New White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is picking up right where her predecessor left off and denying that President Trump ever veers from the truth.
In an interview with the Washington Post published Wednesday, the press-shy press secretary admitted that Trump has a “blunt way of speaking.”
But does he ever lie?
“No,” she responds without hesitation. “I don’t think they’re lies . . . I think the president communicates in a way that some people, especially the media, aren’t necessarily comfortable with. A lot of times they take him so literally. I know people will roll their eyes if I say he was just kidding or was speaking in hypotheticals, but sometimes he is. What I’ve learned about him is that he loves this country and he’s not going to lie to this country.”
In the matter of four sentences, Grisham provides four explanations for Trump’s tendency to not tell the truth. None of them are that he’s lying. Instead, she says, he’s using a communication style that the media is uncomfortable with. He’s speaking figuratively. He’s joking. He’s speaking in hypotheticals.
And she’s right, Trump does do all of those things. But he also lies.
Even if you don’t buy the numbers compiled by professional fact-checkers such as the Post’s Glenn Kessler, who claims Trump has lied more than 10,000 times, and PolitiFact, which has cataloged more than 350 lies, it’s impossible to deny that Trump lies sometimes. A particularly brazen example, which has become more common in recent months, is Trump’s repeated claim that he passed the Veterans Choice program, allowing vets to see doctors outside of the VA system. For decades, Democrats and Republicans failed to accomplish what Trump did, he’s said repeatedly. The truth? President Obama accomplished it in 2014.
That’s not a unique way of communicating, figurative language, a joke, or a hypothetical. It’s a lie, and one that Trump has told more than 80 times.
Grisham’s stance on Trump’s honesty is not a surprise considering the last part of her quote above. Trump, she says, loves the country too much to lie to Americans. Clearly, that’s not true.