Years ago, we knew a young man — we’ll call him “Stuart” — who was a compulsive liar. Stuart gave us cheap glass knick knacks and insisted they were Waterford crystal. Stuart claimed to have a degree from Oxford University, but he had actually never even been to community college. Stuart claimed to trained with swimmer Greg Louganis, and got really angry when we pointed out that Stuart would have been just six years old when Greg was winning gold medals.
At first, his outrageous lies were charming or amusing. But one afternoon, Stuart (wearing a white lab coat, as did all Jenny Craig employees at the time) stumbled on an accident scene. Stuart insisted he was a doctor, boarded the ambulance with an injured victim, and started spouting lines he’d heard on ER: “I want a CBC, chem, and coag panel, stat!”
It took the ambulance crew about five minutes to see through his lies. They found Stuart neither charming nor amusing. They dumped him on the side of the road and said, “You’re going to kill somebody.”
And eventually, Stuart worked up to exactly that. One day, feeling ignored, he amused himself by phoning in bomb threats to local stores. One afternoon, bored, he stole a prescription pad and tried to persuade a pharmacist to fill a hand-written order for opium. And one night, fleeing a drug deal gone bad, he rammed his vehicle into the car of a church-going grandmother and snuffed out her life.
Because he has a compulsive need to have everything associated with his name be the biggest and the best, President Trump insists his inaugural crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period.” Because he cannot stand to have lost the popular vote, he insists “millions of people who voted illegally” distorted the results. These claims are lies.
Worse, they’re not even very good lies. While no exact count of inaugural crowds exists, clear photos and videos from numerous sources show a thin crowd. Metro ridership figures show fewer people rode public transit that day than usually do on a normal Friday. Ratings prove the television audience was the fifth largest ever. And all available evidence points to zero voter fraud in the last election.
I’ve talked to people — good people — who insist that, despite the lies, Mr. Trump can still be a fine president. They say astounding things in his defense, like “Maybe he’s right about the crowds” or “He’s not the only politician who has lied” or “He’s just joking.”
Me? I’ve seen this all before. And when I see someone so obsessed with propping up his self-image that he will tell large and obvious lies, I wonder how long it will be before that same person causes terrible injuries and irreversible harm.
What You Can Do: Know the facts. When others spout propaganda they’ve heard on Fox News or the Huffington Post, speak up and tell the truth.
How big were the election crowds, really?
Did millions of illegal voters sway the popular vote?