Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has accused President Donald Trump of habitually lying to the American people, and asserted that his alleged dishonesty is hurting the country.
Democrats have frequently noted Trump's perceived dishonesty; Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota touched on that discontent in his new book, "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate."
"Of all of the many things that bothered me about Donald Trump's campaign, the one that bothered me the most was the lying," Franken wrote, according to USA Today.
On June 22, Sanders offered his own critical assessment of the president's honesty. A former Democratic presidential candidate and current independent legislator, Sanders blasted Trump's assertions as bad for democracy.
"There has never been a president, or even a leading public official, who has lied as often or as dangerously as Trump has," Sanders told Vox.
The Vermont senator described Trump's assertion that up to 5 million votes during the 2016 election were illegal as "an outrageous lie -- but what that does is tell Republican governors that they should go forward to suppress the vote, to make it harder for people to vote, under the guise of voter fraud."
Sanders also blasted Trump's frequent criticisms of the media, asserting that the declarations of "fake news" were positioning the president as an authoritarian figure.
"Every politician has disagreements with the media and how they cover this or that story... But there has never been a president, or political leader, who has basically said, 'Everything you see on mainstream television or mainstream media... is a lie, don’t believe it,'" Sanders said.
"If you take that to its logical conclusion, and some people have, then where do you get the truth?" Sanders continued. "Where do you learn about what’s going on that you can’t see with your own eyes? Who’s going to help you? It kind of leads you to the conclusion that there is only one person in America who can tell us the truth, and that is the president of the United States."
Sanders concluded "I don't know if you have had a president whose actions -- in terms of dishonesty, clear dishonesty, in terms of the attacks on the media, trying to undermine people’s faith in what they see, hear and read, and support for authoritarian regimes -- I don't know if you have had a president who has put all of these characteristics together at one time."
The Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, a website dedicated to fact-checking politicians, has kept a file on both Sanders and Trump.
They rated 50 percent of Sanders' statements as truthful, 22 percent as half-true, and 28 percent as false.
Meanwhile, they found that 17 percent of Trump's statements have been truthful, 15 percent were half-true, and the remaining 69 percent as false.