It’s time to Break It Down!
At a Monday afternoon rally of the faithful, his faithful, to be precise, in Blue Ash, Ohio, #45 lobbed more verbal grenades. This time he targeted Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, in general, and members of the Black Caucus, in particular, most of whom did not clap and (in his view) appropriately, or sufficiently render themselves deferential and laudatory, during the course of his 80-minute long State of the Union (SOTU) Address.
It is well established that Trump is not just comfortable calling people, and some times whole countries, or entire continents, names, he is clearly predisposed to doing so. One day Haiti and African nations are shithole countries; another day, Democrats are un-American and traitorous. And that’s not the half of it. During the GOP Primaries he coined derogatory nicknames for many of his opponents. Most of his opponents and the folks who supported them thought he was an egomaniacal bully, totally unsuited to leading our nation.
Fast-forward to January 20, 2017, and Mr. Trump’s narcissistic bent, in tandem with his massive insecurities led him to assert that his inauguration was the largest in the history. Suffice it to say it was not. Suffice it to say, in addition to having raised name-calling to an art form, he has elevated truth avoidance (how do you like that euphemism) to previously unmeasured levels. According to the Washington Post (WaPo), which Trump supporters routinely call fake news, Mr. Trump made misleading statements, false claims, and or untruthful statements more than 2,000 times from January 20th to December 31st, 2017. By the paper’s calculation, he practiced this level of deception on average, 5.6 times per day.
Often when reports surface addressing Mr. Trump’s propensity to elude truthful commentary, his supporters counter that a similar evaluation of previous Presidents would yield similar results. The New York Times (NYT) took accepted this challenge and evaluated statements made by Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. It found, using the same criteria, that Mr. Trump articulated 6 times as many false, misleading, or untrue statements in 10 months, as President Obama did in 8 years.
The NYT used a considerably more relaxed standard than WaPo. On the one hand, Trust looks much better, which will undoubtedly make his supporters feel much better. However, that will probably last only until they see that it makes Mr. Obama look almost saintly. In Mr. Trump’s first 10 months in office, the NYT reported he told 103 separate untruths, many of them repeatedly. President Obama, their research found, told 18 over his entire eight-year tenure. That is an average of about 124 a year for #45, and two a year for Mr. Obama.
So what about those un-American, treasonous Democrats? In the midst of a Trump-friendly crowd in Ohio, on a Monday afternoon in February, a couple of weeks into his second year in office, Mr. Trump was obviously feeling ecstatic about the recent release of the Nunes Memo, which he has repeatedly declared exonerates him of any charges of collusion or obstruction. He was there, ostensibly to tout a stellar economy, for which he has taken total credit.
An interesting thing happened on the way to his happy ending. In the middle of his speech, while he was delivering his oft-practiced spiel about the economy, split screens from virtually all the news outlets carrying the speech showed an up-to-the-minute display of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Ironically, as Trump crowed, the concurrent display, including on Fox News, the always favorable-to-Trump network, showed a Dow that was bottoming at around -1500 points for the day. It would ultimate recover to -1175, still the largest numerical drop in a single day. In full disclosure, because of the soaring numbers the Dow had reached (over 26,000 last week), that amounted to a percentage drop of only 4.6%, which percentage-wise, is significant, but nowhere near a record; not even in the Top 20 worst percentage drops.
And then…there was his SOTU rant. Somewhere along the way, Mr. Trump had an epiphany. For the entire year and a half he was campaigning for President, he expressed great disdain for Monthly Jobs Reports, Unemployment data, and anything else generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He suggested President Obama was cooking the books. “Funny” thing happened; Trump won the election, and suddenly the numbers are no longer fake, they are just plain marvelous.
In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has derived great pleasure in noting that black unemployment is at its lowest level in recorded history. Unlike much of what he says, that’s actually true. Of course, it doesn’t account for all those “full black unemployment years”…when such statistics were not recorded. Hispanic unemployment is also at record low levels.
As Mr. Trump stood and read his Obama-inspired teleprompter speech (they were bad when Obama did them, right?), he noticed that across the great divide that separated Democrats and Republicans during the SOTU Address, Democrats were significantly less responsive than the ever ready to applaud GOP. In fact, some of the Democrats didn’t applaud at all. A number of the members of the Black Caucus were adorned in Kente Cloth, and sat, respectfully, but unemotionally. The lack of adulation apparently stung the President, and Monday in Blue Ash, he let it be known. As he put it:
“You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy, wild, they loved everything, they want to do something great for the country. And you’ve got the other side – even on positive news, really positive news – they were like death. And un-American. Un-American. Somebody said treasonous. Yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
For a quick historical retrospective, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, created in 1938, investigated alleged disloyalty and subversive activities. It was a blueprint of sorts for Joseph McCarthy’s aggressive anti-communist campaign of the 1950’s. Treason is an even starker concept. It is defined as:
“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
So let’s establish, for the record, none of what the Democrats did was rightfully characterized as either un-American, nor treason. However those who insist that we “Let Trump be Trump” demand that he be given free rein to act in this way. I offer, in contrast, Congressman Joe Wilson’s infamously shouted “You lie ” while President Obama was addressing a Joint Session of Congress. He noted the ACA would not provide coverage for illegal aliens. By the way, the non-partisan organization FactCheck.org subsequently debunked the claim that the ACA would mandate coverage for illegal aliens. Wilson was forced to apologize.
In case you’re wondering, President Obama did not respond to Mr. Wilson’s rude and obnoxious behavior by labeling his action un-American and treasonous; perhaps because as a Constitutional scholar, he knew the definitions of both terms, and that those words didn’t appropriately describe Wilson’s actions. Once again, that’s what you get when you let Trump be Trump. This week, “Trump Indicts Dems as Un-American & Treasonous: What About the GOP?”
I’m done; holla back!
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