By Bess Levin, vanityfair.com
It was just one of many totally bizarre moments from a speech the president gave in Missouri.
In his 1987 classic The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump revealed that he’s a big proponent of “truthful hyperbole,” or what a layman would refer to as “lies.” “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular,” he wrote. “It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.” This, in other words, was clearly a man who had made a cottage industry out of lying through his caps. So in March 2018, it should surprise not a single person that when Trump opens his mouth, lies come flying out like the winged monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. Still, one might think that even he would know better than to publicly brag about lying to world leaders and U.S. allies. But, apparently, one would think wrong!
The Washington Post reports that during a Wednesday night fund-raiser in Missouri, ostensibly to raise money for Senate candidate Josh Hawley, the president of the United States regaled the crowd with a story about making up information during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, insisting that the U.S. has a trade deficit with its northern neighbors.
In fact, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Trump was not right: the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada. Yet for reasons unknown, he reiterated his point Thursday morning:
Elsewhere during the 30-minute speech, Trump launched into his usual tirade about America’s allies taking us for a ride, telling the donors assembled that on his watch, the U.S. won’t get ripped off anymore. He described the North American Free Trade Agreement as a disaster, calling Mexico “spoiled,” and claiming that those slippery bastards in Canada had outsmarted us for the last time. He trashed the World Trade Organization for supposedly letting other countries take advantage of the U.S. on trade. At one point, he seemingly threatened to pull U.S. troops out of South Korea if Seoul, one of our allies, doesn’t give him what he wants on trade. (“We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them,” he said. “We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens.”) At another point, he told a story about a test he claimed Japan performs on its cars, but which no one else has ever heard of. “It’s the bowling ball test,” he said. “They take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and drop it on the hood of the car. If the hood dents, the car doesn’t qualify. It’s horrible.”
All in all, the speech represented a horrific 30-minute look inside the mind of Donald Trump, and a great preview for what allies attempting to negotiate exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs are up against: a pathological liar who invents stories that make him sound less like the president of the United States and more like a deranged used car salesman. Which, in fact, is kind of an insult to deranged used car salesmen.