"You guys are down," Keilar said.
"Says who?" Cohen asked.
"Polls ... most of them," Keilar continued. Maybe even "all of them?"
There was an unusually long silence — long enough, perhaps, for anyone listening to hear Trump's poll numbers dropping further, in real time, on live television.
"Says who?" Cohen asked again.
"Polls," said Keilar. "I just told you."
Okay, forget for a second that Donald Trump's chief legal counsel and one of the most trusted, senior leaders in the Trump organization just comported himself on national television like a kindergartener in a playground scuffle (a video of the exchange buzzed across social media to much mockery
I've been guilty of a few childish faces and remarks, too — though, of course, I only represent myself and not someone running to be the leader of the free world. Important distinction.
But what Cohen revealed was a deeper truth about his candidate's relationship to facts and reality. It's tenuous and voters should take note.
According to Politifact,
during this campaign Trump has misspoken, bent the truth or downright lied at least 78% of the time. In other words, more than three out of four of the "factual" assertions that Trump makes are plainly the opposite.
Similarly, as of July of this summer,
the Washington Post's Fact Checker column had rated 65% of Trump's statements as "Four Pinocchios" or "whoppers" — meaning, not just false, but flagrantly so. For comparison, the Post's Glenn Kessler wrote, "Most politicians tend to earn Four Pinocchios 10 to 20 percent of the time."
In other words, for a guy who has built his campaign in large part on insisting that voters can't trust normal politicians, Donald Trump has proven himself to be repeatedly untrustworthy — and, in fact, more so than others.
Is Trump just an arrogant, megalomaniacal con artist willing to say whatever he thinks will deceive the American people and help him win the election? Yes, there's that.
But it's also entirely possible that Trump is deceiving himself. How else do you explain a reality TV show star and real estate developer who insists he knows more about ISIS than America's military generals
? Who says that President Obama was "literally" the "founder of ISIS"? Who insists
"that African American voters love me," despite polls showing Trump currently has just 1% of the black vote
But what do polls matter, really? Or a letter signed by
dozens of Republican national security officials and another one
by 120 elected officials from every GOP administration since President Ronald Reagan, both opposing Trump?
Apparently none of this matters. Facts and the opinions of others, Trump seems to think, are worthless.
"I'm speaking with myself, number one," Trump tells us.
"Because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things."
And that, America, should scare us all.