Is there a more palatable word to use for lying? It seems to me that calling a person, especially face-to-face, a “liar” is one of the more reluctant, difficult things to do. No one wants to be called a liar; no one wants to call someone a liar.


But, when the truth is discounted, misrepresented or ignored, there doesn’t seem to be a kind or generous way to talk about it. Let’s take Chief of Staff General Kelly’s remarks to the press corps regarding Representative Frederica Wilson and the president’s call to La David Johnson’s widow.

General Kelly totally misrepresented an occasion, during which he was present, when Frederica Wilson participated in the dedication of an FBI building in her district in Florida in 2015. Kelly referred to Wilson as an “empty barrel” focusing “more on her own actions than the heroism of the two FBI agents for whom the new building had been named.”

A conclusive review of the video of Wilson’s speech during the occasion showed that General Kelly was clearly not telling the truth. “Not telling the truth” is a kind euphemism for lying!

The entire subject of the president’s call to Johnson’s widow and the Kelly/Wilson dispute which followed swallowed up at least six days of news cycles. The president responded, according to his practice (tweeting), calling  Representative Wilson “wacky” and denying that he had said anything at all that should have upset the grieving widow.


According to Wilson, the phone call was on “speaker phone,” and was heard by everyone in the automobile when the widow received the call.

The subject matter was not so much centered on “lying,” as it was on the lack of compassion and sympathy shown by the White House. And, it’s notable that no sort of apology for the whole affair was later offered to the Gold Star widow who said the president didn’t even know her husband’s name. Of course, President Trump denied this. The attention to lying came later.

To my way of thinking, the real problem is that the four-star Marine General who is now serving as the president’s chief of staff, publicly lied in an effort to excuse or explain President Trump’s behavior. As a result, until Chief of Staff Kelly offers an apology and/or recants his story before the White House press corps, he is a bold-faced liar–in other words, we cannot believe anything he has to say on behalf of the president.

It pains me, too, that we have a man sitting in the Oval Office who seems not to know the meaning of truth, to put it mildly. To be blunt, the president routinely discounts, misrepresents, and ignores the truth. And, to make matters worse, whenever he is called by the press corps on his obvious lies, he doubles down.


The president is a liar. And there is no more palatable term to describe him. It is most unfortunate that he is deliberately making those around him–especially his spokespersons–liars, too.

The time will come when nothing coming out of the White House will be believed. The time will come when other nations will hold Americans in official positions in contempt.

[(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. Hankins is the founder, publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He is a weekly contributor to the Huntington, WV Herald Dispatch and resides, along with his wife Deborah and Jose, their pet Chihuahua, in Ashland, Kentucky. His e-mail address is:]