“Donald Trump lies a lot. In fact, he lies so often that several media organizations try to keep a running tally, and even try to draw political inferences from fluctuations in the number of lies he tells in a given month (although the trend has been relentlessly upward).
But we’ve crossed some kind of threshold in the past few weeks. It’s not so much that Trump is lying more as that the lies have become qualitatively different — even more blatant, and increasingly untethered to any plausible political strategy.
Back in the day, Trump lies tended to be those like his repeated claims that he was about to unroll a health care plan that would be far better and cheaper than Obamacare, while protecting pre-existing conditions.
Those of us following the issue closely knew that there was no such plan, indeed that there couldn’t be given the logic of health insurance; we also knew that he had made the same promise many times, but never delivered.
But ordinary voters aren’t experts in health policy and might not have remembered all those broken promises, so there was at least a chance that some people would be fooled.
In a way, Trump’s claims to be the victim of a vast “deep state” conspiracy were similar. They were obvious nonsense to people familiar with how the government actually works. But many voters aren’t experts in civics, and the conspiracy theorizing — like his claims that all negative reports are “fake news” — helped shield him from awkward facts.
But Trump’s recent lies have been different.
On Tuesday the White House science office went beyond Trump’s now-standard claims that we’re “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus and declared that one of the administration’s major achievements was “ending the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Who was that supposed to convince, when almost everyone is aware not only that the pandemic continues, but that coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging? All it did was make Trump look even more out of touch.”