Already it seems that vast numbers of people in the Trump administration are in need of treatment. Trump himself has reversed the natural order of things — he lies more often than he tells the truth. In fact, several experts I consulted, whose names I cannot use because they do not exist, speculate that Trump tells the truth only when he cannot think of a lie. This condition, hereafter known as Trump Syndrome, is found in only 1 out of every 176,000 people. That there is a cluster of it in the White House is statistically impossible, but so what?
Just the other day, the president gave an interview to Time magazine in which he either lied repeatedly or got almost everything wrong. The Post’s fact checkers, the overworked, bedraggled duo of Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, must have been carried out of The Post’s newsroom on stretchers. They enumerated 14 lies or mistakes in that single interview, including some Trump chestnuts, such as the throngs of Muslims in New Jersey who celebrated the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Trump, as always, cited a Post report of the event, but The Post said no such thing. He also has mocked the reporter for his disability — a nice touch, that.
Other lies were refreshingly new. Trump updated his claim that the Obama administration had tapped his phones at Trump Tower by citing the rambling incoherence of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who clearly picked up a mild case of Trump Syndrome by being too close to the president’s keister. Even though everyone associated with national security says Trump was never tapped, the president insists that he was — by President Barack Obama, the British, maybe Marla Maples … who knows? He saw it on Fox News.
The president also asserted that he inherited an economic mess, and he defended his charge that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) father had worked with Lee Harvey Oswald, the killer of John F. Kennedy. Trump gleaned that whopper from the National Enquirer, the supermarket tabloid that was fake news before there was fake news.
For an insurer, the obvious threat to the bottom line is that congenital lying is highly contagious. Everyone in the White House has it. The president’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, daily repeats Trump’s lies, sometimes — as if to assert some creativity — adding some of his own. At times he looks like he is going to lose his mind, because, actually, his own has been commandeered by the president. Spicer works in an atmosphere where truth is what the president says it is and lies are the corrections others offer. This is also a symptom of Trump Syndrome, and while it is rarely life-threatening, it is fatal to Spicer’s reputation, integrity and credibility. He ought to keep his new ties and get an honest job.
The disease has spread to Kellyanne Conway, who lies about not acknowledging Trump’s lies. Unlike Spicer, she seems perfectly at ease with having to repeat and defend Trump’s lies. Others in the White House merely cower when they see the media, because they know the president is either lying or confused or just plain ignorant. This is the lie of omission, which is a benign case of Trump Syndrome. Most of these people will be able to return to their old jobs someday, because in finance and law, for instance, a certain amount of lying is essential.
Still, the threat is that Trump Syndrome will jump the White House fence and get loose in the general population. Then everyone will run amok, using the word “frankly” in disingenuous ways or citing the American people to justify some meretricious action. If that happens, the whole insurance plan will collapse in less than 103 days.
I know. I heard it on Fox News.