In one of the many GOP debates in 2015, there was an exchange between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump over the issue of casino gambling in Florida. Jeb said Trump used donations to try and cajole his way into getting casinos in Florida. Jeb Bush, then the Governor of Florida, blocked them. Trump claims it never happened.
Here’s the video:
Kurt Eichenwald, writing in Newsweek says this exchange proves Trump was either lying at the debate, or lied in a court deposition in a lawsuit Trump filed against Richard Fields. Fields was hired by Trump to manage the expansion of his casino business into Florida:
In the suit, Trump claimed that Fields had quit and taken all of the information he obtained while working for Trump to another company. Under oath, Trump said he did want to get into casino gambling in Florida but didn’t because he had been cheated by Fields.
A lawyer asked Trump, “Did you yourself do anything to obtain any of the details with respect to the Florida gaming environment, what approvals were needed and so forth?”
Trump: A little bit.
Lawyer: What did you do?
Trump: I actually spoke with Governor-elect Bush; I had a big fundraiser for Governor-elect Bush…and I think it was his most successful fundraiser, the most successful that he had had up until that point, that was in Trump Tower in New York on Fifth Avenue.
Lawyer: When was that?
Trump: Sometime prior to his election.
Lawyer: You knew that Governor Bush, Jeb Bush at that time, was opposed to expansion of gaming in Florida, didn’t you?
Trump: I thought that he could be convinced otherwise.
Lawyer: But you didn’t change his mind about his anti-gaming stance, did you?
Trump: Well, I never really had that much of an opportunity because Fields resigned, telling me you could never get what we wanted done, only to do it for another company.
One of these stories is a lie—a detailed, self-serving fabrication. But unlike the mountain of other lies he has told, this time the character trait that leads to Trump’s mendacity is on full display: He makes things up when he doesn’t want to admit he lost.
Getting past some of Eichenwald’s blustering about President Clinton and his impeachment, Eichenwald makes a good point:
Finally, the lie here matters because it shows how shameless Trump is and how reckless. He told this lie even though he knew he was standing next to a credible witness—Bush—who could contradict him, and he gambled that no one would discover his sworn testimony.
Trump’s penchant for this type of baldfaced lying could undermine American foreign policy—when he meets with a foreign official, will he try to deceive the world about what happened? That question already came into play in early September when Trump flew to Mexico to talk with that country’s president in a bizarre publicity stunt. He came out of the meeting and declared the two had never discussed his signature issue—that he would compel the Mexican government to pay for a wall along America’s southern border. Before an hour passed, a Mexican official declared that Trump’s statement was false, and that President Enrique Peña Nieto had told the Republican nominee that his country would never pony up the cash for the wall. Either Trump lied or Peña Nieto did. The government of Mexico—one of America’s most important trading partners and allies—knows whether a President Trump will be trustworthy or will lie out of convenience, on matters large or small. Shouldn’t the American public know the same before it votes in November?
If confronted this, I wouldn’t expect Trump to back down. His statements allow him some wiggle room to add or take away an adverb to have it appear as if his blatant lie is accurate.
Regardless, this is who Trump is. He will lie no matter the circumstance, either to make himself look better — “I’m worth $10 billion!” or to keep himself from looking the fool — “I didn’t want casino gambling in Florida.”