To say that Donald Trump has said something outrageous – and laughable – is de rigeur at this point.
After all, this is a man who wondered whether Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A man who has said windmills cause cancer. And a man who suggested the use of disinfectant to combat Covid-19.
So, when I say that Trump said perhaps the most outrageous thing he’s ever uttered over the weekend at a rally in North Carolina, well, that’s saying something.
Without further ado then, let’s get to it.
“I’ve got to be the cleanest, I think I’m the most honest human being, perhaps, that God has ever created,” Trump said.
You can – and should – watch it for yourself here.
The laughter from the decidedly pro-Trump crowd is really [chef’s kiss].
Now, a little context. Trump made his “most honest human being” comment amid a rant riff on the various investigations he and his administration were subject to during his time in office.
“You know, you’ve been investigated years and years, millions and millions of pages of documents, they found nothing,” Trump said recounting a conversation with a nameless friend. (I’d be willing to entertain bets on whether said friend actually exists.)
Just so we’re clear, the investigations into Trump didn’t find “nothing.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller found, well, plenty.
Here’s what he had to say on whether Trump obstructed his investigation:
“(I)f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” reads the Mueller report. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. … Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
“It does not exonerate him.”
Then there was the infamous phone call in which Trump makes clear that the United States does a lot for Ukraine and, well, could they look into his likely general election opponent in 2020?
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
And don’t even get me started on the more than 30,000 – not a typo – false or misleading claims Trump made, according to The Washington Post, during his four years in office.
Heck, Trump has admitted his penchant for, uh, exaggeration.
“I play to people’s fantasies,” he wrote in “The Art of the Deal.” “People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.”
The word “truthful” is doing a lot of work there. Like, a lot.
The facts are plain: Donald Trump’s four years in office were defined – literally defined – by his unwillingness to tell the truth, about matters both big and small. Not even he, then, can believe that he is the “most honest human being, perhaps, that God has ever created.”