have facts related to climate change) from interfering with messages from the top, including any messages that take the form of big lies.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.) 

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36 comments for “Trump’s Ego-Driven Lies

  1. chris moffatt
    January 26, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Paul: this lying is not a new thing that is beginning with Trump. No-one who is well-informed has believed what the US President has had to say in the last forty or more years, unless there was independent corroboration (rarely forthcoming), because what they have said has been in such contravention of facts and common sense that it was not believable. Nixon lied about Viet Nam and the economy. Reagan lied about the economy (remember trickle down), Iran, Nicaragua and the Soviet Union. Bush Junior lied about Al Qaeda, Iraq, the middle east generally, the economy (2008 crash anyone?), Afghanistan. Obama lied relentlessly about foreign policy and the middle east, even more relentlessly about climate change, about the Russian Federation and its leaders. Nothing new about Trump telling untruths. And no-one is going to believe him either unless there is independent corroboration. They have all been a credit to their mentor Doctor Josef Goebbels.

    • Gregory Kruse
      January 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Yes, but no president ever lied about the size of his inauguration crowd.

      • Rob Roy
        January 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm

        Ha, ha, ha, Mr. Kruse, yes, and that puts Trump in another liar category. Steinem said a majority of psychiatrists agree on the mental state of Trump, in short, he is mentally ill. I have read extensively on the psychology of his illness. However, I almost prefer an outright obvious liar to the slick manipulation of the recent presidents who lie just as much…but with planning and cunning. False flags are so easily saluted by Americans…goes clear back to the American Revolution. HRC would have carried on that deceit until we bombed Iran and Russia, too, and god knows what else that warmonger would have conceived. Trump will probably do anything Netanyahu wants (war with Iran, final genocidal cleansing of Palistinians), just as Clinton would have. The one solace is he might not bring on a war with Russia which would lead to WWIII. But I suspect Trump will soon be impeached and brought to trial. Let just hope it’s not by lying about Russia (and calling it treason) but for something provable, because so far “hacking” isn’t provable. But then we would be stuck with the vice-president and the rest of those immoral ignoramouses Trump has chosen to advise him.

  2. John P
    January 26, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Well put Mr. Pillar.
    Consortium News has gone on and on about rapprochement between Russia and the US but what I sense is that Trump has done it not for Americans but for some personal gain be it for his business or some other hidden bonus. Yes we need to be less aggressive towards Russia, but only to a point. Russia isn’t the most open country and Putin has his own hidden ambitions and certainly isn’t a most trust worthy open person either. He also knows, better than Trump, how to manipulate personal weaknesses.

    Now we have a pathological narcissist or a damaged ego as leader of America, adept at manipulating too many people with blinkered vision, in any direction he wants. Hopefully the mask falls off quickly.

    Narcissism or damaged ego: His great concern over crowd size and popular vote. His sensitivity to any criticism induces thoughtless nasty throwbacks. His delight in being seen close to good looking women. These give inklings to some psychological deviation.

    “This is the one thing Donald Trump, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and President al-Sisi in Egypt have in common.”
    by Robert Fisk – The Independent – Jan. 26, 2017

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-inauguration-crowds-bashar-al-assad-syria-el-sisi-egypt-in-common-robert-fisk-a7546941.html

    Now we have a wall going up between Mexico and the US. Ugly immigration laws for Muslims (most of Islamic negativity is a product of America and its allies perpetual war and interference in Islamic states, and their policy towards Israel). Now we have an American freeze on monetary aid to the Palestinian Authority. Now we have Trump accepting 2,500 new settler homes in occupied Palestine. Talk of moving the Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem. Now we have Trump censorship over EPA research reports. Now there’ll be a weekly Trump report on illegal alien crime (like Zionist abuse of Jews by perpetuating and raising fears of the Holocaust). Now we have a President’s acceptance of torture. No woman was present when he signed his ban on monetery support for any group connected to world abortion aid. No dialogue with China !!!

    How divisive can one get?

    One week in, and the world has darkened terribly in my eyes. To me, Trump is handing out prizes to the Zionist elite, to the Russian elite and big business. If so, why?

    http://fpif.org/globalism-one-percent/

    • Stiv
      January 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you for this comment. Your first paragraph says a lot.

      With due respect to Mr. Parry, I wish he’d get his head back into the game and out of the same ol same ol. Point made, time to identify and report on what’s happening NOW!

    • Sara
      January 26, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      “Ugly immigration laws for Muslims (most of Islamic negativity is a product of America and its allies perpetual war and interference in Islamic states, and their policy towards Israel).”

      “….where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?

      Where were they?

      They were asleep, weren’t they? Because liberals always sleep when their man is in office, particularly if their man is a smooth-talking cosmopolitan snake-charmer like Obama who croons about personal freedom and democracy while unleashing the most unspeakable violence on civilians across the Middle East and Central Asia.

      The United States has been at war for eight straight years under Obama, and during that time, there hasn’t been one sizable antiwar march, demonstration or protest. Nothing. No one seems to care when an articulate bi-racial mandarin kills mostly people of color, but when a brash and outspoken real estate magnate takes over the reigns of power, then ‘watch out’ because here come the protestors,”
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/26/double-standards-where-were-the-liberal-protestors-during-obamas-wars/

      Let’s forget the fact that the vast majority of women in the Women’s March would be stoned to death for their routine practices in the US if they lived in a region governed by the radical Islamic culture Obama supports. .

      Way beyond a hypocritical double standard.

      • Joe Tedesky
        January 27, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Great comment. Is there a bright side to all of this that by having Trump in the White House that the hypocritical pseudo lefty’s get their lazy asses of the couch, and they go out and finally protest? You don’t need to answer that, and I’m sorry I asked the question, but seriously is having a Prez Donald a wake up call? Now, the next thing needed is a good leadership to guide the wandering masses, other than the Clinton’s or others like the Clinton’s, and who might that be? Oh, and let me add how I am done with the Democrat Party, and done with the Republican one too, so where now?

        In my State Independents don’t normally have candidates to run in the primaries, and that means Independents don’t get a say in the voting process….nice rules, uh? This little rule makes it necessary to have at least one of the two corrupt big parties you need to choose from in order to be able to vote…so again, I don’t make the rules, but I am forced to live by them.

        Enjoyed your comment Sara…tks Joe

  3. D5-5
    January 26, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I am well disposed to hear about Trump’s lies in this first week, in what already seems an erratic and hectic course of demonstrating leadership, including his new look of command, which suggests egotism will be a serious factor upcoming. But I kept waiting for this author to say “although there is nothing much new in Chief Executive lying,” especially given the past month of excoriation of Putin and Trump by the Dems and the intell establishment on the baseless hacking claims (applauding Chris Moffat’s comment above). This article bothers me because it smacks of Left Demonizing too much evident these days in responding to Trump.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      January 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Whatever lies Trump is telling, he is not favoring el qaeda thugs in Syria. The Clintons’ entire career was based on lies, sell-outs and personal corruption.

      • Stiv
        January 26, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Point. However, time to MOVE ON! Do you actually think Trump is better? Look at his business operations and contacts. Lies and personal corruption are his hallmarks and those are the least of the problems. You think better is going to come? You just wait and see.

        • Bill Bodden
          January 26, 2017 at 11:39 pm

          Do you actually think Trump is better?

          Clinton and Trump have more or less equal capacity for being disastrous for the U.S. and other parts of the world. Their methods are just different. Your choice: Cholera or typhus?

  4. Bill Bodden
    January 26, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    “When an international confrontation looms, the US has traditionally looked to its allies for support — at the UN or even on the battlefield. But how will America be able to rally support, in the Trump era, if its allies no longer believe what the US president and his aides have to say?”

    The same as the U.S. always did in the past – make them an offer they can’t refuse. Washington and Wall Street are two of the most corrupt places on the planet, but graduates from our so-called institutes of higher learning in the Poison Ivy League and elsewhere eagerly apply there to start immoral careers.

  5. Zachary Smith
    January 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve been thinking a bit about my previous post (currently in “moderation”) and have formed a tentative conclusion that Donald Trump’s flailing around is an indication of two things. One, he is in over his had and he knows it. The man doesn’t have either the knowledge or the personality to be an effective President. It takes a lot out of a person to do all the work and busy-work, and Trump isn’t interested in either. Two, I’m also beginning to believe that he will secretly welcome being forced out of office. The controversy would enhance his place in the history books with him being the very first President who left office on that account. He could loudly pose as a “victim” for the rest of his days, and for all I know, possibly milk the situation for money.

    I’ve said all along Trump never wanted to win the 2016 election, and would do whatever it took to lose. It’s my belief that he was as surprised as the rest of the world that he beat out Hillary Clinton, so that would explain why there were no last-minute efforts to do something totally awful. Something unforgivable. His pre-inauguration work was sloppy and desultory, and the first days afterwards haven’t shown any improvement. President Pence could be relied upon to do everything of importance Trump wants from Government, so there would be no downside there.

    It could be argued that a resignation would do the same thing, but that wouldn’t puff up the fabulous ego. By making himself the “martyr” the story would continue to be about the most important player of all – me me me.

    Ego!

    • D5-5
      January 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      I like your previous take on the article, which I think right on. But I disagree on Trump wanting out. His ego is too big for the laughing stock that would make him. Additionally, he’s turning more serious now, more earnest. Plus think of what his quitting would mean in the eyes of his family. No, I think Trump will stay and survive any attempt to impeach him.

    • Peter Loeb
      January 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Excellent 2nd post, .Z Smith!

      “… he is in over his had and he knows it. The man doesn’t have either the knowledge or
      the personality to be an effective President. It takes a lot out of a person to do all the work
      and busy-work, and Trump isn’t interested in either….”

      There are more examples that can be dealt with here.

      One is the recent crisis with Mexico. It is outrageous to force/coerce
      any other nation to pay for our policies for our benefit.

      And so forth.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Zachary Smith
      January 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      After a day of thought I believe in my post above I got a bit carried away. The reason for the venom was some “fake news” I’d read about Trump going to establish “safe zones” in Syria, despite his promise not to act like Hillary or Obama there. From the UK Guardian, a paper which I will read with much more caution in the future:

      As a candidate, Trump did not present a consistent position on the use of US power to protect beleaguered Syrian civilians. While Hillary Clinton enthusiastically backed establishing no-fly zones, Trump called the proposal a blueprint for “world war three”.

      Clinton’s proposal, Trump argued, would pit US pilots against Russian ones, creating a risk for miscalculation and escalation, as well as potentially miring US forces policing safe zones against Assad’s troops and the groups fighting them, with no clear endgame.

      Yet Trump also explicitly backed safe zones as a measure to keep the US from admitting Syrian refugees. “We have enough problems in this country. I believe in building safe zones,” Trump said in a 10 October debate, without elaborating on how such a proposal could avoid the pitfalls he identified in Clinton’s earlier suggestion.

      The about-face seems rooted in executive orders that the new president is expected to sign as early as this week, which would temporarily ban refugees from Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq and Syria. Trump has proposed outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood, a group to which significant numbers of Sunni Muslims pay heed.

      They lied, and I foolishly bought their lies and felt betrayed. Sorry about that.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/26/turkey-russia-trump-syria-safe-zones

  6. rosemerry
    January 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    “United States as leader of the free world,”
    “The cold war was a battle not just about economics or military strength, but also about the truth. ”
    Sorry, Paul, but this sort of wording reminds us of the kind of lies you are deriding in others eg Wolfowitz.

    Trump is worse, and more unpredictable (perhaps he likes the Nixon “madman” idea of frightening enemies), but the lies of the USA and its pretence of leading the world because of its innate goodness have long been seen through by those who think and observe, and very few thinking people outside the USA find the words or actions of intervention and violence acceptable.

  7. ctrl-z
    January 26, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    The Earth is round.

    A) Real Fact
    B) Trump Fact

    Millions of illegal immigrants gave Clinton the popular vote.

    A) Real Fact
    B) Trump Fact

    Human activity is the cause of global warming.

    A) Real Fact
    B) Trump fact

    • Sara
      January 26, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      There were 3 million illegal immigrant votes in the 2016 election, acoording to Election Justice, the organization that published “Democracy Lost” on democratic primary fraud. So you’re saying a significant percentage of illegal aliens voted for Trump?

  8. Erik G
    January 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Erik, can we agree to use surname initials? I have been using “Erik” here for several years, and will use “Erik G” if you will be so kind as to add your last initial.

    • Erik
      January 27, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Sure nuf! done.

  9. backwardsevolution
    January 27, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I bought Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” for birthday presents for my son who has not yet read them. I am neither left, nor right, but pretty much right in the center.

    I want him to read how “some pigs are more equal than others” and all about the Ministry of Truth. It’s not only people on the left who are ordering these books. They need to be read by everybody.

  10. Wm. Boyce
    January 27, 2017 at 12:25 am

    “Rather it is the more specific technique of unrelentingly repeating a lie so often and with such apparent conviction, while ignoring all contrary evidence and refutations, that through sheer repetition many people are led to believe it to be true.”

    Hey, they’re just “alternative facts.” Joe Goebbels and Steve Bannon say so.

  11. Joe Tedesky
    January 27, 2017 at 1:50 am

    The term should be ‘unaccountable lies’.

    One reason the Democratic Party is in a spinning twirl, is due to the lying and sabotaging that was done by that of the Hillary/Podesta DNC group’s conspiracy to beat the Bernie Sanders campaign by hook or crook, and by using a no holds barred tactics to win. We may never know just what did happen back then, but early results after several primaries ended, were certainly questionable by many accounts…example: Iowa six coin toss’s, seriously in what world does that happen? Call the odd’s makers, call Vegas.

    Picking on Trump is to easy. Trump will be Trump. Why is this new to us? Haven’t we Americans known his schtick for far to long already. Trump does lie, but he plays the media like a harp. I’m not saying it always goes his way, but he has the talent to bounce back…and with that Teflon Donald frustrates his critics to make them only yell back louder, and he will always have lots of critics, which will always lead to more noise…noise is good, it is a good distraction to obstruct what’s really is going on. Donald isn’t unique there either…we have to focus on each individual issue it is that he is talking, and working on at the time…we have to keep our eyes open, and on him and the rest of the DC bandits, and never quit looking..Politicians are the masters to slight of hand.

    I see Mr Pillar’s moral point, and we should all hold these people’s feet to the fire of accountability…but let’s go after all of them, and especially enforce accountability consequences to the results of their lying. We have entered, like it or not, go ahead and blame yourself but don’t cause it’s not just you, but be warned that we have now entered into the U.S. Government Reality Show. It’s 2017, enjoy it.

  12. Herman
    January 27, 2017 at 10:35 am

    From the article:

    “Gideon Rachman addresses this effect in the Financial Times, asking, “When an international confrontation looms, the US has traditionally looked to its allies for support — at the UN or even on the battlefield. But how will America be able to rally support, in the Trump era, if its allies no longer believe what the US president and his aides have to say?”

    Without defending Trump, the whole article and the above quote are indeed something George Orwell would have appreciated.

    If indeed, telling the truth was a cornerstone of international relations, we would have long ago been isolated. Of course, it is not and the reasons for support or lack thereof derive from the self interest of the parties. How else would you explain the coalition of supporters for the tragedies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Ukraine and on and on.

    Trump will succeed or fail not because of his imperfections but his ability to exercise power and the ability to convince other parties that it in their self interest to pursue whatever the activity.

    I’m afraid we are likely to be disappointed with Trump in the areas where it was important that he succeed, particularly in defusing the Cold War. Still, we can hope.

  13. John
    January 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Let me state first I am not a Drumpf supporter, I voted Stein an vocally supported her, and voted Sanders in the Primaries, though I intended to vote for Stein in the general, even id Sanders won the primaries, because his support for the F-35 project, and the assault on the Mavi Marmara, and many other issues, left me unable to give him my support.

    That being said, I find this article rather intriguing in its deception. Of all the “lies” possible to point out that have crossed the sphincter in the middle of Big Cheeto’s face, this author chose to focus on the unemployment issue. As “unemployment rate” is a nebulous term, that could refer to several different ways of measuring the issue of unemployment, it is prone to misrepresentation. The method currently preferred by the government reporting bodies is really not a good indicator, in that it leaves out long term unemployed, as well as those who are new to the job market and unable to find jobs. What the “unemployment rate” is actually reporting is how many people are receiving Unemployment checks.

    Thus, the unemployment rate, as reported, can decline substantially without creating a single mew job, simply by enough time passing that unemployed people exhaust their benefits. It also counts a 10 hour a week minimum wage job for a worker whose 40 hour a week $35 job was outsourced as a reduction in unemployment. It also does not count a fresh college graduate unable to find a job as “unemployed”. To use such a deceptive statistic to vlaim another is lying is disingenous at best.

    Especially when the buffoon who is being accused of lying has so many other blatant lies to choose from, to pick this as an example hints at pure partisan demonizing, rather than honest reporting.

    This hint is made explicit later in the article when the author speaks of not knowing about any “ministry of truth” has yet been proposed by the man with a Tribble on his head. Why would he need to do this, when Obomber signed this very thing into law during his last days in office?

    I wonder at the audacity of this author citing Orwell, while writing one of the most Orwellian articles I have seen lately. Is this guy such a hipster that he thinks his irony will be taken seriously?

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 27, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Figures never lie, but liars always figure.

      Good comment John enjoy reading what you have to say …Joe

  14. Winston
    January 27, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Trump’s lies legitimized by his predecessors-including Obama. Syria was major example of Obama’s lie factory.

  15. Zachary Smith
    January 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    28 hours of “moderation” seems a little excessive to me, so I’m reposting what I wrote yesterday minus the link. Anybody wanting to examine the Salon piece can google the title. As I’ve said, this was written when I was under the influence of Fake News, and might have been a bit more harsh than necessary.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    This is the most disturbing Consortium News essay I’ve read for quite some time. It started well enough, and the title was pure genius. Donald Trump has indeed been acting like a rich, spoiled, never-disciplined brat who has gotten away with running roughshod over others for ages.. People in this country have become used to even the worst of Presidents (like G. W. Bush) at least making an effort to meet citizen expectations of how a President ought to behave. Trump’s dumb “tweets” and his allowing his spokesmen to act like complete morons has been disturbing, to say the least.

    But in my opinion author Pillar takes his “beat up Trump” too far on some issues. I cut/pasted this essay to Word and color-coded the parts which I feel need ‘highlighting’. Color text isn’t an option here, so I’ll use italics instead.

    “These subjects have included the size of inaugural crowds and audiences…”

    Bingo. I’ve seen no better example of the childish “ego” crap than this. But as for the rest of that sentence:

    “…and the President’s baseless accusation that widespread voter fraud accounted for much of the popular vote that went against him.

    Mr. Pillar, this may or may not be true, but so far as I know it not an outrageous claim. Hillary’s popular vote lead is due entirely to the state of California, and as you are surely aware, California has the most loosey-goosey voter rules in the nation. Considering that he won the election despite whatever happened or didn’t happen in California, I’ll concede that Trump is being totally stupid in personally harping on the issue.

    “For example, two-thirds of Trump voters erroneously believe that unemployment increased during Barack Obama’s presidency, even though it significantly decreased.

    Technically, unemployment decreased with Obama. In the Real World those Trump voters are entirely correct. Obama’s jobs were part-time and crap ones. Many young and not-so-young people are having to work two part-time crap jobs these days just to make ends meet.

    The first consequence is a loss of trust among foreign governments and populations, who see how frequent and shameless is the lying and thereby become less inclined to believe the U.S. government even when it is telling the truth.

    Where the hell has the author been for the past 16 years? I suspect I’m seeing the beginning of an effort to dump all the sins and crimes and lies of Bush the Dumber and Obama the Figurehead upon Donald Trump.

    Finally there was this gem.

    “It is surely no coincidence that in this first week of Donald Trump’s presidency, George Orwell’s 1984 rose to the top of the Amazon bestseller list. “

    No Mr. Pillar, I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. What size of a purchase do you suppose it would take to manipulate the Amazon bestseller list? I’d predict one of Hillary’s Billionaires or her Banker Buddies or Victoria’s Neocons could do it with a small part of their pocket change. I’d personally call this “created” and “factual” Fake News.

    Getting rid of problem presidents turns out to have a “solution” I’d never before known about.

    Don’t look now: It’s President Pence! Donald Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment
    Given Trump’s erratic behavior in his first few days, Washington is starting to murmur about the 25th Amendment

    Donald Trump will have nobody except himself to blame if this happens. His undisciplined and offensive diarrhea of the mouth could end up convincing even his most right-wing fans that they’d be better off with Mr. Sober & Civil Mike Pence for president. Hillary’s fanatics would do it out of pure mindlessness, cutting off their noses to spite their face.

  16. Herman
    January 27, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    As I read these comments it is clear that one cannot write an informative comment about Trump without first bashing him. The road for Trump will be a rough one simply because his character and behavior will always be used by those who oppose his policies. I hope intelligent outlets like Consortium will switch their focus to the issues being addressed and play down his unorthodox behavior. He is, no doubt, unique, a combative character who appears personalize everything. His antics remind me somewhat of Truman who threatened to punch a critic in the nose for criticizing his daughter’s piano playing.

    So, a plea to judge him on his policies and in doing so don’t use his personal peculiarities to attack his executive decisions. If he attempts to do half of what he says he will do, there will be plenty of meat on the table for everyone.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 28, 2017 at 12:23 am

      I can’t keep up with all of this, but if Trump actually starts construction of a physical southern wall, I’ve got to say that’s just plain dumb. It revs up memories of the Berlin Wall, and it’ll be both expensive and ineffective.

  17. WG
    January 28, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Before repeating the ‘least popular incoming president’ story it would be advisable to look into the demographic distribution the polls used. As was the case in the run up to the November election, the polls oversampled democrats, and undersampled republicans.
    That is not to say that Trumps ‘favorability’ ratings were as high as Obama’s were when he entered office in 2009, rather that they were essentially the same as George Bush in 2001.
    It’s disappointing to see poorly modeled polling results still being blindly repeated, even after the mess that polling was during the election.

  18. Abbie
    January 28, 2017 at 9:12 am

    This is an embarrassing article if indeed from a CIA analyst. The masses are fed fake news propaganda every day by MSM and NPR. It has now been proven that the inaugural crowd was as big as Obama’s. False pictures were put out to deceive the public. Re: the election results; first the left cried that it was an unfair election and when thePresident said “let’s look into voting fraud” they had a meltdown saying our elections are safe from abuse. Another lie the MSM feeds the masses. Check out Blackboxvoting.org for some real information. And throwing these two issues into the Iraq War lie by Paul Wolfowitz and the neocons is absurd. Big lies???? Really??? You may not recall CIA Director William Casey’s quote back in 1981 “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Dr. ulfkotte, a German journalist for 25 years went public about his job in media to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public. He said how journalists all over Europe were given stories to put their names on. The public is ill informed!! Surely, you know that. The President is hitting back at the lying media that is trying to undermine him in every way.

  19. Richard
    January 28, 2017 at 11:50 am

    All these ‘alleged lies’, but no proof, no examples of those lies? Typical fake news Paul R. Pillar and you use, ‘Financial Times’ as your source? Another fake news site. What hogwash, I will never waste my time reading anything from Mr. Pillar again, he has discredited himself completely.

  20. Brad Benson
    January 29, 2017 at 7:38 am

    After 16 years of Obama and Bush, the whole world is used to our Presidents lying. Remember when Ike lied to the world about the U-2 and then was embarrassed by Khrushchev? It was a big deal that a US President got caught in a lie. Now they lie so often about everything that friends and adversaries alike are mutually surprised when a President tells the truth.

    Our excuses for Regime Change in Iraq, Syria and Libya were all lies. Iran being a threat to anyone–another lie. Israel? Do we need to even address the lies we tell about Israel?

    Why would anyone complain about a President lying now–especially about such trivial ego-driven things? Oh that right…it’s President Trump now…things are different!” Personally I’m prepared to accept a few more lies about crowd size if that results in a few less lies of the type that put us into the middle of 7 wars, which resulted in at least 2M Deaths and countless refugees,

    We are now an International Pariah–no longer loved and no longer feared. Of course, people still have to fear the fact that, as the Empire collapses, we might fire off all our guns at once but, believe it or not, I’m glad Trump might be making that decision instead of Hillary Clinton.

    • James van Oosterom
      February 1, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hear, hear!

      Four brief, pithy paragraphs, and you’ve said it all, bro.

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