Posted by: maboulette | September 26, 2016

Did Trump Lie or Commit Perjury?


It took until this week before the word lie began appearing in major newspapers when it comes to statements by Donald Trump. That’s in spite of earning a record number of “pants on fire” ratings from Politifact. Apparently the press has used all the rewordings for lying so much, that the phrases have worn off their computers, though actually saying “lie” still makes the keepers of the flame uncomfortable.

Lie or Perjury

But it’s hard to find another word for this one.

Donald Trump committed perjury. Or he looked into the faces of the Republican faithful and significantly lied. There is no third option.

It has become an accepted reality of this presidential campaign that Trump spins a near-endless series of falsehoods. For months, the media has fought with this unparalleled situation—a candidate who, unlike other politicians who stretch the truth, simply generates his own reality. Trump regularly:

  • Pushes “facts” that aren’t true;
  • Describes events that never happened;
  • Or denies engaging in actions that everyone saw him do.

He utters his falsehoods so fast that before reporters have the chance to correct one, he has tossed out five or six more.

GOP voters

In this case, what Donald Trump told Republican voters when he was on the debate stage, which was quite different from what he told a judge when he was under oath.

Jeb Bush

“The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something—that was generous and gave me money—was Donald Trump,” Bush said. “He wanted casino gambling in Florida.”

Trump: I didn’t—

Bush: Yes, you did.

Trump: Totally false.

Bush: You wanted it, and you didn’t get it, because I was opposed to—

Trump: I would have gotten it.

Repeatedly, Trump denied that he had tried to get Bush to approve gambling, and said that had he asked for it, he would have gotten it.

Under oath

But that’s not what Trump said when he was under oath. In 2007, Trump hired Richard Fields to work on bringing casino gambling to Florida. When Fields quit, Trump sued him. His claim then was that he would have gotten casino gambling, but Fields ruined it. In his testimony, Trump claimed that he had tried to persuade Bush by throwing a lavish fundraiser where he could take Bush aside and press him on the gambling issue…

Lawyer: You knew that Governor Bush, Jeb Bush at that time, was opposed to expansion of gaming in Florida, didn’t you?

Trump: I thought that he could be convinced otherwise.

Lawyer: But you didn’t change his mind about his anti-gaming stance, did you?

Trump: Well, I never really had that much of an opportunity because Fields resigned, telling me you could never get what we wanted done, only to do it for another company.

So on one hand, Trump claims he never tried to get gambling in Florida—because he doesn’t want to admit that Bush didn’t buckle to his demands. On the other hand, Trump told the court that he wasn’t able to convince Bush, blaming Fields for the failure.

Court version

If the version Trump told in court was the truth, then he lied repeatedly and forcefully on the debate stage. If the version Trump told on the stage was the truth …

Now consider the other option, that Trump committed perjury in the 2007 testimony. There, he admitted pushing for casino gambling in Florida, but said he would have gotten what he wanted if he hadn’t been tricked by Fields. The rationale for the perjurious testimony is simple—Trump wants money from a man who stopped working for him and, once again, the story lets him deny he is anything less than perfect.

It’s an absolute fact that Trump lied (it was a day with a “y” in it, so that’s expected), but if Trump holds onto the “I never tried” version that he maintained in the debate … 

Perjurer or a liar

Is the Republican nominee a perjurer or just a liar? If he refuses to answer—just as he has refused to address almost every other question about his character and background—Trump supporters must carefully consider whether they want to vote for a man who at best has treated them like fools over the past year, and who at worst, committed a crime.


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