To accuse anyone of lying one must be sure of the facts, even if that person is Donald Trump. Of course, no thinking person could conclude that the President is a “nice guy”, but is he a liar? Well, that’s another thing.
Though examples of his chicanery are numerous, I want to focus on a recent Trump tweet which I instantaneously knew was a falsehood.
Let’s consider the recent episode with James Mattis, a Four-Star US General, who made his name in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. Famously, Mattis made some pretty brutal comments about the conduct of war. No doubt based on his uncompromising approach, Trump appointed Mattis to be Secretary of Defence, even though he was within the 7-year period which prevented former military personnel from serving in office. His appointment required the approval of the Senate and Congress, passing with ease. Mattis assumed office in 2017.
In 2019, Mattis resigned because of Trump’s foaming-at-the-mouth mad policy towards Syria and NATO. Until recently, he has kept his mouth shut, as is the norm for retired generals.
Why write about Mattis today? Because of the below tweet from Trump:
In it, Trump declared that he nicknamed Mattis “Mad Dog”. But Mattis has endured – because he doesn’t like it – this nickname since at least 2004, if not before. This 2013 article – 6 years before Trump approached him – refers to “Mad Dog Mattis”. And this clipping from the Los Angeles Times dated 2004 – a mere twelve years before Trump selected him – also refers to the “Mad Dog” nickname. Trump’s tweet – like many of them – is a provable lie.
But proving that Trump lies is like shooting fish in a barrel. What’s more interesting is why Trump has a penchant for untruths. In this particular case, no votes could be won in declaiming that he came up with the nickname. Lying about a Four-Star General will not go down with his base, most of whom will have heard of Mad Dog Mattis before he became Secretary of Defence. Frightening, dangerous behaviour by anyone, let alone someone in the highest of office. He has no concept of truth. Perilous times are ahead.