The Scarlet L for Donald T

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

From last night’s debate:

“The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something—that was generous and gave me money—was Donald Trump,” [Jeb] Bush said. “He wanted casino gambling in Florida.”

That’s when Trump cut him off—and failed to tell the truth.

“I didn’t,” Trump said.

But for more than 21 years, Trump did. He and his company have repeatedly been on record trying to get casino deals in one form or another in Florida.

From hiring lobbyists to taking a former business partner to court, Trump’s interest in getting a piece of Florida’s gaming industry has been documented in news articles from Tallahassee to Miami. Trump’s involvement in expanding Florida gaming—an effort that regularly fails in the state Capitol due to the influence of conservative lawmakers—is well-known among state capital reporters, politicians and lobbyists alike.

It isn’t that Trump lied — all politicians do. But it’s why Trump lied.

He lost.

He spent his money and he hired his “best people” and he went up against the Florida legislature and the Florida governor.

And he lost.

A smart lie would have been to say, “Hey, I think casino gambling would have been a great deal for Florida, a terrific deal. The best. But you guys didn’t see it that way and we both lost.”

See, there’s a lie wrapped up in a half-truth, giving Trump all the wiggle room he would have needed to sell it.

But “we both lost” means that Trump lost. And this thin-skinned fellow can’t afford to be seen as a loser.

Trump can’t lose, because if you take away the myth that the Art of the Deal guy never loses, then there’s very little rationale left for his candidacy.

But Trump lost in Florida, and he lost again last night in California.