…in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.
Tony Schwartz, ghost-author of Trump: The Art of the Deal, an autobiography of Donald Trump, acknowledged that his subject would engage in deliberate hyperbole, stretching the truth, as part of an overarching strategy to impress friends and foes alike. In an extensive interview with The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer:
Schwartz says of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it “gave him a strange advantage.”
Ironically, according to the Mayer piece, Trump, who evidently reads little, kept one book at his bedside. That was Mein Kampf.
UPDATE (Sep. 27, 2016):
From last night’s debate we have this from The Guardian, one of many outlets fact-checking the candidates’ remarks:
Trump blames Sidney Blumenthal, a friend of the Clinton’s, and Patti Solis Doyle, a 2008 campaign manager, for creating the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the US.
There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with the false rumors that Barack Obama was not born in the US, nor did Clinton have anything to do with Trump’s five years of questions about birth certificates, which he finally recanted last Friday.
Trump’s campaign has tried to blame several people who were, if at all, tangentially related to the Clinton campaign. There is no evidence that Solis Doyle had anything to do with the claim either. She told CNN that there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded the email and that the volunteer was dismissed, and that she called the Obama campaign to apologize.
A former aide named Mark Penn wrote a 2007 memo that Obama’s “lack of American roots” could “hold him back”. But he added: “We are never going to say anything about his background.” The Clinton campaign never acted on his advice, and he was dismissed in April 2008.
Some Clinton supporters have been blamed over anonymous chain emails for questioning Obama’s citizenship, but none of the rumormongers were linked to the campaign. Philip Berg, a former Pennsylvania official who supported Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2008 over Obama’s birth certificate; the suit was thrown out because it was groundless. Blumenthal, an old friend of the Clintons who frequently sent them unsolicited advice, reportedly asked reporters to investigate Obama’s birth, but he has denied this and denounced the conspiracy.
As fellow fact-checkers at Politifact have noted, a Texas volunteer for Clinton named Linda Starr eventually joined Berg’s failed lawsuit; there is nothing to suggest Starr had any influence in the campaign at any level. Campaign volunteers who forwarded emails falsely alleging Obama is Muslim resignedwhen they were found out.
Trump did not answer the question about what convinced him that the president was born in the US, even though the birth certificate has been public for the five years that has Trump continued questioning Obama’s birthplace.