Shortly after the 2016 Presidential election I noted in a November 15 column that Donald Trump and I had something unusual in common. (You can read the entire
column at https://bit.ly/2JBx8KR)
But after almost two years in office it has become apparent that Donald Trump and I also have something else in common — we both like to just make stuff up. I know I do. Here’s a photo of my coffee mug:
One of my books is actually titled I’m Not (totally) Making This Up. (That’s true, I’m not making that up. Buy it on Amazon. Please! I need the money.)
As a humor columnist I enjoy entertaining readers by stretching the truth to something barely resembling reality. Comedy takes an ounce of truth and mixes in a quart of exaggeration and absurdity.
I thought my comrades and competition in comic fiction were other writers and stand-up comedians. I wasn’t expecting to witness a U.S. President keeping pace with me on a daily basis.
But the spooky thing is that I can’t tell if Trump knows that he’s making stuff up. I can’t tell if HE really believes it or if he knows it’s not true but wants US to believe it.
Author Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghost writer for The Art of the Deal, spent hundreds of hours following, observing, and interviewing Trump for the fully authorized 1987 memoir. Schwartz said in 2017, “More than anyone I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”
Here’s some examples of Donald and I making stuff up.
Ramon: Yesterday my doctor said, “Mr. Presson, I think we’re gonna need to get a tissue sample from you.” So, I handed him a Kleenex.
Trump: “I also won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
Ramon: I’m sick and tired of auditioning for voice-over work and getting beat out by Morgan Freeman.
Trump: According to Trump, the current caravan of Central American migrants walking north toward the United States is filled with criminals, gangsters and Middle Eastern terrorists. Trump also suggested that the entire spectacle was backed and funded by the Democrats. When pressed on how he knows all these allegations to be true, Trump remarked on October 23, “There’s no proof of anything. But there could very well be.”
Ramon: Never again. Never again will I be the after-dinner speaker at a narcolepsy conference.
Trump: We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States.”
Actually, at least 30 other countries subscribe to the principle of jus soli or birthright citizenship wherein a person’s citizenship is based on the territory of his birth. It is the law in Canada and nearly every country in South and Central America.
Ramon: When you’re a writer you live with the nagging question, “What if my spouse only married me for grammar help?”
Trump: “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of (Muslim) people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
Ramon: I like to stay in luxury hotels but I just have one issue with them. Those big fluffy towels they provide make it practically impossible for me to close my suitcase.
Trump: “Ted Cruz’ father was with Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination of President Kennedy.”
Ramon: The female sales clerk said, “How ‘bout a nice watch for your husband.” And my wife replied, “OK, that sounds like a fair trade.”
Trump: Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment. The number’s probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I recently heard
42 percent.” (speech in New Hampshire on 2/11/16)
Ramon: Maybe filling the hummingbird feeder with Red Bull wasn’t a good idea.
Trump: “I was the best baseball player in New York when I was growing up. I was always the best athlete. And not just baseball, but other sports too.” (audio released
Here is a revealing Trump quote from The Art of the Deal: “I play to people’s fantasies. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most
spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and it’s a very effective form of promotion.”
I totally get that, which is why I want to point out that the examples of Trump fabrications and exaggerations I’ve listed are just the tip of the iceberg. Wait, make that a snowflake on the tip of a mountain range of icebergs. And no one knows more about icebergs than me. I was the best skier in Antarctica. I won 29, 35, maybe 42 medals for iceberg skiing.
Not only that but …
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson