Trust builds over time through a series of kept promises. When elected officials lie, the public loses trust and government is weakened. A government structured by representation requires it’s leaders to be honest in order to legitimize the process. Donald Trump has told over 220, 000 documented lies. His supporters deny or excuse the fact he is an epic liar, however, the proof of his dishonesty is proven in actual video of him speaking or in his tweets. There is much professional speculation that his pathological lying is rooted in the diagnosis of Anti- Social Personality Disorder. Sociopaths are driven to lie and manipulate for their own self interests, no matter the harm to others. Another psychological explanation for his dishonesty is a flaw in character of the kind that Lincoln would have repudiated. Trump’s reckless pattern of holding super- spreader events, catching the virus himself and infecting others is an example of behaviors that in saner political times would have been disqualifying.
During the final debate, Trump replaced his unhinged behavior of the first debate with non-stop lies, exaggerations, and false projections. Clearly, his strategy to win re-election is to hope enough people will believe the lies he tells which attempt to brand Biden as corrupt. Trump copes with his insecurities by employing the defense mechanism of projection to deflect damaging accusations towards him onto others. In 2015, while he was under investigation for corruption, he labeled Clinton “Crooked Hillary.” In reaction to the New York Times reporting on the underpayment of his federal taxes and his secret bank account in China, he has labeled Joe Biden the most corrupt person to ever to run for office. This in reaction to him being called the worst, most corrupt U.S. president in our history. Does anyone believe that everyone else is always guilty of what Trump is being accused of?
Trump is all in on telling untruths consistent with his campaign of misinformation. He knows he cannot win based on his job performance and likeability so he is depending on smear tactics of Biden and Democrats. In the debate, he accused Biden of receiving 3.5 million dollars from Russia through associations with Putin somehow related to business dealings with his son Hunter. Fact- checkers reveal there is no evidence that substantiate that claim. Trump also claims the $750 payment on his tax return was a filing fee and that he pre-paid millions in taxes, both claims found to be false. When Biden brought up the Chinese bank account recently reported by the New York Times, Trump falsely claimed the account is closed.
HE DOUBLED DOWN ON THE FOUR YEAR LIE THAT HE WILL RELEASE TAX RETURNS WHEN THEY ARE OUT OF AUDIT AND THAT HE HAS NO BUSINESS DEALINGS WITH CHINA. BY NOT DIVESTING HIMSELF OF HIS BUSINESSES AND CLARIFYING WHAT HIS CONNECTION IS TO THE BUSINESS REVENUES HIS KIDS ARE GENERATING OFF OF HIS PRESIDENCY, HE IS ENGAGING IN BEHAVIORS WHICH ENRICH HIMSELF AND CORRUPTS U.S. FOREIGN POLICY.
The sociopathic lying about the COVID-19 pandemic remains the most dangerous lie of all. The majority of Americans observe his successful gaslighting of his loyal followers about the pandemic with anger and fear. The enabling of his reckless rallies and disinformation campaign is causing people to get sick, suffer, and die and prevents the possibility of containing the virus and returning America some semblance of normalcy. Unless truthfulness becomes the criteria for a president to stay in office, Americans will needlessly suffer more than necessary from future pandemics and other national disasters.
Trump’s lying has been wrongly minimized as merely a negative trait of his flawed character. In reality, his lying is a corrupt, dangerous threat to the quality of our lives and the survival of our democracy. His lying about COVID has promoted behaviors by Americans that have caused preventable deaths. His lies about business dealings with foreign governments have weakened the presidency. His commitment to lying as a strategy to stay in power predicts a decline in America’s image and influence in the world that could be permanent.
Hopefully, voter turnout will begin the healing of the country. In these times of division created by Trumpism, we should recall the character of Lincoln and his commitment to democracy over his self-interests. He called for the ending of slavery, which was not a popular political position at the time. He did so because he believed it was ultimately the only way to unite the country. Choosing a country over his political standing is something Donald Trump Is incapable of doing. The United States of America needs a united, not a divider if it is to survive and thrive morally and economically.