Put up or shut up
There was the guy in the old neighborhood bar who became known to the regulars as a teller of tall tales. According to him, he was always the smartest and best-looking person in every situation, and he was the hero of every crisis.
Most folks wanted to believe him, since his stories brightened their days, but his routine grew old. When they asked him to prove some of his claims, telling him to put up or shut up, he drew a blank or changed the subject, and they shut him down.
Donald Trump is facing that same dilemma.
A recent Washington Post headline declared, “President Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days.” The Post then listed the lies. Nobody wants to believe that about a president, but Trump can turn this around.
He has often bragged about his high IQ, belittling the intelligence of George F. Will, Karl Rove, Jon Stewart, Mika Brzezinski, Rick Perry, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Recently, he challenged Rex Tillerson's IQ.
Trump should simply release his IQ score and debunk the doubters.
Trump's tax-reform proposal provides another chance to prove his truthfulness. He is traveling the country, claiming his tax proposals would not be good for rich guys and would only benefit the working class.
“Not the wealthy and well-connected. They can call me all they want. I'm doing the right thing, and it's not good for me, believe me,” Trump told a crowd in Indiana.
But tax experts claim Trump would save millions of dollars in taxes because of the changes.
And his heirs could save up to 40 percent of his billions with elimination of the estate tax.
This is a slam-dunk for Trump, who can simply release his tax returns to disprove claims he is lying.
When it comes to patriotism, Trump claims to have more of it than anybody. He says NFL players who kneel to protest racial injustice during the national anthem are “disrespecting our flag and country.”
But some doubt Trump's motives.
While campaigning, he said Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War POW, is “not a war hero.” Trump also said, “He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured.”
During the Vietnam War, Trump had four student draft deferments, as was common then for many young men, including some future presidents. But when he graduated, a doctor claimed young Trump, a physically fit college athlete, had disqualifying bone spurs.
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey and retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Vietnam Purple Heart recipients, see it differently.
Kerrey told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that Trump “made a choice in 1968, he found some doctor to say that he had bone spurs.” McCaffrey agreed, saying, “Mr. Trump made a choice, he's falsely portraying that choice.”
So, what can Trump do to prove his case?
All he has to do is produce those bone-spur X-rays and he can put this to rest.
This is something Trump should understand — like demanding Barack Obama's birth certificate to make him prove that he was born in America.
Joseph Sabino Mistick is a Pittsburgh lawyer (joemistick.com).