August 21, 2019
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How did Sarah Huckabee Sanders say that with a straight face?

Evan Vucci | AP
Evan Vucci | AP
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders talks with reporters outside the White House in Washington, April 2, 2019.

Now that’s funny.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has never found a fact she couldn’t twist, denied Friday morning that there’s a culture of lying at the White House.

I know, I know, hilarious! But please, people, try to get a hold of yourselves.

Sanders, of course, works for what is undoubtedly the most mendacious of the 45 presidents in U.S. history.

Through March, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column recorded 9,451 “false or misleading statements” by President Donald Trump since he took office 801 days prior.

That’s an average of nearly 12 lies or bits of truth-shading per day. And those are just the public ones. Who knows what he says out of the limelight or beyond the Twitterverse?

And the Mueller report did a nice job of summing up Trump’s blatant pursuit of untruths to try to cover up his attempts to impede the investigation into his campaign and inner circle, including trying to get people who work for him to lie on his behalf.

There’s leadership for you, yessirree. And, well, a culture of lying from the top down.

Remember, the paint was still fresh when Trump trotted out then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer to lie about the size of his inauguration crowd, and then the president himself accused the media of lying when it accurately reported the relatively light crowd.

The president seems to lie as an impulse, then adheres to the falsehoods as truth. While some of his underlings have managed to squirm away when he’s demanded they also lie (the Mueller report details some of the pressures Trump put on White House counsel Donald McGahn to lie, which McGahn resisted).

None of this is by accident. The president thrives on self-generated chaos and doesn’t care about repercussions beyond the issue of the moment. He can’t stand not being in the spotlight.

In fact, a savvier politician would shut up right about now and let the Mueller report dust die down. Instead, as my colleague Jon Healey points out, Trump just can’t leave it alone and is now back to calling the Mueller investigation a “hoax.”

So in Trumplandia, he’s been exonerated by a hoax, but that’s OK.

As for Sanders, well, she lies. And lies. And lies. And then lies about lying.

I guess when you look at the totality of the lies that have flowed out of the White House for more than two years, you really can’t call it a culture of lying.

It’s an entire ecosystem.

Scott Martelle is an opinion writer for the Los Angeles Times. He is a native of Maine.

 



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