Profiles in Mendacity

Mendacity-lying, untruthfulness, dishonesty, deceit…Do you catch my drift? It’s a word that hasn’t been used much since playwright Tennessee Williams died. Time to dust it off. It’s the most accurate word to describe Donald Trump and his whole corrupt administration. If Trump had a human resources department their application form would read “Mendacity: yes/no” and “yes” would always be circled by any savvy job seeker. Look at all the shining examples of it. Bill Barr? Can there be a finer specimen of double and triple talking mendacity short of Dickens’ fictional lawyer Uriah Heep? Any “no” job candidates who slip past Trump’s sharp-eyed sycophants don’t last long. They’re last hired, first fired. Shot out through the MAGA Master’s rapidly revolving door onto the pavement with a tweety blast of patented presidential invective.

The American people have had to put up with more than three years of Trumpian mendacity now. Roughly half of them seem to enjoy it. They equate his lying with “talking tough” and “pushing back.” They seem to prefer a crude abusive liar in the White House. The other half are appalled by everything he says and does. Which side is right? Doesn’t really matter, all of us lose in the end. His administration has been lucky so far. It has had no crises to deal with except the ones it created for itself. Now it has a crisis it didn’t create, a huge one. And now the price for its bumbling and deceit is being paid in blood, American blood. We need a great and inspiring leader in these trying times. Even a mediocre leader would be better than nothing. And what have we got? Donald the Con Man Trump lying his fat ass off in the face of death and economic destruction.

Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said: “The buck stops here!” Trump should have one that says “Who, me?” His list of scapegoats is long starting with Barack Obama and looping back to him once he gets to the end of it. The Democrats, the Deep State, the Trump haters, That woman, or Those women. There are hundreds of names on his list but there’s one name you’ll never find there…Donald Trump. But this is all just talk, and talk is cheap. Nowhere cheaper than in the Trump administration. Cheap and subject to change without notice. In tough times the leader of a nation must lead by example as well as words. Lincoln did it. Churchill did it. Even George W. Bush did it. How about Trumpie? Even the faintest hint of leading by example would be appreciated in such perilous times.

Case in point. Another of his now daily gabfests where the coronavirus experts dispense bad news and good advice which the president then proceeds to pooh-pooh and undermine. The latest round of advice? Wear cloth masks. Who? Everybody now. Things are that bad now. Does the president second his experts’ motion? Are you kidding? “It’s just voluntary. Recommended by the doctors but you don’t have to do it. I’m not going to do it.” And when reporters try to ask him “Why not?” he does his usual act…throws a temper tantrum, says he doesn’t like their disrespectful language, and changes the subject. That’s Leadership? What if Winston Churchill had roared that he had nothing to offer the British people but “blood, sweat and tears” and wrapped with “but none of them will be mine.” Or Harry Truman again, with his “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen…so I’m going to Mar-a-Lago to stuff my face and play golf ‘till this crisis blows over.’” But the real message he delivers to the American people is “all this mask stuff applies to you schmucks but not to me. I’m a special case. Don’t expect me to do what you plebeians do.” Inspiring? Go figure. Mendacity.

At that same dog and pony show, Trump showed his cool-headed decisiveness for the umpteenth time. Social distancing is already the law in all except those few states governed by members of the Flat Earth Society. Another expert recommendation…not just a recommendation, but a “do it, you bloody fools!” It wouldn’t have taken much effort by the president to make it nationwide. The inside-the-beltway buzz was that he was gonna’ do it. But not so much as a peep escaped his pink puffy lips. And when a reporter tried to press the question, more mendacity. “No need to make it national. Only a few states don’t have it and they don’t need it.” The First Liar of the land has spoken. The experts and truth-tellers are Trumped, again!

I could go on, but it’s too disgusting, and there will be more to come. I guarantee it. Meanwhile, Trump’s “Great America,” already the laughingstock of much of the world, already a country viewed by others as being unpredictable, unreliable, and in helpless decline, will prove just how far in decline it is by finishing perhaps 100th out of the world’s 150 nations in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Maybe somewhere between Myanmar and Mozambique. Not because Americans on the front lines of the battle didn’t work their guts out and risk their lives to save the lives of others. Not because most of the states and many cities didn’t throw all they had into the fight. But because Donald Trump didn’t do his job. Didn’t do his job because “frankly my dear he doesn’t give a damn” about anybody but himself. He won’t change. He can’t change. We’re stuck with him, and all the chaos his mendacity creates…and all the Americans that chaos has already killed, plus the many more it will kill so long as he remains in office.