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Trump's Deep Character Flaws Will Define His Presidency; Media Should Focus Attention There

By       Message Eric Boehlert       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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From Media Matters


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Donald Trump continues to make history.

We know of no other president in American history who has started out his tenure by unfurling two preposterous bookend lies, the way Trump did during his first days in office.

He lied fantastically about the size of his inauguration crowd. And then, taking a sledgehammer to the premise of free and fair elections, he lied fantastically about millions of Americans having voted illegally on Election Day, supposedly costing him the popular vote victory.

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Pressed for details, White House press secretary Sean Spicer could point to no real evidence to back up Trump's whimsically dangerous insistence about ballot box fraud. Spicer also sputtered trying to justify the unjustifiable claim about historic viewership for the Republican's swearing-in.

Both of those bold prevarications ignited media firestorms, and for good reason, as increasingly baffled journalists try to decode Trump's daily crusade to gaslight them about simple facts and events. More and more, journalists are straining to make sense of Trump's erratic ways; trying to figure out what his political motivation is for spreading such easily debunked falsehoods.

Trump is "addicted to controversy," and suffers "acute sensitivity to criticism," reasoned The Washington Post. He just can't "shake his erratic campaign habits," Politico suggested, while The New York times pointed to Trump's "anxiety" as a reason he needs to tell tall White House tales.

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Two key points: Trump has shown himself to be a relentless liar since he launched his political career in 2015. Anyone who thought he would discontinue that habit as president just hasn't been paying attention.

Second, if journalists want to understand Trump's unbalanced Oval Office behavior they need to focus on his character and his extremely troubling flaws. (They're not merely "campaign habits," as Politico called them.) Those character flaws will ultimately define his presidency because they've always fueled his erratic actions and weird fixations.

Yes, Trump's a dishonest conspiracy theorist. But he's also much more than that. He's a remorseless liar and a grievously insecure man who seems to feed off spite and revenge.

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