Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

The Liar in Chief

For the many years that we have been writing this column, we have focused our
attention on the First Amendment; whether that be Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press,
Freedom of Association, Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Assembly. Yet, there have
been many times in which we have strayed and talked about politics. In this month’s column
we are going to try to combine the two.

We have previously written about the Constitutional right to lie or to tell untruths. On
one occasion we spoke about the “stolen valor” case, where it was upheld by the Court that
the First Amendment protected a person’s right to claim that they were a war hero, even
though they had never served. Nobody was defamed by those actions, and although many
of us found it very offensive, the Court reiterated that lying is Constitutionally protected.
Although we hold our public officials at times to a higher standard, they too have a
Constitutional right to lie. However, that Constitutional rights ends when someone is under
oath or when they are giving statements to law enforcement who are conducting an
investigation.

Our President, Donald Trump, seems to have a penchant for lying. His
representatives, trying to cover for his lies, such as Shawn Spicer, also seem to make lying
on a daily basis part of the job description. Kellyanne Conway has given a new meaning to
lying, calling them alternative facts. But as the saying goes, “a rose, by any other name,
would smell just as sweet”. A lie, by any other name, is still a lie.

So we have an administration that is protected by the First Amendment and therefore
can disseminate untruths without any fear of repercussion. Unless, as said above, it is under
oath. Yet, although there are not legal repercussions, at the present time, apparently 62% of
the Americans are finding that the constant untruths by this administration are unpalatable,
and therefore, the current occupier of the White House has only a 38% favorable rating. At
this time in the President’s administration, this is an incredibly low rating.

Even though the President’s untruths seem to be having an effect on his popularity,
they have a further effect on the country. His Saturday morning tweet that the previous
President wiretapped the phones at Trump Tower have now cascaded into FBI and
Congressional investigations. Again, he had the First Amendment Right to make those
tweets, but politically, it is not only devastating to the Presidency, but a waste of time and
resources for a Congress and an FBI that have vastly more important things to do.

When caught in this lie, after over a week of this tweet being out in public, someone
within the White House came up with the smart idea that “wiretap” actually meant
surveillance. First of all, when something is put in quotation marks, it is put in quotation
marks to emphasize the exactness of the statement, as opposed to the ridiculous justification
that somehow wiretaps meant surveillance. But, these lies cause the investigation of whether
President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower to expand into a general
investigation on surveillance of Trump Tower. As every 5 year old knows, if you cover a lie
up with another lie, you just dig yourself in deeper.

Our President has lied about the size of the crowds that attended his inauguration. Our
President has lied about 3 million false votes being cast for Hillary Clinton. Our President
has lied about people from Massachusetts taking buses into New Hampshire so that New
Hampshire would go for Hillary Clinton and that Kelly Ayotte would lose her senate seat.
Our President has lied about making sure that every American was covered with health care
and it would be for a cheaper amount. Now he endorsed a plan that would leave 14 million
current Americans without health care and eventually 24 million Americans in the same
position.

On the international stage, our allies are befuddled and bewildered as to whether they
can even trust the words coming out of our President’s mouth. He is a man that has lost
credibility and therefore, the United States has lost that same credibility. He is a man that
has never apologized for any of his actions or for what he says, and believes that if he says
it, it is the truth. The First Amendment protects his right to behave in this manner, but
shouldn’t we expect more from our President?

President Trump, you have a Constitutional right under the First Amendment to
behave in the manner that you do, and speak and write the things that you write.

However, we have a Constitutional right to demand more of a President than we are
getting. We have a Constitutional right to have a President that is respected and can be
trusted. We have a Constitutional right for good government. And whether it is a
Constitutional right or not, we have the right to have a leader, not a liar, occupying the White
House.

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