• 45°

Christy spills the beans: Trump can’t handle (or tell) the truth

Writer

Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix and has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Hill newspaper.

By Aaron Blake

Lost in the debate over whether President Donald Trump should talk to special counsel Robert Mueller is this: The arguments against him doing it often betray a remarkably dim view of Trump’s intellect.

To his credit, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was rather blunt Sunday in making the case for Trump refusing the interview. He said flatly on ABC’s “This Week” that he worried Trump wouldn’t be able to stop himself from committing perjury (comments start at 8:47 in video).

“He should never walk into that room with Robert Mueller. Because in the end, one of the things that makes the president who he is, is that he’s a salesman. And salesmen, at times, tend to be hyperbolic. Right, and this president certainly has tended to do that.

“That’s OK when you’re on the campaign hustle. That’s OK when you’re working on Congress. It is not OK when you’re sitting talking to federal agents because, you know, 18 USC 1001 is false statements to federal agents. That’s a crime. That can send you to jail.”

This kind of argument has become rather common when it comes to Trump, but let’s step back for a second and focus on what Christie is really saying: He is saying that not only is Trump prone to hyperbole because he’s a salesman but that Trump can’t be trusted to tell the truth even when not doing so constitutes a felony. Christie is basically suggesting that a 71-year-old man who happens to be the president of the United States can’t differentiate well enough between truth and fiction (or what Trump himself has called “truthful hyperbole).”

Others who have argued that Trump shouldn’t talk to Mueller have danced around this point a little more artfully. Christie has said in the past that he didn’t think the evidence warranted an interview with a sitting president. White House lawyer Ty Cobb and others have alluded to the prospect of a “perjury trap” – the possibility that the interview could basically be an elaborate setup to get Trump to make a false statement.

And some aides have anonymously acknowledged that Trump just isn’t good with details or the truth. Post contributor Daniel Drezner has been keeping a running tally of aides talking about Trump as if he’s a toddler.

Daniel W. Drezner tweeted, “I’ll believe that Trump is growing into the presidency when his staff stops treating him like a toddler.”

But Christie on Sunday basically came out and said what everyone is saying behind closed doors. In the debate over whether Trump is a habitual fabulist or just a strategic one, Christie seems to be coming down on the side of the former. He seems to confirm that Trump doesn’t really know what the truth is.

We still don’t know whether Trump will grant the interview. But his personal attorney John Dowd reportedly left Trump in part because of frustration with the president’s insistence on testifying and apparent concern that Trump might perjure himself. Other lawyers, it seems, may have similar concerns about walking into a situation in which Trump may soon explode the case by talking to Mueller.

At its core, that requires a pretty amazing lack of confidence in the man who has been entrusted to lead our country. And the more Trump supporters like Christie feel compelled to come out and say stuff like this publicly, the more scared you will know they are.

Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix and has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Hill newspaper.

Comments

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday