There’s a popular old saying: “How can you tell when politicians are lying? Their lips are moving.” Well, we have Mr. Lips in the White House these days and the lies are gushing like water from a fire hose, especially to those who voted for him believing what he said he’d do on the campaign trail.

It’s not hard to remember where “America First” came from — Donald Trump’s lips. During the campaign he garnered considerable support for saying he would not follow the path of international military intervention that has been the hallmark of the U.S. presidencies of the 21st century after President George W. Bush declared his global "war on terror.”

Were he to win, we were assured that a Trump presidency would concentrate “nation building” on our nation — not in the deserts, barren mountains and lands and seas of other countries that may or may not be under the rule of despots, suffering from internal strife or conveniently sitting on oil deposits.

Indeed, when Trump addressed the United Nations last week he made a big deal out of respecting national sovereignty, using the word 21 times in his speech. But then, as we have now come to expect from this totally untrustworthy political novice, he turned right around and threatened to “completely destroy” North Korea. Putting his fifth-grade vocabulary — and personality — to full use, he also childishly labeled North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, as the “Rocket Man.” How anyone could be so cavalier and utterly immature when talking about wiping out nearly 26 million human beings is unfathomable — and certainly far, far from the normal channels of international discourse or human morality.

Not to be outdone, Kim Jong Un threw his own taunts and threats right back in Trump’s face, saying “a frightened dog barks louder” and threatening to “surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

Mind you, both of these apparently unhinged individuals are actually the leaders of nations with nuclear weapons and the fingers they’re pointing at each other can just as easily push the big red buttons that unleash unimaginable death and destruction on the planet.

Unfortunately, the extent of Trump’s betrayal of his campaign promise to put “America First” doesn’t stop with North Korea. We now have somewhere around a thousand “lily pad” military outposts scattered around the world and are currently involved in armed conflict in somewhere around 80 nations — at least that our far-less-than-open government will admit.

One of those conflicts, in Syria, has now escalated into a confrontation between the Syrian government, its Russian and Iranian allies and the Syrian Democratic Forces rebels backed by the U.S., Kurdish and Arab militias. Late last week Russia announced it would target areas occupied by American troops and the Syrian rebels following two U.S.-backed bombing attacks on Syrian government troops and their Russian advisors. In the meantime, the skies above the desert are occupied by increasingly close calls between Russian and American military aircraft, with the chances of open conflict increasing on a daily basis.

Tough to see how Trump is putting “America First” when his budget guts support for our own citizens and infrastructure while pumping $700 billion annually into global military aggression.

Those who expect this president to tell the truth should, by now, know better. The world certainly does, and even his supporters made news last week by burning their MAGA ("Make America Great Again”) hats in public. And how do these former supporters now know Trump is lying? Simple: his lips are moving.

George Ochenski's column appears each Monday on the Missoulian's Opinion page. He can be reached by email at oped@missoulian.com.

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