A headline from yesterday’s NY Times reads, “Trump Wants Washington Post Reporter Fired Over Misleading Tweet.” The article is in response to Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel having tweeted a picture of a (mostly) empty arena before a Trump speech. Weigel posted this from his personal Twitter account, not one affiliated with the Washington Post, and when he was called out on the matter Weigel removed the tweet and apologized for his actions, which seems about as reasonable a thing as one can do: after all, people do make mistakes (though not all of them are as awful as The Apprentice. See photo above. Ugh.)
On the theme of making mistakes, which Weigel clearly did with this post, it’s clear that Trump cannot abide such things. After all, mistakes were the number one reason Trump had to fire all those famous apprentices, from Gary Busey to Dennis Rodman and Michael Flynn. For further enlightenment on the theme of mistakes, it would be helpful to take a quick look at at PolitiFact’s rating of Trump’s Truth-o-Meter, which records the accuracy of statements issued by public personalities.
If you’re having a difficult time reading that graphic—perhaps because it’s a small screen, your eyes are tired or you’re a Republican—69% of President Trump’s statements are either Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire. Another way of saying that would be that Trump says things that are true, or mostly so, only 31% of the time.
If you’re a parent or an employer, pause and think for one moment what it would be like if your child or your employee lied to you 69% of the time…
As I mentioned with Weigel’s tweet, we all make mistakes, though it’s important to remember that Weigel’s was one tweet, which he immediately corrected and apologized for, while PolitiFact’s scorecard takes into account nearly 500 statements made by Trump. You might think—given Trump’s disdain of mistake-making—that there might be some consequences for such a string of errors. One shudders to imagine Trump, passionately emblazoned as some medieval priest, mortifying his flesh with a cat-o’-nine-tails over each error. But self-flagellation, of the flesh or the conscience, requires time, and as a recent NY Times article indicates, time is not on Trump’s side—that is, when you’re watching 4-8 hours of television every day (that is not a typo) and running the most powerful country on earth, certain activities, such as critical self-awareness, must fall to the wayside.
What about from constituents, then? Will voters hold Trump accountable for lying 69% of the time? On that issue it’s too early to tell, but given that 100% of us knew that Trump liked to brag about grabbing women’s pussies and still we elected him President, I wouldn’t hold my breath. After all, it’s been nearly one year since he took office and 32% of us still think he’s doing a good job.
32 is a curious number, and not simply because it’s greater than the percentage of time Trump tells the truth. Given that only about 2-3% of the richest of us are actually benefitting—at least in the short-term and as measured by financial gains—by the policies Trump’s enacted, it’s strange so many of us continue to think he’s doing well. All of which proves what history has demonstrated time and time again: when asked to bet for or against the ability of the average human to be hoodwinked against their own self-interest, hold your tongue and give additional funds to the local school. With enough effort we can empower educators to raise an electorate smart enough to rat-out con artists like this.