Donald Trump surprised many this week when he claimed that he was ignoring the serious health risks and taking hydroxychloroquine. "I happen to be taking it," the president said on Monday. "I happen to be taking it.... I'm taking it -- hydroxychloroquine -- right now."
This raised a variety of questions, not the least of which is whether to believe Trump's claim. Those concerns grew louder when a White House physician issued a written statement several hours later, which did not explicitly say why, of even if, the president is on the potentially dangerous drug.
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany about the "carefully written" letter from Trump's doctor and why the public should believe that he's actually taking hydroxychloroquine. McEnany suggested the entire line of inquiry was inappropriate.
"The reason is the president of the United States said it, and if it were any other president of the United States, the media would take him at his word."
Well, yes. That's exactly right. If any other American president, regardless of party, had told the public about a medication he was taking, it's likely that the political world -- journalists, voters, public officials, et al. -- would simply assume that the president was telling the truth.
And therein lies the point: Donald J. Trump has no credibility because he doesn't tell the truth. When he claims to be taking a potentially dangerous medication, there's reason for skepticism -- in part because the assertion is so difficult to believe, and in part because the president has a breathtaking track record for dishonesty.
Trump lies about matters large and small, repeating lies even after they've been discredited. A Washington Post database, which hasn't been updated since early April, documented "18,000 false or misleading claims" the Republican has made since taking office, reflecting a staggering amount of dishonesty.
Kayleigh McEnany believes news organizations should listen to Trump and "take him at his word." Here's a follow-up question: "Why?"