April 7, 2020

Be The President

By Stephen Tuttle | Feb. 25, 2017

Sigh. The President of the United States is a liar. There are politer ways to say it, but if he was your child you would have to take away his toys and make him go stand in the corner. 

We begrudgingly accept that politicians exaggerate their accomplishments and minimize their failures. Most of the time they brush close enough to the truth to at least be able to defend their claims. What they don't typically do is just make up stuff and then repeat the fabrications endlessly. 

It isn't so easy to keep track of President Trump's various delusions in a weekly column because they spill out almost daily. It's safe to assume there will be more between the time this is written and when you read it. 

So let's review. Sometimes he just lies and sometimes his brain seems to process and then change the information it receives.

An example of the latter took place at an appearance in Melbourne, Florida, where he suggested there had been terrorist trouble in Sweden the night before. This was surprising news to the Swedes, since nothing happened other than many people, mostly blonde, having a good time. 

Trump later said he learned of Sweden's problems from a Fox News show which, in fact, never claimed anything had happened in Sweden the previous night. That's troubling.

While we're on the subject of the media, we should mention the president's ongoing attacks on any news organization reporting anything he doesn't like. He calls those stories “fake news” and the organizations doing the reporting the “dishonest media.” He once actually said, in a tweet for everybody to see, that any negative polls are fake news. He also likes to refer to the “failing” New York Times and Washington Post and, most alarmingly, said the media is the “enemy” of the country.

Fortunately we have some data. Both the Times and the Post have seen significant increases in readership and subscriptions, something for which Trump could have rightfully taken credit. But they aren't failing; they're doing the opposite of failing.

What we call the mainstream media is actually doing pretty well, too. The Pew Research Center, which is mostly self-funded so they aren't being paid by anyone with a vested interest in the results, studies media credibility. The major networks (save one) and big city daily newspapers are trusted by about 60 percent of the public. Fox News is about 30 percent and Trump's favorite, Breitbart News, only 19 percent. 

Trump also likes to talk about his “historic” electoral college victory, the biggest he says he was told, since Ronald Reagan. This is a pretty easy thing to check. It wasn't the biggest since Reagan, but it was nearly the smallest. George H.W. Bush had a bigger margin as did Bill Clinton twice and Barack Obama twice. Trump's “historic” win was actually the 44th biggest.  

Then, of course, there are his repeated claims he'd have won California if not for those millions of illegal voters, mostly illegal immigrants, who voted for Hillary Clinton. New Hampshire, too, if busloads of illegal voters hadn't been shipped in from Massachusetts.

As we know, there is no evidence of either. None. Why in the world would someone here illegally risk felony convictions and deportation in order to vote? Those believing millions of illegal votes could be cast undetected have abandoned common sense and followed Alice down the rabbit hole.

Then there's his non-stop assault on immigration, including repeated lies about refugees. They're streaming in by the thousands, Trump says, with no vetting by anybody. 

The reality is those claiming refugee status have a difficult road to come here. They are all vetted, including FBI background checks and personal interviews. On average, the process takes more than two years. And according to the Justice Department, refugees are about 30 times less likely to commit crimes than are natural-born U.S. citizens.

It's all quite absurd. 

Trump won the election but refuses to stop campaigning. He deserves a chance to govern but not by late night tweets and obsessing over perceived slights from which he should have recovered as he took the oath of office.    

The Trump agenda, which he has every right to try to implement, gets totally lost in the blizzard of nonsense. His remarkably thin skin has him seeing enemies everywhere.  While we wait for him to settle down, his instincts drag him off on another tangent followed by repeats of already disproven claims and new ones soon to be disproven.

Being an outsider shaking things up is fine; he earned that right back in November. He doesn't even have to be “presidential.” But he does have to be the president. Now would be a good time for him to connect with reality and start.

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