All politicians are egomaniacs and narcissists. They’re all searching for love and adulation — even (or especially) from strangers. And they’re all pathological — and prolific — liars.
The Washington Post has been keeping track of President Trump’s lies. As of December 21, Trump had "made 7,645 false or misleading claims over 710 days," the Post wrote. President Obama was a prodigal liar, too — although the Post never bothered to tally up all his lies.
They’re all liars. Every last one of them. Take this lie, told just Monday by Sen. Kamala D. Harris, California Democrat. The 2020 hopeful was trying to be hip and cool, so she said she smoked weed back in college, chilling with friends and listening to Snoop Dogg and Tupac. But she graduated in 1986. Tupac didn’t release his first album until 1991, and Snoop’s first record hit the shelves in 1993.
Then there’s Sen. Elizabeth Warren. For decades, the Massachusetts Democrat and the 2020 candidate claimed she was American Indian, putting the designation on all sorts of employment and government forms. But a DNA test she took to prove it showed she’s 98.4 percent to 99.9 percent white. So, liar.
Politicians sometimes tell completely pointless lies. It’s like the joke by comedian Norm MacDonald: "You ever lie for no reason at all? Just all of sudden, a big lie spills out of your evil head? Like a guy will come up to you, 'Hey, did you ever see that movie with Meryl Streep and a horse?' And you go, 'Yes.' In the back of your head, you’re like, 'What in the hell am I lying about over here? I stand to gain nothing by this lie.'"
Like Sen. Cory Booker, another presidential candidate. The New Jersey Democrat often cited a guy named "T-Bone," a drug dealer, saying he once told him, "If you ever so much as look at me again, I'm going to put a cap in your ass." Turns out he "was a 'composite' of various people Booker knew in Newark," Reason wrote this month.
Politicians lie especially to each other’s faces — even when they hate each other’s guts. "To my good friend from Arkansas, let me say…" one senator will bluster, even though it’s clear he can’t stand the guy. "With all due respect to the gentle lady from Missouri, whom I greatly admire, I must say that …" another will say, even though privately he loathes her.
Trump is changing all that. He doesn’t pretend to like someone he clearly hates, even if he has to work with them on important issues. He calls Warren "Pocahontas." To the Democratic House speaker, he tweeted: "Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat." And he makes no pretense of being able to stomach Senate Minority Leader "Cryin" Chuck Schumer.
Members of his own party — and even his Cabinet — are not immune: "Who should star in a reboot of 'Liar Liar' — Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz?" he said, referring to the Texas Republican senator whom he defeated in the 2016 primaries. Of his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump tweeted: "The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting — UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!"
Trump has even taken aim at one of the most famous actresses in the world. "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big."
The former reality TV show host is making other politicians get real. During Trump’s State of the Union address, Pelosi acted just how she feels: She mockingly applauded Trump — and liberals nationwide loved it.
Newcomer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also part of The New Honesty. On Monday, she said Trump is "a man who can’t even read briefings written in full sentences." She deeply detests Trump, and she says so. That is because Trump, who also abhors Ocasio-Cortez, has made no bones about his feelings.
So Trump — the crude and petty and vindictive little man — has done at least this: He has gotten rid of the false camaraderie that has colored so much of politics for eons.
And in the end, that’s really not a bad thing.
* A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.