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ZWEIFEL COLUMN: Trump's lies know no bounds
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ZWEIFEL COLUMN: Trump's lies know no bounds

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There are a lot of things I don’t understand about Donald Trump, but none is more perplexing than his insistence to endlessly lie.

Most people would be embarrassed when caught red-handed telling and repeating an untruth. But, not this guy.

He was at it again in spades this week when he visited Kenosha and spent about an hour telling lie after lie. He apparently feels it does him no harm, that his backers will still back him even if he insists the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

As a former member of the National Guard, I was struck by his claim that he had brought peace to Kenosha by calling up the Wisconsin Guard. As one who was involved in about a half dozen call-ups during the turbulent — and sometimes violent — anti-Vietnam War demonstrations during the ‘60s and ‘70s and the racial unrest in Milwaukee after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, I know full well that the president doesn’t call Guard units to state active duty.

Under the law, that’s the governor’s call after declaring a state emergency. Republican Warren Knowles and Democrat Pat Lucey activated us back then. It’s what’s called the Guard’s dual mission.

The president and the Defense Department can activate Guard units by ordering them to federal duty as is the case with the many Guard units that are activated to serve in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in which the U.S. is involved militarily. That was also the case during both world wars and to some extent, Vietnam. This, however, wasn’t the case in Kenosha.

Yet, that can’t stop a liar like Trump from patting himself on the back and claiming he took action to protect Kenosha from the rioters and looters he also falsely claims include all protesters.

But, technicalities on how Guard units are activated aside, the truth is that when Trump claims he forced Gov. Tony Evers to call up the Guard, Evers had already done so and was in the process of adding more troops to help local law enforcement in the beleaguered city. That fact, though, didn’t stop Trump from contending that if he hadn’t insisted on calling in the Guard, “there would be no Kenosha right now.”

His false claim about his “heroic” efforts to protect Kenosha was just one of the whoppers Trump dumped on Kenosha locals during the quick in-and-out campaign event designed to show what a tough guy he is.

He lied about events in Minneapolis, he again falsely claimed Joe Biden has not renounced violence among the protests, he boasted that he had issued an executive order that added 10-year prison sentences for anyone who destroys monuments when the ability for the courts to impose those sentences already exists, and he lied that the Democratic convention never mentioned the words “law enforcement.”

I’m not sure what the tally is now, but in July the Washington Post’s fact checkers had Trump surpassing the 20,000 mark in false statements since he became president in January of 2017. In the 14 months before July of this year he was averaging 23 lies a day.

Now I’ll admit that politicians do have a habit of stretching the truth in an effort to make themselves look good. But, this guy is in a class all to himself. He lies straight to your face and has no shame in doing so.

When he calls out the media for reporting “fake news,” it’s probably because they are quoting him.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. He can be reached by email at dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.

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