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The Fabulist

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Since assuming the US presidency in 2017, Donald Trump has established his bona fides as not just a liar, but as someone seemingly unconcerned with whether his fictions will be exposed. Is his latest invention a bridge too far? WASHINGTON, DC – In April 2011, Donald Trump, then considering a run for the presidency the following year, said that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to check out rumors that President Barack Obama wasn’t born there, but in Kenya, which would disqualify him for the presidency. His investigators, Trump declared, “cannot believe what they’re finding.” What AIDS Taught Us About Fighting Pandemics PS OnPoint Mariette Pathy

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Since assuming the US presidency in 2017, Donald Trump has established his bona fides as not just a liar, but as someone seemingly unconcerned with whether his fictions will be exposed. Is his latest invention a bridge too far?

WASHINGTON, DC – In April 2011, Donald Trump, then considering a run for the presidency the following year, said that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to check out rumors that President Barack Obama wasn’t born there, but in Kenya, which would disqualify him for the presidency. His investigators, Trump declared, “cannot believe what they’re finding.”

I can find no record of Trump being challenged on this outlandish claim at the time. In the fall of 2016, Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, was convinced by his staff that he had to abandon this “birther” nonsense. He did so reluctantly, charging – also with no evidence – that such rumors had actually been initiated by his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

There, in a nutshell, is Trump’s modus operandi: he’s not just a liar but a fabulist, seemingly unconcerned with whether his fictions will be exposed. If they are, the world simply moves on as he invents fresh distractions.

Another distinctive trait of Trump’s presidency has been his systematic effort to dismantle the guard rails that are intended to limit executive power. The most recent example has been the

Elizabeth Drew
Contributor to New Republic, Daily Beast, Project Syndicate, Nation (book reviews). Fifteen books, including reissue of Washington Journal, Nixon & Watergate.

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