Thomas Lucente: Trump’s continual lies pose a real threat to American democracy

By Thomas J. Lucente Jr. -


See past columns by Thomas J. Lucente Jr. at

President Donald Trump is a clown.

I’ve tried and tried to give this administration the benefit of the doubt. After all, I am glad Hillary Clinton did not win. Trump’s nonsense will only harm the United States in the short term, while Clinton’s policies would have been far more damaging in the long run.

But it simply can’t be done. At least not for thinking individuals who value liberty.

The lies that emanate from the White House are ridiculous. Three-year-olds caught with their hands in the cookie jar come up with more believable tales.

While the adage that all politicians lie might be true, it is not an excuse. You can’t give the president a pass by making that statement.

Besides, I am not even sure how true that is. They probably all do lie a little, but most do not lie any more than any other human being. But never in the history of the Republic has a president lied so poorly, so often about so many different things. And oftentimes he is lying about things that are inconsequential.

Take Trump’s embarrassing performance at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree on July 24. He gave a speech full of politics and petty jabs at the media and his political opponents. This even after he began the speech by saying he would stay away from politics.

The next day, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.”

Of course, there was no phone call. Indeed, the Boy Scouts spent the better part of a week apologizing for Trump’s speech and distancing themselves from it.

Either Trump lied about it, or he simply imagined it.

Either way, it is a symptom of a very sick mind. Why would one lie about that?

There are other similar examples from Trump, according to a Washington Post analysis Wednesday.

Speaking to The New York Times about a speech he made in Poland, the liar-in-chief said, “Enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president.”

In April, he spoke to The Associated Press about a January speech to a joint session of Congress. In that interview, he said, “Some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.”

He even went so far as to claim that U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., told him, “You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country.”

Then, after the Boy Scout fiasco, Trump on Monday said Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called him and praised him on his immigration policies.

In backtracking from the claims after denials from both the Boy Scouts and the Mexican president, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday — get this — that there were no phone calls, but these were in-person conversations.

Sanders went on to say Trump did not lie and to say he did would be a “pretty bold accusation.” Trump press secretary has to be the worst job in America today.

Granted, there is a difference between lying and puffery. As a businessman, Trump would have found it necessary in some situations to engage in puffery.

But these statements are not puffery, they are flat-out lies.

And the American people, thankfully, see that. At least some of them do.

Trump’s approval rating is the worst in modern history, hovering around 35 percent. No modern president has been this low 200 days into his presidency, including Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, who were close.

His lies aren’t just an annoyance, they are a threat to the Republic.

Lies corrupt democracy. Respect for the truth is what allows the democratic process of mutual persuasion to work. The democratic process breaks down when the president lies and his supporters, knowing something is a lie, deny the lie and place their own material and ideological interests above the truth and the greater good.

Trump is an obvious liar, or delusional. Either way, he poses a serious threat to the democratic way of life, and those who enable the clown to spread his deceit, i.e., his followers who either ignore, excuse or deny the obvious lies, are just as culpable in the destruction of liberty.

By Thomas J. Lucente Jr.


See past columns by Thomas J. Lucente Jr. at

Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is an attorney and night editor of The Lima News. Reach him by telephone at 567-242-0398, by email at, or on Twitter @ThomasLucente.

Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is an attorney and night editor of The Lima News. Reach him by telephone at 567-242-0398, by email at, or on Twitter @ThomasLucente.

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