Landscape | Fall 2019 Issue

“A Lighter Look” — The President is Lying!

Faced with Trump's lies, Rick Meyer turns back the clock to consult "Multiquack"

By Richard E. Meyer

Rick Meyer’s regular online column takes a lighter look at politics and public affairs around the world. This month: A conversation about presidential lies.

The president lied. Again. Make him stop! But how?

I flew straight to Washington. Someone there would know. Washington is the wellspring of total knowledge and wisdom. Ask politicians. They know everything. They are so wise that they all expect to be on monuments along the Mall. As Sen. Howard Baker used to say: “They can smell the marble.”

Few people are aware, however, that Washington’s true source of wisdom is a computer, imagined by the late James Reston, legendary columnist at the New York Times. He consulted it whenever he was puzzled by politics. He called it Uniquack.

I went straight to the warehouse where Uniquack is stored.

“Meyer?” Uniquack said.

“Happy to see me?”

“You’re no Scotty Reston.”

“Don’t get personal.”

“You know, you should have your own computer. Try Multiquack. She’s smarter than I am.”


“Everyone knows women are smarter. She’s younger, too. She doesn’t have vacuum tubes. She uses chips. And she emails. You won’t have to come to the city of wisdom to consult her.”

I typed her URL into my laptop.

Q: Multiquack?

A: Hmmm?

Q: How can we make Donald Trump stop lying?

A: He doesn’t lie. It’s metaphysics.

Q: Metaphysics? Are you a philosopher? Metaphysics is about being, as opposed to non-being. Trump has plenty of being. I reckon he weighs close to 250 pounds.

A: Reckon? Sounds like you’re a country boy.

Q: Well, I grew up knowing better than to look for a flush handle in an outhouse.

A: Right. That’s metaphysics. The flush handle doesn’t exist. When the president visited an American base in Japan, a White House aide asked the Navy to hide the USS John S. McCain. Somebody covered its nameplate with a tarp. Maybe the president would think the ship didn’t exist.

Q: Existence does seem to confuse him. Sen. McCain died a year ago, and the president still attacks him.

A: Right!

Q: When Trump visited Britain not long ago, thousands protested. Some flew a big balloon of him as an orange baby with yellow hair, pouting and wearing a diaper. Others depicted him as a robot sitting on a golden toilet, dangling his red tie into the bowl and tweeting. Trump acted as if they weren’t there. “Where are the protests?” he said. “I don’t see any protests.” If he ignored them, then they actually weren’t there?

A: Yes.

Q: And if he said Meghan Markle was “nasty,” then she is?

A: Yes.

Q: And if he called the mayor of London “a stone cold loser,” then … ?

A: Yes.

Q: At a stopover in Shannon on his way home, he told the Irish prime minister, “We have the cleanest air in the world in the United States, and it’s gotten better since I’m president.”

A: American air ranks 10th. Take a hint from Bill Clinton: Don’t inhale.

Q: Isn’t Trump simply lying?

A: It’s metaphysical. As Clinton once said, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Q: If the president denies climate change, will it cease to exist?

A: To him, it never existed at all.

Q: When he says Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, does that make them criminals and rapists?

A: Studies show immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than natives.

Q: So it’s like hanging fake Time magazines at his golf resorts with him on the cover. … Like claiming he had a “very, very big” electoral margin. …

A: Yes. To him, combing over his bald spot means it’s not there.

Q: And like saying he has “the most transparent presidency in history.”

A: Yes. To him, crossing his eyes in a mirror makes two of him.

Q: He once tweeted that his supporters might demand he serve more than two terms. In another tweet, he said the moon is part of Mars.

A: A moonbeam on the water does not mean the moon is in the lake.

Q: Is he crazy?

A: To him, Nancy Pelosi is crazy. He retweeted a doctored video showing her stumbling over her words. But he says he is “an extremely stable genius.” Truth is he is not crazy. It’s worse. He is metaphysically challenged. He does not know what is and what isn’t.

Q: The For Sale signs on the beaches of Greenland?

A: They’re not real.

Q: The bedbugs he denies at his Doral resort in Florida?

A: They are.

Richard E. Meyer

Richard E. Meyer

Meyer is the senior editor of Blueprint. He has been a White House correspondent and national news features writer for the Associated Press and a roving national correspondent and editor of long-form narratives at the Los Angeles Times.

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