STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump: I always want to tell the truth

President Donald Trump tells an ABC News reporter he always wants to tell the truth, when possible.

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 7:23 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 7:32 PM

"When I can, I tell the truth."

That's the President of the United States trying to explain his very casual relationship to truth to ABC News' White House reporter Jon Karl. It's a statement that, like many things Trump says, is unintentionally revealing about what he considers facts and how much commitment he feels to ensure he is speaking the truth when communicating information to the public.

The reality is this: Trump tells the truth -- defined as an agreed upon fact or facts -- when it works for him. When established facts back up something Trump either innately believes to be true or something he wants to be true for political reasons, he is more than happy to tell the truth. But when the facts don't back up a Trump view or claim, he has zero compunction in creating his own "truth" that works better for his purposes.

Here's his full answer to Karl, which gives you an even better sense of what Trump thinks about truth:

"Well, I try. I do try ... and I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that's different or there's a change, but I always like to be truthful."

The key to that answer is the seven words I cited above. But the rest is interesting too! Trump wants Karl to know that he does "want to tell the truth" and he gives it the old college "try." But he gives up the game when he seeks to explain why and when he isn't truthful. "Sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that's different or there's a change," Trump tells Karl.

Go back and read that last sentence again. I dare you to figure out what Trump is even trying to say. As best I can tell, he seems to suggest that the facts change sometimes -- and so when he cites facts and they do change, he can't really be held responsible for that, now can he?

That argument is undermined by Trump's track record, as expertly documented by The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog. Yes, the Fact Checker found that Trump said more than 5,000 false or misleading claims in his first 601 days in office -- a rate of more than eight a day. But even more importantly for this, the Fact Checker points out that Trump repeats falsehoods dozens of times -- even after facts repute that claim. For example, Trump has claimed the US economy is the greatest in American history more than 50 times. Trump has said the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller is a witch hunt or a hoax more than 140 times.

Looking at numbers like those, it's impossible to accept at face value Trump's claim that he does his best to tell the truth but sometimes circumstances just change and what he has said is the truth winds up being something short of that.

What those numbers prove -- or, if you've been paying attention, affirm -- is that Trump is simply telling himself a story about his life, the presidency and the country that, more often than not, doesn't track with established facts. And not only that, but also that Trump doesn't much care whether or not what he is saying is true. He cares that it is believed by his supporters. Their applause, their chants of "Lock her up," their boos when he mentions the so-called "fake news" media -- all of that is the affirmation, in Trump's mind, that what he is doing is right.

Because he needs to be believed -- even when established facts make clear he is lying -- Trump has become increasingly willing to tell his supporters that everything that they are told from anyone other than him is to be dismissed as more fake news.

"Stick with us," he told a VFW crowd in Kansas City back in July. "Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. ... What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.

Think about that statement for a minute. The President of the United States is telling people that their eyes and ears aren't to be trusted. That the only person they should believe -- up to and including themselves -- is him.

Now consider what we know: That Trump has very little concern for whether the things he says are actually, you know, true.

Add it all up and you get this: We have people taking their marching orders from a deeply unreliable source. A source who happens to also be the President of the United States.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10395

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah252969
Marion166148
Washington162020
Clackamas86125
Umatilla7726
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Lane2283
Deschutes2210
Malheur2161
Polk16012
Linn1579
Jackson1520
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1340
Klamath1301
Morrow1071
Benton955
Hood River940
Wasco941
Josephine561
Clatsop540
Douglas510
Columbia420
Coos420
Lake210
Tillamook150
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 271035

Reported Deaths: 6441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1165703534
Riverside20555486
Orange17882366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino15345269
Imperial7190117
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5408164
Kern536982
Tulare5009136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco399250
Contra Costa387885
Ventura378950
San Mateo3599108
Santa Barbara326129
Marin280921
Kings267333
Stanislaus266045
Monterey215115
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer91111
San Luis Obispo7652
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4593
Napa4364
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1544
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Yuba1282
Glenn1220
Lake961
Tehama881
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono471
Tuolumne430
Amador330
Inyo331
Siskiyou320
Mariposa311
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Brookings
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 49°
Grants Pass
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Klamath Falls
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 49°
Warming up the rest of the week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events