In a remarkable Tuesday night floor speech, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, praised the physical and mental powers of President Trump and encouraged people to get "unvarnished" news directly from the president, not from the news media."Just think what the media would be saying about President Trump if he were a Democrat," Smith said during the evening time reserved for one-minute speeches. "He has tremendous energy. He campaigned for 18 months, puts in 15-hour days, and has the stamina of a bull elephant, like Teddy Roosevelt. He is courageous and fearless. Given the amount of hate directed his way, no doubt he constantly receives death threats, but that doesn't curtail his public appearances or seem to worry him in the least."
It stands to reason that most congressional Republicans will eagerly stand behind Donald Trump for purely partisan reasons. Many GOP lawmakers balked at Trump's candidacy, some even called for him to quit the 2016 race as recently as October, but the president is, practically by definition, the head of the party, and Republicans have embraced him with varying degrees of enthusiasm.But reading this Washington Post report, it seems unlikely that few in Washington like Trump quite as much as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.).
The Texas Republican, whose bizarre handling of the House Science Committee is the stuff of legend, added, "Better to get your news directly from the president. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth."In a way, this is an important perspective.Since Inauguration Day, Americans have heard Trump and his team lie about everything from crowd sizes to voter fraud, the federal workforce to family planning. To a very real extent, this White House has launched an aggressive campaign against reality itself, daring its detractors to keep up.It's against this backdrop that Lamar Smith believes Americans who want "the unvarnished truth" should listen exclusively to the president who's repeatedly lied to their faces.I mention this because I've heard from some readers who've argued, with hope and sincerity, that Trump's recent dishonesty has done irreparable harm to his standing. Even the president's most knee-jerk supporters must have noticed in recent days the ease with which Trump repeats brazen falsehoods, as if he just doesn't care about the value of honesty.But Smith's bizarre speech from the floor of the House serves as a reminder: for much of the country, the fact that Trump has been caught telling ridiculous lies isn't a fact at all. Given a choice between reality and the amateur president, they don't hesitate to side with the latter.