Here I am blogging yet again about Donald Trump’s mendacity, but the guy really is remarkable. Speaking to assembled troops in Iraq, Trump claimed to have given them a whopping 10% raise. The president recounted how he generously over-ruled the grinches: “They said: ‘You know, we could make it smaller’…[but] I said: ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.’ ”
In fact US military personnel have gotten no such raise. None is planned. Trump just made it up. The “they said…I said…” story is apparently pure fiction. It sort of recalls Trump’s promise, just before the midterms, of a 10% middle class tax cut. That, too, was sheer fabrication; it came out of nowhere and went nowhere. (I guess Trump likes the number 10%.)
Now, the troops know, of course, that they have not received such a raise. If they inferred that one is coming, they will soon realize that it is not. So, why lie to the faces of a group of people who know, or will soon know, that what you are saying is false? Once again the question of characterizing Trumpian falsehoods is posed: mendacity or delusion? Trump emits falsehoods routinely, shamelessly. Sometimes, as I have shown, it is clear that Trump must know he’s lying. But when the falsehood is so readily refuted that it seems that it must be self-defeating, we have to consider an alternative possibility: that Trump is capable at any moment of constructing and believing an alternative reality for himself in which anything he says is true. In such cases, Trump is a self-delusionist rather than a liar. (I’m not a clinician. I’ve also used the term “delusional fantasist.” Can any psychologist readers suggest a technically correct term?)
Needless to say, it is very bad when the President of the United States is an habitual liar. Trump’s mendacity debases public discourse in this country, helping to obliterate the commonly understood line people draw between truth and falsehood. But his delusional fantasm is no less a matter of concern. The President of the United States should have a pretty good grasp of reality. If the most powerful man in the world is capable of detaching himself from reality, entering a fantasy world of his own creation whenever it pleases him, we are all in serious trouble.