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Press: McCarthy is a bigger liar than Trump

What do we tell our kids? We used to tell them it was wrong to tell a lie. But we can’t tell them that anymore. Not after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). 

How times have changed. Like most of you, my parents told me it was never OK to tell a lie. Never. Not even a little lie. And the nuns and priests taught me the same thing. It’s not only wrong to tell a lie; it’s a sin. The cardinal rule was: No matter what, whether it’s a big deal or a little deal, always tell the truth. 

That was especially true of presidents of the United States, who would never, ever tell a lie! We were taught that he wasn’t just Abraham Lincoln. He was “Honest Abe.” And, even if it was pure hagiography, we all grew up believing that story of honest little George Washington and the cherry tree. 

Of course, the ideal of presidential truth-telling, while never perfect, came to an abrupt stop with Donald Trump. He catapulted to the White House on one lie, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. While president, he told so many lies that the Washington Post had to assign a special reporter to keep track of them. Their final count was 30,573 Trump lies, including a whopping 504 on Nov. 2, 2020 alone, the day before the vote. And he slunk out of office on another big lie that he continues to repeat to this day: that he, not Joe Biden, actually won the election. 

However, Trump met his match in McCarthy, who insisted to reporters that he never said Trump should resign over Jan. 6. But in one sense, McCarthy’s even worse than Trump. At least, when confronted with the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, Trump didn’t deny he said it. He just dismissed it as “locker room talk.” 

Not McCarthy. Even after New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns released the audio tape of McCarthy telling Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), “The only discussion I would have with him is that I think [an impending impeachment resolution] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy continued to deny he ever said it — calling their reporting “totally false and wrong.” He offered no apology, no explanation, no shame. 

And what did McCarthy’s Republican colleagues do? React with horror at such an outright, blatant, not-a-shred-of-truth-to-it lie? Of course not. Except for Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), every other Republican member either refused to comment, joined McCarthy in blaming it on the media — for playing an audio recording of his exact words? — or praised McCarthy for, yet again, demonstrating his puppy-dog loyalty to Trump.  

After all, among the vast majority of today’s Republicans, that’s all that counts anymore: party loyalty. Not the truth. Party loyalty. Which, in this MAGA party, is nothing but loyalty to Donald Trump himself. There was no better way for Kevin McCarthy to prove his allegiance to Trump than to tell a bigger lie than he did. 

So, again, what do we tell our kids? We might as well tell them the truth. We might as well admit that, at least for Republicans, it doesn’t matter anymore whether you tell the truth or not. You can lie any time you want: the bigger, the better. In fact, the more lies you tell, and the bigger lies you tell, the better chance you have of becoming a leader of the Republican Party.  

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”  

Tags Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy McCarthy

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