Washington (AFP) – Can all those people accusing President Donald Trump of lying cut him some slack? He really is trying to tell the truth, he says.
“I try, I do try,” he told ABC television late Wednesday.
“I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that’s different or there’s a change, but I always like to be truthful,” Trump said.
The Republican is famous for going off script during frequent impromptu press gatherings at the White House and at campaign rallies in the final run-up to next Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections.
A billionaire former real estate magnate and reality TV host, Trump keeps even his own aides on their toes with surprise announcements and headline-grabbing declarations.
On frequent occasions, Trump also makes statements that are clearly exaggerations, plain wrong or at minimum unaccompanied by evidence.
These include his recent claim that “unknown Middle Easterners” had infiltrated a group of several thousand poor Central Americans trying to walk through Mexico to attempt to immigrate to the United States.
After heavily suggesting that he was equating “Middle Easterners” with terrorists, Trump later conceded that there was “no proof” of people from that region joining the migrant caravan at all.
Even then, he added that “there could very well be.”
The Washington Post has a project which attempts to track all of Trump’s false claims. At the last count in September, the number was above 5,000.
Trump has backup from top officials, though.
His lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, told NBC in August that “truth isn’t truth.”
Earlier, Giuliani had told CNN that “nowadays” facts depend on the eye of the beholder.
Arguably, the Trump administration’s slippery grip on facts dates right back to his 2017 inauguration, when then-spokesman Sean Spicer erroneously claimed that the crowd had been “the largest audience ever” at such an event.
Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway addressed the ensuing controversy by announcing that Spicer was not lying. He was supplying “alternative facts.”