Trump's credibility is shot

Story highlights

  • Jen Psaki: Donald Trump's repeated fabrications are calling into question a pillar of the American presidency: credibility
  • Without credibility, he will be unable to negotiate with foreign leaders or persuade Congress to vote for his bills, writes Psaki

Jen Psaki, a CNN political commentator and spring fellow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, served as the White House communications director and State Department spokeswoman during the Obama administration. Follow her: @jrpsaki. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.

(CNN)Monday was a turning point for Donald Trump's credibility. He had fibbed about crowd numbers, and pushed crazy conspiracy stories about illegal voters. But continuing to claim that former President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower, even after the sitting FBI and NSA directors made clear it was false, was a new low.

Jen Psaki
So why does it matter?
The right question isn't whether a President's credibility matters, but what matters more than credibility?
    When a President travels overseas, it is his credibility, as a global leader, as a fair arbiter that can make the difference in getting a deal done.
    And it is the credibility of a President that can help pull a few more members of Congress over the finish line to get an important bill passed.
    There are times in every presidency -- whether it is a terrible shooting like the one in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 children, or an attack on our citizens like 9/11 -- when the country looks to the President, of either party, to ease concerns, to tell them it is going to be OK, to bring people together to mourn, to grieve and sometimes to be strong. That requires credibility and trust. That is something that is not mandated by an election, but is earned.
    This White House has not faced a crisis yet. It has created its own, but it has not been challenged as every White House and every President is by events out of their control. This administration has not been forced to move beyond partisanship and beyond Twitter to comfort grieving parents, to ease fear, to even solve crises in communities like we faced in Flint, Michigan, or with the Gulf Coast oil spill.
    And when Trump and his staff do face a crisis, it is clear they have undervalued the importance of Trump's credibility for not just his supporters, but the country he is supposed to be governing.