Alan Zendell, May 6, 2018
He’s lied his entire life – it’s well documented. He’s made promises he never intended to keep and defrauded people all his life. That’s well documented, too.
He lied when he said he couldn’t release his taxes because they were under audit; the IRS said that was nonsense. He lied again when he said he’d release them when the audit was done, then changed his mind. He lied when he told average Americans that the tax bill he supported was primarily aimed at lowering their taxes and then helped pass a bill that was aimed almost entirely at increasing corporate profits. He lied when he said that would cause corporations to share their tax windfall with employees; the great majority of those profits have simply been spread among their stockholders.
He lied when he claimed his “travel ban” wasn’t a Muslim ban, and the courts threw it back in his face. He lied when he said he supported the DACA kids, then tried to slam the door on them at every opportunity. Now the courts have said that was illegal and given him ninety days to get it right.
He lied when he promised affordable health care to all Americans, but cheered on Congress’ attempts to pass laws that would have deprived nearly twenty five million people of any coverage at all. Then he took direct action to dismantle protections against premium hikes in Obamacare plans, because undermining his predecessor in the White House was more important than people not being able to afford coverage. And now, even Tom Price, his departed, corrupt DHHS chief who has made a career out of attacking attempts to expand health care for Americans states publicly that the new tax law will significantly increase health care costs for most of us.
He invents his own facts and calls most legitimate journalism “fake news.” He has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than twenty women, none of whom know each other, but in the face of credible testimony against him has called all of them liars. He has lied and contradicted himself repeatedly in the sordid cases of nondisclosure agreements with a porn star and a Playboy model.
His supporters and detractors seem to agree that he has no respect for the truth. The only difference is that his supporters don’t seem to care. Republicans who have to run for re-election this November are between a rock and a hard place. They’re afraid that abandoning him will anger his base, but equally concerned that independent voters who have had enough of his lies will vote them out of office if they don’t speak out.
Some veteran Republicans, mostly those who are in no danger of losing their seats, are raising questions about the long term effects of his lies. Questions are now being asked about their impact on international relations. Will our allies treat his lies as nothing more than campaign and negotiating tactics and assume that when serious matters are on the table in private he can be trusted to keep his word?
The problem isn’t with our adversaries. Putin and Xi don’t care if he lies. All that matters to them is increasing their influence in world affairs and economics as relations between Trump and our allies deteriorate. He’s reneged on trade agreements and backed out of the worldwide attempt to control carbon emissions and protect our environment. And now he’s threatening to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement even though his is nearly a lone voice in the wilderness. His only ally on this matter, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, is at odds with his own military and security apparatus.
Soon he will be sitting across a table from Kim Jong Un, whose belligerence has for years been based on distrust of America’s intentions. Why would he now believe an American president who declares that we have no intention of invading North Korea or upending his regime? In particular, why would he believe Trump, who has never been willing to pledge either of those things? And watching how Trump has treated our NATO allies, why would South Korean president Moon trust him to maintain our treaty commitments?
All that aside, what I am most concerned about is the effect of our president’s lies and basic lack of morality on our societal norms. Have your children ever said, “Why can’t I lie when the president does all the time?” What will you tell them when they do? What about when your business associates and colleagues treat commitments, contracts, and verbal agreements the way Trump does?
My greatest fear is watching our values erode. What will happen when cheating takes precedence over hard work? What will be left to defend our system if Trump is allowed to denigrate our courts and law enforcement? Our children deserve better than the legacy our president is creating for them.