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Keller @ Large: Does It Matter When Our Leaders Lie?

BOSTON (CBS) – Do you believe the President of the United States is telling you the truth?

All too often during my lifetime, the answer for too many Americans has been no.

Richard Nixon swore to us that he was not a crook, but he turned out to be a liar and obstructer of justice.

Bill Clinton lied when he claimed he didn’t have you-know-what with you-know-who.

George W. Bush made claims about Iraq’s weapons that didn’t hold up. Barack Obama falsely insisted that if you like your doctor and health plan, you could keep them under Obamacare.

So it’s not as if Donald Trump is operating in a vacuum.

President Donald Trump. (Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump. (Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In fact, Trump correctly reasoned that the public was so used to politicians fudging or outright abandoning the truth, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, foremost among them – that he could win the presidency despite lying or fudging an estimated 76-percent of the time, according to the fact-checking website politifact.

But even in these most cynical of times, there appear to be limits.

By the Trump administration’s own account Tuesday, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s dishonesty about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador was so egregious, it resulted in a collapse of trust that forced Flynn’s firing, or rather, excuse me, his “resignation.”

Which raises a troubling question – who in the White House inner circle can we trust going forward?

White House spokesman Sean Spicer and adviser Kellyanne Conway. (Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

White House spokesman Sean Spicer and adviser Kellyanne Conway. (Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Press Secretary Sean Spicer is already compromised by virtue of multiple whoppers he’s told.

Ditto presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway.

And the president himself? Perhaps the Flynn fiasco will underscore for him the importance of honesty, and the damage that a loss of trust can inflict.

More from Jon Keller
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