“When the sky’s falling, I take shelter under bullshit.” — Scott Lynch, Republic of Thieves
He said, he said. It looks like we have a swearing contest. FBI Director James Comey has sworn tell the truth. By swearing to do so, he faces the possibility of perjury charges should he get caught in a lie. Trump has said he is “100 per cent willing” to testify under oath. I doubt that he would do so, but he did say it.
There would be the swearing contest: both men swear to tell the truth, and do so under oath – and they contradict each other. Each man says the other lies. Should we believe one or the other? They can’t both be right.
Comey has a long-standing reputation for honesty and candor. That doesn’t mean he is always correct in his assertions, or in his judgement. He showed a flaw in judgement in October 2016, or we wouldn’t be having all these problems with Trump. On the other hand, Comey’s reputation is that of a truth teller.
Trump has a long history of lying. Off the top of my head I can think of several whoppers he’s told. This inclines me to bend toward believing the man with the reputation of honesty, and away from a known liar.
Some of Trump’s whoppers:
- Trump said repeatedly over years that Barack Obama was not born in the United States of America. In his defense, after years of continuing the lie, with solid evidence including a birth certificate and a birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper, Trump did concede the truth of Obama’s birth. He didn’t apologize, but he did offer a couple of words to correct what he’d persisted in saying for years. Trump was lying.
- Trump said he’d watched as thousands and thousands of Muslim Americans in Jersey City, NJ, celebrated the attacks of 9/11. That didn’t happen. Trump was lying.
- Trump said Ted Cruz’ father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. He offered no evidence to support the claim. Trump was lying.
- Trump said that Obama had “wiretapped” him. He was not able to provide any evidence to support that claim. Trump was lying.
- Trump said hundreds of his friends died in the 9/11 attacks. He offered no evidence to support that claim, and is unwilling to list even a few names that would support the claim. Trump was lying.
- Trump said recently that the mayor of London told Londoners not to be alarmed, seemingly referring to terrorist attacks, when the mayor said Londoners should not be alarmed by heightened police presence as they combat terrorism. Trump grossly distorted the truth.
- Trump said Judge Curiel is a Mexican. The judge was born in Indiana. Trump was lying.
- Trump said that there was serious voter fraud in VA. In NH. In CA. In NC. He offered no evidence for the claims. Secretaries of State in those states have said the statement is false. Trump was lying.
- Trump said he won in the popular vote if you count the millions of illegal voters. Trump was lying.
- Trump said Obama founded ISIS. And Hillary was a co-founder. That is absurd, and false. Trump was lying.
Trump did not apologize to Judge Curiel. Nor did he apologize to mayor of London. Trump did not apologize to the people who actually did lose friends – or family members – in the attacks of 9/11. Trump did not apologize to Obama for the wiretap claim. Nor for the so-called “birther” claim. He did not apologize to the Muslim Americans of Jersey City, New Jersey. He did not apologize to the Cruz family. He’s not just a liar, but a liar who refuses to apologize when his lies come to light.
Whether Trump testifies under oath or not, we need to consider whom we should believe. Trump knows people view him as untruthful. That’s why he said he is 100% willing to testify under oath – he recognizes his own reputation for being untruthful. His own staff suggests that we take him seriously, but not literally. Kellyanne Conway said we should listen, not to his words, but what is in his heart. Maybe, she says, there are alternate facts, which are somehow different from facts. Paul Ryan says Trump is new to the job, and it takes a while to learn. Maybe he missed that history of the presidency class they give to newbies, or at least the chapters on Nixon and Clinton. Donald, if you’re reading this: They were both caught in lies and impeached (Clinton was not convicted. Nixon resigned in disgrace).
Trump shows a pattern of calling others liars. Crooked Hillary. Lyin’ Ted Cruz. Now Lyin’ Jim Comey. I can’t help but think of what we teenaged boys used to say when a bad odor made itself known. The first person that named the fart was told — He who names it, claims it. Or — He who detected, ejected it. Or He who senses it, dispenses it. Trump seems to claim, and sense, and detect, a lot of lying. The maturity of a teenaged boy is understandable for kid. We should expect more from our President.
Nineteen million television viewers saw James Comey testify. Afterward, Trump said that the testimony provided complete vindication for him. That was not my assessment.
Trump accused Comey of being a “leaker.” Comey did provide his own notes to a friend to pass to a journalist. And he explained why he did so. It was not classified information, and therefore may not qualify as a leak.
Trump met privately with Russians in the oval office and gave them classified information. He did this with no one present but the Russians, and representatives of the Russian media. Sounds kind of “leaky” to me.
Should we believe the man with the reputation for truth telling, or the serial liar?