Journalist Tony Schwartz became Donald Trump’s shadow for 18 months, taking on the task of writing a biography of the then-tabloid star. And “The Art of the Deal” was a huge success. It sold more than a million copies and it propelled Trump’s name well beyond New York, thus feeding his insatiable ego.

Schwartz doesn’t have fond memories of him. Of all the bad traits he attributes to Trump, the one that’s relevant here is dishonesty. Lying, he said, is part of Trump’s nature and he does it shamelessly. “Lying is second nature to him… Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true … or at least ought to be true.”

After more than half a year of Trump’s presidency, The Washington Post agrees empirically with Schwartz. It’s already counted over a thousand lies from Trump since it decided to make a note of them all. That comes out to an average of almost five whoppers a day. It’s too late now, but someone should have also counted all his fits of rage. He’s constantly defaming others. With last week’s vulgar rally in Phoenix, a terrible 77-minute spectacle full of fury, insults and, of course, lies, he would have broken this hypothetical rage detector.

Trump spat venom uncontrollably: against two senators, one of them with brain cancer; against journalists, of course (“the most dishonest human beings on Earth”); against the Republican leader of Congress; against Hillary; against protesters. He only praised himself, his "big, beautiful" apartment in New York and a Fox talk show. “[It’s] the best show,” he said, fancying himself “Media Expert in Chief.”

Between building and destroying

“Your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy,” said Barack Obama. Trump, who attacks, attacks and attacks, doesn’t believe him. There are few groups left he hasn’t alienated. Obama also used to say that American democracy doesn’t always advance in a straight line. Sometimes it zigzags or takes a step backward. That makes sense in this era of an “absent presidency,” as it’s already being called, because, in terms of legislation, nothing is happening. It’s all about Trump lying and discrediting — along with saving himself and some of the most questionable people in the nation, such as Joe Arpaio, the most xenophobic sheriff in the West, who was pardoned. “Sad,” as Trump says.