Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He made the unfolding scandal over military families almost impossible to summarize on a day-by-day basis.

Trump began the day by insisting that Rep. Frederica Wilson's (D-FL) account of his behavior with Myeshia Johnson (the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson) was "totally fabricated" and that he had "proof." Then Johnson's family confirmed Wilson's version, leaving Trump in the position of having called grieving family members liars.

He later told reporters that Rep. Wilson had recanted her story. She had not.

Then, asked about the "proof" he supposedly had that Wilson's story was inaccurate, he said he'd release it if Wilson repeated her claim. She did.

Meanwhile, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was admitting that there was no "proof" and that no recording of the call existed. (Threatening recordings that don't exist is a known Trump tic.)

As all this was unfolding, Washington Post reporters were fact-checking Trump's claim that he had called the family of every servicemember killed during his administration. He has not. But on one such call in June, to the economically distressed father of Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, Trump promised a personal gift of $25,000. It never came.

Pressed to explain the promised gift that never arrived, the White House released a furious statement declaring that the check had already been sent, and saying it was "disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the president, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda." Further reporting revealed that the check was sent only after the story broke.

Trump has reneged on more promised charitable gifts than most people ever have the chance to make. Covering his false promises earned David Farenthold a Pulitzer last year. Both his charitable trust (funded almost entirely by other people's money) and his son's are under criminal investigation. Just today, NPR reported that one the golf clubs Trump owns (and whose net profits belong to him) seems to be following his example, promising $5 million in gifts in recent years but actually donating less than a fifth of that.


  • Past a certain point, lying stops being political and starts being pathological.