In this post last week, I pointed out how absurd it was that Donald Trump claimed in an interview with the Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that he would eliminate our $19 trillion national debt in eight years. Mr. Trump, on one of his answers, said, “We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.” Which led to this exchange:
WOODWARD: How long would that take?
TRUMP: I think I could do it fairly quickly, because of the fact the numbers . . . .
WOODWARD: What’s fairly quickly?
TRUMP: Well, I would say over a period of eight years. And I’ll tell you why.
WOODWARD: Would you ever be open to tax increases as part of that, to solve the problem?
TRUMP: I don’t think I’ll need to. The power is trade. Our deals are so bad. [emphsis added]
Now comes a new Trump interview, this one with Fortune magazine, and it includes this exchange:
FORTUNE: You’ve said you plan to pay off the country’s debt in 10 years. How’s that possible?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say 10 years. First of all, with low interest rates, you can think in terms of refinancings, and get it down. I believe you can do certain things to pay off the debt more quickly. The most important thing is to make sure the economy stays strong. You can do it in smaller chunks. You can do it in larger chunks. And you can do it in refinancings.
FORTUNE: How much of the debt could you pay off in 10 years?
TRUMP: You could pay off a percentage of it.
FORTUNE: What percentage?
TRUMP: It depends on how aggressive you want to be. I’d rather not be so aggressive. Don’t forget: We have to rebuild the infrastructure of our country. We have to rebuild our military, which is being decimated by bad decisions. We have to do a lot of things. We have to reduce our debt, and the best thing we have going now is that interest rates are so low that lots of good things can be done that aren’t being done, amazingly. [emphasis added]
Trump is literally right; he didn’t say he’d eliminate the debt in ten years. He said he’d do it in eight years!
This was obviously utter nonsense, though Trump supporters wouldn’t say so. But what’s worth noting here is how Trump has backed away from his earlier pledge. He didn’t say he had been wrong. He didn’t say he’s revised his views in light of new evidence. Instead, he simply claimed he never said what he said. Even though there’s a transcript that contradicts his claim.
What Mr. Trump said is a lie, and Trump — who claims he has “the world’s best memory” — knows its a lie. Yet he does this time after time after time. He claims something and then denies he ever claimed he said it — despite undeniable evidence that he did. There is something jarring about the brazenness of the lies and the sheer shameless of Trump.
In the post I mentioned above I described Trump World as a place where you “live in your own epistemological universe, where you simply make up your own facts, your own assumptions, your own laws of nature. Nothing needs to add up. Reality doesn’t matter.”
Mr. Trump is either clinically delusional or dangerously cynical and dishonest. Either quality ought to disqualify him from the presidency.