Unknowns always exist in politics, but in the case of the Trump administration, that’s severely compounded by his habit of constantly lying. That’s especially true because the lying disease seems to be catching.
High-ranking administration officials regularly stand before the public and say things that plainly aren’t true. Increasingly, so do many of their leading allies in Congress. Not just in the sense that they make exaggerated or contestable claims about the likely impact of their policies — though they do that too — but in the sense that they aren’t even correctly stating what their policies are.
On the campaign trail, for example, Trump promised time and again that his administration would build the Keystone XL pipeline and do it with American steel. His actual executive orders do not require this. But even after his administration clarified that he wasn’t requiring the pipeline to be built with American steel, Trump stood before the cameras at an Environmental Protection Agency event and said, “If you want to buy pipelines in this country, you’re going to buy your steel here and you’re going to have it fabricated here.”
There’s no sneaky verbiage here or technical explanation of some sense in which this is accurate. Trump is just claiming to have ordered something he never ordered — just as how in the alternative universe of Trumpland, he held the best-attended inauguration in history and had the most productive first 100 days since FDR.
He then goes on to list examples of lies about the Obamacare repeal, and notes this:There’s always been a certain amount of dishonesty in politics, but Trump has taken it to a new level — and seems to be making it work. His allies in Congress have adopted the same technique, and it’s the core of House Republicans’ health care sales job.
It is a ridiculous situation that only self blinded culture warriors could defend.It’s worth emphasizing that this kind of lying is different in character from what we are used to hearing in politics.Politicians, for example, exaggerate routinely about the job-creating punch of whatever new initiative they’re touting, far beyond what most objective analysts would state. But typically, politicians select economic policies that they truly believe would boost economic growth and create jobs. There happens to be systematic ideological disagreement about whether tax cuts supercharge the economy or environmental regulations kill growth.But what you don’t hear is politicians saying they are cutting taxes when they are actually raising them, or claiming to have put in place a rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when they actually did the opposite.On the ACHA, in contrast, House Republicans just voted for a law that will let insurance companies charge patients with preexisting conditions arbitrarily high premiums to avoid covering them. And they are running around the country saying the opposite.