Donald Trump doesn't like the press very much, as he's made clear on many occasions, but his latest broadside at the media has backfired spectacularly. At a press conference in North Dakota, Trump was asked a question about something that Paul Manafort, his top adviser, had said in an interview with the Huffington Post. Trump responded by saying that he doesn't read the Huffington Post, and wondered aloud whether the publication even covers politics. It quickly became clear that he most definitely wasn't telling the truth, and Trump's Huffington Post remark may be the pettiest lie of his campaign.
"I don't read the Huffington Post," Trump said. "Was there an article in the Huffington Post? ... I didn't think they covered politics, the Huffington Post. Do they cover politics?"
This was most likely a swipe at Huffington Post's infamous decision, which it announced last summer but has since reversed, to move all coverage of Trump to the Entertainment section of its website. But this time, it was the journalists at Huffington Post who got the last laugh. There's ample evidence that Trump does indeed read the left-leaning news site, and several writers at Huffington Post gleefully reminded everybody of that after Trump's spurious claims to the contrary.
Politicians lie all the time. Just about everyone knows that, even people who don't pay attention to politics. But what's remarkable here is just how petulant and insignificant Trump's lie was. He could have easily said that he hadn't read the interview in question, and left it there. That would have been a sufficient non-answer to the question.
Instead, he had to go the extra mile and imply that the Huffington Post itself, in totality, isn't worth his time. His feigned ignorance about whether it covers politics suggests that it's beneath him to even know what the publication is, and what it does; in actuality, Huffington Post was founded as a politics website in 2005, and only later branched into other topics.
Why bother telling such a meaningless lie, especially one that's so easy to disprove? Only Trump knows. Maybe it was the result of his reflexive distaste for the media in general, or maybe he just said the first thing to pop into his head. Regardless, it's worrisome to hear a major party's presidential candidate tell such an unnecessary lie. It suggests that Trump values the truth even less than normal politicians, and that's a scary thought.