Donald Trump and his inner circle lie almost every time they open their mouths. This has been true from the beginning of the campaign, and Trump’s election did nothing to tone down or slow his vast capacity for exaggeration and BS. To call him a pathological liar is to state the obvious.
But few foresaw the transformative pull his lying would have on the Republican Party leadership and the career operatives in the agencies he now oversees. Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue lied about what they heard Trump say in the now infamous “shithole” immigration meeting, and were busted last night by the Washington Post.
Then yesterday in a Senate Judiciary hearing, DHS Secretary Nielsen tried to dismiss, dissemble and evade questions about what she heard in that same immigration meeting. NJ Senator Cory Booker wouldn’t let Nielsen off the hook, calling her out and shaming her for enabling racism and reminding the room that silence in the face of hatred is complicity. In what has become a depressing daily saga of presidential lies and spin, Booker’s was a profoundly powerful moment.
Some of the hapless partisans working daily in Trump’s blast zone may ultimately be shamed into admitting that they’ve lied to make Trump look good. But as they fall on their swords most won’t realize until too late that Trump has zero loyalty to them — ZERO. It has become axiomatic that Trump destroys everything and everyone he touches.
We can’t let lying become normalized, no matter how exhausting it is to point out and protest. As Booker demonstrated, we have to express moral outrage in personal terms — how it affects us — without completely assassinating the character of the liar. The liar is not unacceptable but the dishonesty is, and we must continue to remind liars that lying for a corrupt demagogue like Trump is morally repugnant and shameful. The rage that Booker expressed is the same rage we must ultimately channel into action at the polls. Vote them out.