Trustworthy and honest are two terms that we would expect to describe our president. We want to know that he is telling the truth and that his actions reflect that truth. Certainly, we recognize that there are times when the president is unable to share the entire truth with us due to national security considerations. However, short of such circumstances, we have a right to expect the truth. What is important to understand is that the “we” I refer to is not just you and I. It includes our various trading and security partners the world-over. Equally important, it includes our adversaries. When the veracity of our leader is in question the jeopardy to our nation becomes immeasurable. That is what makes the fact that our president is a liar so troubling.
From his first statements after the inauguration to this very moment Trump’s words are not to be trusted. In the Trump White House the truth is fungible and facts are variable. The impact of this reality has dire consequences for our nation. The label “Fake News” has been purposely utilized to create a blur between fact and fiction. It has been utilized frequently to attack legitimate and established news organizations in order to delegitimize them in the eyes of the public and bring into question all of their assertions and facts. At the same time there are some news organizations, such as Fox News, The Drudge Report and Brietbart News, that reinforce the “Fake News” label and attempt to legitimize this false narrative. The obvious goal in this effort is for Trump and his White House to control “the truth” and denigrate all who would dare to question it.
On an international scale our relationships within our alliances are based on a mutual understanding of the “truth”. This includes agreement on existing threats as well as actions to be taken to maintain mutual security. If our undrstaning of the truth is different from that of our allies, the stability of mutual security agreements is in jeopardy. The President’s behavior and comments over the past six months have raised concerns and doubts among our allies and has for the first time in more than 70 years diminished America’s role as leader of the free world. The light of the “beacon on the hill” has been dimmed by a president who has a tenuous reltionship with the truth.
The pattern of lying and blaming that has become very apparent over the past six months is most troubling. When truth is fungible and facts are variable it is easy to reshuffle the position of the players at will. For example, Sessions was going to be a great Attorney General, now he is a great disappointment. The Congress is to blame for the failure to pass a new healthcare bill. The press is responsible for continuing the Russia investigation. The Courts are to blame for the holdup on the full implementation of the immigration ban. The White House is running like a finely tuned machine and anything that goes wrong is the result of outside failures. The effort here has been to denigrate the press, the courts and the legislative branch. The comments and actions by the White House related to these institutions brings into question their appreciation or understanding of the genius of our system of government.
Finally the disturbing comments of the President, his family and his staff regarding the Russia investigation defy credibility and continue to change as new information comes out challenging the veracity of their last statements. If there was no issue here why would the White House be working so hard to coverup the truth? Trump is doing everything he can to stop and stall the investigation regardless of his comments to the contrary.
When a leader lies in order to denigrate and delegitimize all areas of his government, with the exception of his own, while at the same time defaming and devaluing the press, it raises great concern about his intentions. We cannot ignore that Steve Bannon remains in the White House as Chief Strategist or that he famously advocated the “dismantling of the administrative state” This philosophy in combination with Trump’s difficulty with the truth, combined with his narcissism, makes our president a very dangerous man. Where will it lead?