Many people strongly support President Trump because, they say, he speaks his mind; and you always know where stands. Maybe, but in a more genteel age, no President would behave as he has.
Trump has clearly hidden some unsavory behavior. But his transgressions committed in plain sight would fill this newspaper. A few examples:
Trump entered politics by claiming without evidence that Obama was a Kenyan. Later, he gave up that claim but repeatedly blamed the rumor on Hillary Clinton!
He introduced his candidacy by accusing immigrants of being rapists and murderers. His disclaimer, “I’m sure some are good people,” hardly defused the accusation.
In October 2016 came the Access Hollywood tape. He bragged about “grabbing ‘em by the p---”, which he dismissed as locker room talk. Who talks like that?
Days before the election came the payoffs (in violation of campaign finance laws) to hush up affairs—he said to spare his wife’s feelings. Really?
He repeatedly grossly exaggerated the size of his inauguration crowd. The point? He’ll lie about anything.
Losing in court, he had to pay students of his sham Trump University $25,000,000 for having swindled them.
He attacked our intelligence agencies as being politically biased. Later he dismissed 17 intelligence agencies’ claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He still refuses to acknowledge Russia’s involvement. Fearing Trump’s wrath, Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on bipartisan legislation to protect the 2020 election from foreign meddling.
In Helsinki Trump dismissed his own intelligence agencies, saying he believed Vladimir Putin instead because, he said, “Putin had strongly denied” meddling.
He admitted to Lester Holt on national TV that he fired Comey in order to end the Russian investigation. Then he told the Russians that they had nothing to worry about because Trump had fired Comey.
After denying for over a year that he received assistance from the Russians Trump admitted on national TV that he “saw nothing wrong with taking assistance from a foreign government” to win an election even though that is clearly illegal.
Trump has said for months that the Mueller Report found “No collusion, no obstruction. It completely exonerates me (Trump)”. That…is…simply…untrue. In his report and in front of two Congressional committees Mueller said explicitly: (1) Despite possible evidence of guilt, there is no way an indictment could have been brought against a sitting president because of Department of Justice policy. (2) The investigation was not a “witch hunt” as over 30 indictments were filed and people close to Trump pled or were found guilty of crimes. (Some $40 million in fines imposed on Paul Manafort more than paid for the Mueller investigation.) (3) At least 10 cases of potential obstruction were identified, which Mueller implied could lead to Trump’s indictment after he leaves office. (4) Mueller explicitly said, “if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
Tariffs are a matter for policy debate. What cannot be debated is who pays the tariffs. Trump claims that Mexico or China pays the tariffs. UNTRUE. We do, either directly as tax on consumer goods or indirectly as US manufacturers pay the tax and pass along the cost. And what about US farmers? In retaliation for our tariffs, China imposed tariffs on imported US farm products. Chinese now buy elsewhere as tariffs make US farm products too expensive. These products now rot in warehouses. Don’t worry says Trump. The government will pay farmers over $10,000,000,000. Through taxes we pay for that too — $150/year for the average family. Tariffs are a double whammy.
Then there’s the massacre in El Paso. Trump says he’s not responsible even though the killer’s manifesto essentially quotes the President’s campaign rallies: “invasion,” says Trump, “infestations,” as though they are roaches, referring to immigrants, at his rallies and in over 2000 ads posted on social media. Is it possible that he cannot grasp that incendiary comments made by the President of the United States might be taken as license to act by radicals who already hate immigrants?
Following the Parkland shootings Trump promised to support common sense background checks — until Wayne LaPierre of the NRA intervened and Trump backed down. Now more platitudes, thoughts and prayers, guns don’t kill people, yada, yada, yada. Surely this confluence of incendiary rhetoric and opposition to common sense licensing can’t be lost on thoughtful citizens.
So, what’s the point. I fear that we are becoming inured: so numbed by the constant flood of nastiness (like drinking from the proverbial firehose) that we have become accustomed to it and eventually accept it as the new normal. That has apparently already happened to Republicans officeholders. Silence is consent.
Is this what our ancestors died for? Is this the future we want?
Everett Baucom lives in Cruso.