This was an actual exchange between former Vice President Mike Pence and Fox Business Network host Larry Kudlow on Monday:
Kudlow: “Have you ever seen a president who refuses to accept blame, and I want to add to that, commits so many falsehoods? I’m being very polite here, calling it falsehoods — falsehoods, you know, on any given day. He’s out there saying stuff that just ain’t true. Have you ever seen anything like that?”
Pence: “Never in my lifetime. I said today that there has never been a time in my life where a president was more disconnected from the American people than we see today.”
Repeat: This back-and-forth actually happened. On planet Earth. And, as far as I can tell, it was not an attempt at parody.
Let’s go through some facts, shall we?
According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, former President Donald Trump said 30,573 things that were either false or misleading during his four years in office. That averages out to 21 a day. Every day. For four years. And by his last year in office, Trump was saying upwards of 39 false or misleading statements a day.
Trump has and continues to lie about the 2020 presidential election. His election lies played a central role in the motivation for those who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Trump himself — decades ago — acknowledged the role that, uh, exaggeration played in his life. Here’s Trump from his book “The Art of the Deal:”
“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”
In August 2020, Trump was asked by a reporter, point blank: “Do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people?” He ignored the question.
Pence is not a stupid man. Nor is he someone utterly unaware of the circumstances of the last four years.
He is a politician desperately trying to find ways to rebuild his relationship with the Trump base, a relationship badly damaged by his refusal to go along with attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Given that, it’s a layup for Pence to bash President Joe Biden on Fox Business. And to do so while totally ignoring the giant elephant in the room: Trump’s remarkable record of falsehoods both in office and, now, out of office.