Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, ever in search of a spotlight to thrust himself into, has suggested using lie-detector tests to identify the author of the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times.
Surely you’ve read it by now: This “senior official in the Trump administration” writes that President Donald Trump is bonkers, everyone knows it and the author is part of a “resistance” group “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
In other words, these self-styled heroes don’t want to resign and speak out publicly in the hope Congressional Republicans or Trump’s cabinet will be shamed into holding this president accountable for his actions and words. No, they prefer to subvert the Constitution to protect their boss, their party — and themselves.
The op-ed was published right after the release of a new book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward that paints a devastating portrait of a man-child president and a White House in chaos.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Trump’s reaction has showed just how accurate these exposés are.He has vowed to hunt down the person guilty of this “treason” against him.
“We use the lie-detector test routinely for CIA agents and FBI agents,” he said. “If you have a security clearance in the White House, Ithink it would be acceptable to use a lie detector test and ask people whether or not they’re taking to the media against the policy of the White House.”
Paul may be on to something. He just hasn’t taken the idea nearly far enough.
Let’s hook up all senior officials in this “alternative facts” administration to lie-detectors so the American public can see just how much they’re lying, how much they’re enabling an obviously unfit president, how much they are putting party above country.
We might have to exempt the president from this exercise. Trump lies so naturally, so flagrantly and so often that he may actually believe most of what he says, thus outsmarting a polygraph machine.
But think how much more enlightening televised press conferences would be if each time Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened her mouth a split screen showed the lie-detector needle bouncing violently up and down.
We could hook up a lie detector to each senior administration official and ask if they really made the comments attributed to them in Woodward’s book.
Does Defense Secretary James Mattis think Trump acts like and has the understanding of “a fifth- or sixth-grader”? Does Chief of Staff John Kelly think the president is “unhinged”? Did Kelly tell associates: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here.”
Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, could be asked if he really did take letters off the president’s desk to keep him from canceling trade agreements.
Then we could move on to allegations in previous Trump exposés and other former administration officials.
Did Rex Tillerson really call Trump a “moron”? Did Steve Bannon really say he thought it was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for Donald Trump, Jr., presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and former campaign manager and newly convicted felon Paul Manafort to meet with Russians during the 2016 campaign?
Do any of these people still think Trump is fit to be president? Do they worry he is a threat to national security? Americans need to know the truth, and lie-detector tests might help us get it.
This all could take some time, and burn up many, many polygraph machines. But if any machines survived the executive branch questioning, we could move on to Congress, beginning with Rand Paul.
Since forcing people to take lie-detector tests seems rather un-libertarian, the first question for him could be: “Do you have any core principles beyond self-promotion and presidential ambition?”