In his Monday column, New York Times Op-Ed columnist Charles M. Blow teased apart President Donald Trump's willingness -- indeed his delight -- in proclaiming untruths, concluding that Trump's complete lack of integrity makes him "the un-American president."
“I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ ”
That, as reported by The Washington Post, was Donald Trump boasting during a private fund-raising dinner about lying to Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, our northern neighbor and closest ally.
And as he is wont to do, Trump doubled down on his lie via Twitter:
But he is not telling the truth, and there is no reason to believe he is unaware it is a falsehood.
The U.S. indeed has run a deficit on the trading of goods with Canada, but when it comes to services, the U.S. is on top and the result is a $2.8 billion surplus.
Why does Trump do this?
It bears repeating that Donald Trump is a pathological, unrepentant liar. We must state this truth for as long as he revels in untruth.
Trump’s recalling of the story suggested that he was somehow overpowering and outmaneuvering Trudeau, free to best him because he was unencumbered by an allegiance to the truth.
It is this brazen disregard for the truth that leads Blow to conclude that Trump is harming America's reputation and relationships the world over, in a way working against the very interests he claims to champion.
Surely, some may think this lie to Trudeau is a small matter, particularly in light of the waves of Trump chaos and scandal that wash over us several times a day.
But it is this damaging of truth, this injuring of American identity, this undercutting of American credibility that will be the hardest to reverse.
One of Trump’s most lasting legacies will likely be the damage he’s doing to the fundamental idea that truth matters.
This is what this man is projecting: A debauched character and a hollow place where integrity should exist.
Rather than preserving the nobility of the presidency, he is debasing it. Rather than burnishing the image of America, he is tarnishing it.
It is an awful fact that the most powerful man in America may also represent the worst of America. In a way, Trump is the un-American president.