I get it. It is no secret Donald Trump has trouble with the facts.
Just one day after being inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, Trump dropped his first major delusion bomb as POTUS in front of the nation’s intelligence community.
After slamming journalists for being “dishonest” and claiming all those in the room had voted for him, Trump told those gathered at CIA headquarters on his first Saturday in office that his Inaugural crowds stretched all the way back to the Washington Monument and that up to 1.5 million attended.
It was not true at all and there were photos to prove it, a lot of photos in fact.
I get the whole thing was a bit embarrassing, especially since it came from the newly minted Commander-in-Chief.
Yet, that did not stop Trump from ordering his new Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who was still unpacking boxes in his new White House digs, to go in front of the media and scold them for reporting on Trump’s smaller than average crowd size while insisting that everyone but Trump’s team was wrong.
It was a bad start for a president tasked not with feeding his own self-aggrandizing ego and an even worse start for freedom of the press and the hopes that a Trump presidency would turn out all right in the end.
Still, it was only his first few days of office. There was talk among pundits that the new president simply did not have time to shed ‘campaign Trump’ for the more Oval Office worthy Trump that could lead a nation.
There was hope we could put all the silliness and “alternative facts” behind us if we just gave Trump a chance.
Now, over one week into his presidency, it is starting to sink in. America has a Commander-in-Chief who looks into the mirror each morning and sees the only guy in the world he’s convinced is completely right.
President Trump is still being Trump. It is the same fact-bending shtick he’s traded on for a long time. Only now, it is not only his ego at risk but the welfare of an entire nation.
“This is the essence of Mr. Trump: selling himself or his plans by massaging and embellishing facts, or simply making them up and hoping everyone plays along,” the New York Times editorial board wrote in a scathing Jan. 29 op-ed about the new POTUS. “It is a strategy he developed, quite purposefully, during his days as a brash New York City real estate tycoon, and later relied on as a TV personality. He even has his own term for it: ‘truthful hyperbole.’”
It is that narcissistic wordplay and stretched out truths that led Trump to tweet out on Jan. 25 “As your President, I have no higher duty than to protect the lives of the American people,” and then the very next day get in a diplomatic damaging twitter war with Mexico’s president sparked by Trump’s repeated insistence that Mexico pay for his wall.
It is that penchant for hyperbole that led President Trump to threaten to “send in the feds” to rid crime in Chicago after he watched a segment on Fox News.
Then, on Friday, it was the same Trump who, without consulting with or developing a cohesive plan with federal agencies first, signed into law a measure barring Syrian refugees and citizens of 7 Muslim-majority nations.
As protests and chaos broke out at America’s airports on Saturday — a direct result of his one-day-old executive action — Trump declared contrary to the facts, that “it’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”
On Sunday, as thousands gathered outside the White House and across America to protest his Muslim ban, Trump issued a new statement, blaming the media for calling it a Muslim ban (according to Rudy Giuliani “Muslim ban” was Trump’s own words) and claim the named nations were a “source” of terror. (They were not).
Trump then took to Twitter to skewer those who opposed his executive action and accuse two Senators of trying to start “World War III.”
Here’s the thing, Trump’s “truthful hyperbole” shtick is not funny anymore. He is not a self-centered reality star preening for a television audience. He is the President of the United States and declaring a war on facts with no regard to the casualties and the cost to American democracy.
In just one week, his lies have grown from giggle-inducing falsehoods about the size of his crowds to dangerous lies wrongly branding nations as sources of terror.
Simply ignoring the delusional despot will not make him go away.
Donald Trump is now our president and his words —mangled facts and all — impact us all.
Trump’s lies — and his ego — thrive when unchallenged, which is exactly why can no longer afford to bury our heads while Trump puts himself — and not America — first.