Trump may ‘go down as the most truthful president in the history of our country’

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U.S. Republican nominee Mark Harris said Friday that he agreed with Fox commentator Marc Thiessen that said Trump was "most truthful president," citing examples including moving the Israel embassy to Jerusalem – Oct 26, 2018

Donald Trump “may indeed go down as the most truthful president in the history of our country.”

So said Mark Harris, a candidate for congress in North Carolina’s ninth district, quoting a Washington Post op-ed that made that very claim about the current United States president.

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Harris spoke those words at a rally held in Charlotte in support of himself and Rep. Ted Budd, who’s running for re-election in North Carolina’s 13th district.

“What really got my attention was when you read through the article, he built a case in an incredible way,” Harris said.

The Post op-ed was written by Marc Thiessen, a Fox News contributor.

In it, Thiessen argued that Trump is a “paragon of honesty” when it comes to keeping his promises, which he called the “real barometer of presidential truthfulness.”

READ MORE: Trump references pipe bomb case in rally, says media must end ‘politics of personal destruction’

“Don’t get me wrong, Trump lies all the time,” Thiessen initially wrote.

But then he noted promises that he believes Trump has kept, such as moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, his promise to punish Syria if it employed chemical weapons against its people, and to bring in a travel ban on “countries that he saw as posing a terrorist threat.”

Trump noted the op-ed on Twitter last week.

The pledge about a travel ban, however, doesn’t necessarily represent a promise that’s been kept — at least not as it was originally expressed.

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In 2015, as Trump campaigned for the Republican nomination, he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Once he became the nominee, that position evolved to “suspend[ing] immigration from regions linked with terrorism until a proven vetting method is in place.”

As president, Trump pushed for a travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, singling out nations including Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen and Somalia.

The ban would eventually be tied up in the courts until the U.S. Supreme Court upheld restrictions on entry into the U.S. from those countries.

President Donald Trump, center, huddles with congressional candidates Rep. Ted Budd, right, and Mark Harris, left, during a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Washington Post writer Paul Waldman later challenged Thiessen’s op-ed in the very same newspaper.

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Thiessen, he said, was wrong to suggest that keeping promises is the true measure of whether a president is being truthful.

“You can be honest and fail to keep your promises for any number of reasons, and Trump is living proof that you can keep promises while lying every step of the way,” Waldman wrote.

“The assertion that the real measure of honesty is not honesty itself but something else sounds a lot like a concerted act of rationalization, a way of supporting a president who lies with shocking regularity while convincing yourself that you’re still a moral person for whom honesty matters.”

Waldman went on to say that Thiessen’s op-ed didn’t account for how many promises were kept by previous presidents.

He cited numbers gathered by promise-tracking website PolitiFact, which showed that Trump has kept 13 per cent of his promises, while 6.9 per cent have been achieved by compromise and 39.2 per cent are considered “in the works.”

In contrast, Barack Obama is rated as having kept 48 per cent of his promises, and achieved another 27 per cent via compromise.

READ MORE: ‘He just makes it up!’ Obama criticizes Trump, GOP for blatant lying, scare tactics

Criticism of Trump’s work as president didn’t appear to influence Harris’ opinion of the president on Friday night, however.

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“The only things that haven’t gotten [done], we’re going to do it in 2019 when the Congress convenes, because we’re going to hold the Republican majority in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate,” he said.

Americans go to the polls for the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

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