“The only time I’m telling you the truth is when I say, ‘I’m lying'” should be the motto of the Trump presidency. Fact-checking organizations were kept constantly busy during the campaign with investigations into Trump’s various claims, and most of the time they found he simply wasn’t being honest. Politifact awarded Trump the 2015 “Lie of the Year” prize for the vast number of false statements he made on the campaign trail during the GOP primaries.
However, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah discovered something interesting about Trump, and he discussed it on Wednesday evening. Since he has gotten elected, Trump has been quite honest in telling people that he has been lying to them. Oh sure, he continues to lie on a regular basis, and Politifact continues to call him on them. But he has also started to admit that he has been telling lies for the entire campaign.
Noah introduces the segment with a clip of Trump’s recent visit to Wisconsin. During that visit he said of House Speaker Paul Ryan:
He has been terrific. And you know, honestly, he’s like a fine wine: Every day goes by I get to appreciate his genius more and more. Now if he ever goes against me, I’m not going to say that.
Noah observes that it’s not the compliment that is remarkable to him — Trump and Ryan have been at odds at times — but it is the admission from Trump of “how empty his words are.”
Noah highlights several of Trump’s post-election admissions that he was basically just blowing smoke at voters with some of the things he said. The chief of those was the call to “Lock her up!” directed at Hillary Clinton. “Forget it. That plays great before the election. Now we don’t care, right?” Trump says.
Then there’s the “Drain the swamp!” rallying cry that was so popular with Trump supporters. The incoming president now says he hates the phrase. Maybe in part because he is offering jobs in his administration to a number of the swamp-dwellers his voters were expecting to be drained.
So far at least, Trump’s admission that he has been routinely lying to everyone doesn’t seem to have had any impact on many of his supporters. In fact, during an MSNBC town hall with Bernie Sanders a few days ago, several Trump voters indicated that they never believed Trump would do many of the things he promised during the campaign, such as the Muslim ban. That led an astonished Sanders to ask why they would vote for someone they knew was lying to them. No one had an answer.
Trump knows why he lies, even if his voters don’t. It’s because — and you have to give him credit for this — he knows exactly what to say, and when and whom to say it to, to accomplish his goal.
Here is the segment from The Daily Show featuring Donald Trump being amazingly honest about being dishonest.