Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House has already sold more than a million copies just in print, and its scathing coverage of the president has him ranting on Twitter and in private conversations. The former Washington Post reporter who, as a very young journalist brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon, notes that the ranting is one of Trump’s most defining characteristics when faced with the truth.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, Woodward recounted one incident as an example:
‘I think the key in examining Trump is actually what will he do when people present him with facts? For instance, it sounds a little esoteric, but the World Trade Organization, which the United States is a member of — very important, allows us to file complaints of unfair trade practices — and there’s a meeting in the Oval Office and the president says, “Well, the World Trade Organization is the worst organization ever. We lose all of our cases.”‘
When staffers and aides explained that this wasn’t true (the U.S. has actually won 85.7 percent of the cases brought before the World Trade Organization), he refused to listen. His advisors even suggested he call his own trade representative to confirm this.
‘I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to call him, I don’t want to deal with it.’
This refusal by Trump to accept facts has been on display for many years, but became even more pronounced when he began his presidential campaign and has not let up since he won the election. For instance, he still insists that he won the election by the largest margin of any Republican president in history (he didn’t) and that his poll numbers are higher even than Abe Lincoln’s (they’re not, and actual scientific polling didn’t exist at that time).
When he’s confronted by facts that contradict his narrative, Trump simply ignores them or rails against “fake news” and continues making himself look foolish. The most dangerous piece of this, however, is that his supporters believe him. 32 percent of them, in fact, still say they find Trump to be “honest and trustworthy” despite fact checks that prove he lies multiple times per day and has since his inauguration.
While Woodward stopped short of assessing Trump’s mental health, saying that he is not a psychiatrist and cannot make an accurate judgment on that, the anecdotes in his book prove the assessment about his inability to tell the truth repeatedly.
Even Trump’s attorney, John Dowd, realized that Trump was simply incapable of telling the truth, according to Woodward’s book. In an exchange during which Trump insisted on testifying under oath in an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Woodward recounted the following exchange:
‘“Mr. President, I cannot, as a lawyer, as an officer of the court, sit next to you and have you answer these questions when I full well know that you’re not really capable.” Dowd wanted to dress it up as much as possible, to say, it’s not your fault. It’s the burden of the office. He knew in this confrontation he could not be insulting. He could not say what he knew was true: “You’re a fucking liar.” That was the problem.’
A president unable to tell the truth and accept facts is a president unfit to sit in the Oval Office. With any luck, Trump won’t sit there much longer.
See the full Morning Joe segment with Bob Woodward below:
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