There’s a TV commercial about a cartoonish Pinocchio whose nose grows each time he lies to an officer writing him a parking ticket. It’s supposed to be cute, but I found the commercial unamusing because it trivializes lying – just like our president does.


Our country has been on high alert with Iran partly because President Donald Trump is impetuous and lies most times he opens his mouth. Trump has made more than 15,000 false or misleading statements since taking office, according to Washington Post fact checkers. It’s no wonder some critics call him President Pinocchio. They even sell a Pinocchio Trump bobblehead online. Trump has made fact-twisting normal. It’s scary to think about the damage his lies are inflicting on the country now and for future generations.


When I was young, my mother put up with her kids making messes or squabbling, but we knew better than to lie to her. She warned: “If you keep lying, people won’t believe you when you tell the truth.” Mom always added that God didn’t like liars. How the world has changed. These days some Christians actually believe Trump, perhaps America’s most famous liar, is God’s Chosen One.


I recalled Mom’s warning when Trump started off the new year ordering the assassination of Iran’s military leader and bad guy, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Trump said he did it to “stop a war.” But many patriotic Americans, including me, don’t believe him because he lies so much. I’m still looking for straight answers about exactly how Trump stopped a war when Soleimani’s killing nearly started one.


It’s a sad day when citizens can’t believe their president, even in a crisis. Initially I wondered whether Trump should get the benefit of the doubt this time. Then I recalled some of his falsehoods big and small – about crowd size, his “perfect” conversation with Ukraine’s president, his calling a patriotic whistleblower a “traitor,” and when he childishly falsified a map with a pen to prove himself right after incorrectly saying Alabama was in a hurricane’s path.


Also, I remembered that tensions rose with Iran after Trump told a pack of lies about the 2015 nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for getting sanctions lifted and assets unfrozen. Calling the agreement a “failure,” Trump withdrew the U.S from it. What Trump didn’t say was the agreement, which was monitored by international experts, was working. Trump’s own administration verified that Iran was complying.


Trump then reimposed sanctions on Iran to renegotiate the deal. Iran balked and the situation escalated to where we are now, with Trump sending thousands more American troops to the Middle East instead of bringing them home like he promised.


We are left wondering about the “imminent” attack that Trump and his cohorts used to justify Soleimani’s killing. For a week Trump and administration officials gave vague answers. Facing continued media questions and pressure from members of Congress, Trump then claimed that four U.S. embassies faced attack. But, reportedly, no embassies were alerted, and administration officials never mentioned four embassy attacks in private briefings to lawmakers.


Maybe Trump had other motives. When Barack Obama was seeking a second term as president, Trump tweeted several times that Obama “will start a war with Iran” to win reelection. Did Trump take a cue from his old tweets?


Then again, maybe Trump wanted to one-up Obama, who took down terrorist Osama bin Laden. Or perhaps he wanted to divert attention from his impeachment or provoke Iran to appease his hardline supporters at home. Or maybe he and his buddies simply bumbled their way through another foolhardy decision. That, I could believe.