It’s been another cataclysm of a news cycle in which President Donald Trump was caught in a series of lies too obvious to be explained away as misstatements or ignorance.
Weeks after Trump insisted he didn’t know about the hush money used to keep his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels quiet, he on Thursday admitted to the entire arrangement.
Denying that the funds were campaign expenses, the president tweeted that his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen “received a monthly retainer” which he used to arrange a nondisclosure agreement with Daniels. His comments came hours after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who recently joined Trump’s legal team, told Fox News that the payment was “funneled through a law firm, and then the president repaid it.”
Trump’s lies ― much like the mere notion that he had sex with a porn star in the first place ― are both jarring and also completely predictable.
He offered another flagrant falsehood later on Thursday when he claimed that “the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail.” Two of the three hostages were detained after Trump took office.
This week’s untruths got even weirder on Tuesday when Trump’s longtime doctor, Harold Bornstein, said that he didn’t actually write the glowing bill of health released during the campaign.
Trump “dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN this week. “I just made it up as I went along.”
“His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” Bornstein’s December 2015 letter read. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Trump’s speech on Friday at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meetings was also chock-full of fibs. Among them was the claim that 98 percent of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones ― a figure stemming from a highly misleading study from a gun rights advocate. Earlier on Friday he also erroneously stated that special counsel Robert Mueller served under President Barack Obama for eight years (it was four).
These frequent contradictions make it hard to take any of Trump’s claims seriously, including his outrage this week that a list of questions Mueller plans to ask him were leaked to the press.
Multiple sources told The Washington Post that it was Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, who compiled the questions after talking with Mueller’s team.
Mueller’s team is also not known for leaking. The same can’t be said for the White House.
This piece was updated with Trump’s comments at the NRA Annual Meetings.