Here are three things I believe unequivocally:
1) My wife and dog like me even when I am a bonehead. Well, at least the dog.
2) Fried foods are an underappreciated cornerstone of civilization and must never be scorned.
And 3) The truth matters.
I mention that last one because this week Time posted a big interview with President Trump in which that did not seem to be the case. Let me be more direct. It was like a discussion of reality in a sauna with Salvador Dali. Through a meandering series of stream-of-consciousness answers, the president painted truth as utterly subject to interpretation…or rather,hisinterpretation.
On his widely reported (and unproven) claims about wiretapping by the Obama administration, millions of fraudulent votes in the last election, and Ted Cruz’s father sipping coffee with President Kennedy’s assassin, Mr. Trump repeatedly refused to acknowledge any mistake, misstatement, half-truth or lie.
Instead, and oddly for a man who shouts “fake news”like“olé”ata bullfight, he defended and repeated several of his false claims by saying he read them in the paper. Or saw them online. Or heard them somewhere; as if a president would have no resources to, oh say, check those claims for accuracy. It’s circular logic, of course, sort of like: I believe any jobs reports showing progress by my predecessor were fabricated because they didn’t suit my needs. Now they do, so they must be real.
By the end I was recalling a great Steely Dan lyric: “Don’t believe I’m taken in by stories I have heard, I just read the Daily News and swear by every word.” But the words in this interview are hard to swear by because they are so filled with misdirection, falsehoods, and hints of falsehoods.
President Trump most assuredly says things that are true. He can make valid points. He often cuts through the DC noise and nonsense better than most, and heaven knows this town could use more of that. But his seeming belief that he can freely spout rubbish; that “truth” is whatever he deems it to be is dangerous for the country — and for him.
Because the truth trumps popes, potentates and yes — even presidents.