The million-dollar question

Can Trump be trusted? It’s clearer than ever that he cannot

Once again, this newspaper’s staff is baffled by the fact that a reality- television star is vying for the highest office in the land. It’s like a nightmare from which we cannot awaken. The differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been stark from the beginning, but at no point were they clearer than during the first general election debate Monday evening.

Trump couldn’t control himself. His eye-rolling, guffaws and interruptions—of Clinton and moderator Lester Holt—took away from his message. Then again, it’s difficult to decipher what exactly the billionaire businessman is saying to begin with. But, seriously, this is a man who interrupted Clinton 51 times during the course of the forum (Clinton interrupted him 17 times). Composure is not his strong suit.

We’re still trying to figure out what skills Trump possesses that would make him an effective POTUS. As far as we can tell, he’s adept at a few things. One is getting the attention of major television outlets, from Fox News to CNN. Trump is indeed a master propagandist. Another is lying to the American public with little repercussion. He does so regularly and without compunction. In fact, according to debate fact-checkers, Trump lied more than two dozen times during the 90 minutes he squared off with Clinton.

He lied about the origins of the “birther” conspiracy. He lied about New York’s “stop and frisk” program. He lied about his business bankruptcies. He lied about his denial of climate change. The list goes on …

Of course, Trump doesn’t lie about everything. He’s correct that ISIS has grown. He’s right to say that China could and should go into North Korea to deal with the country’s whack-job dictator. America does need more jobs.

Here’s the million-dollar question: Do we trust him to have the competence and demeanor to address any of these and other pressing issues? We think not.