One of the earliest life lessons I learned was that, if fear and self-loathing were to be avoided, it was best to tell the truth the first time any delicate subject was broached. The matter of not telling the truth, however, seems to be frequent in far too many human exchanges nowadays: Its presence for example has become an annoying condition of the president of the United States—his lies, half truths and downright fabrications too often in abundance.
Take the recently declared national emergency at the southern U.S. border by President Trump. While announcing it, he commented that the rapid construction of a wall was not necessary, simply his preference. What?
Trump said, “I’ve built a lot of wall. I have a lot of money, and I’ve built a lot of wall.” Facts disclose he’s built no new walls. Any wall construction to date has simply replaced existing walls, fences and any other barriers. Additional construction will get underway soon. It will entail 14 miles of fencing in Texas along the Rio Grande River but results from money approved by Congress a year ago.
Trump said, “There’s rarely been a problem (with declaring a national emergency) presidents sign it; nobody cares. And many of those are far less important than having a border.” Facts disclose that previous national emergencies were mostly inconsequential and did not involve a former president overriding the Congress with its power over spending. The previous four presidents used the national emergency to deal with overseas crises that denied terrorists access to federal funds and nations abusing human rights.
Trump said, “The big drug loads don’t go through ports of entry. When you listen to politicians—certain Democrats—they say it all comes through the Port of Entry. It’s wrong. It’s just a lie.” Facts disclose that the Trump administration itself says illicit drugs come mainly through ports of entry. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reported last year that the most common technique by criminal organizations is hiding drugs in passenger and tractor-trailer vehicles driven into the U.S. at border crossings. These and other means are not stopped by any form of border wall.
Trump said, “Take a look at our federal prison population. See how many of them, percentage-wise, are illegal aliens. Just see. Go ahead and see.” Facts disclosed by Bureau of Justice statistics report that the majority of foreigners being held for immigration violations did not commit violent or property crimes.
What about other false claims by President Trump. Well, in the last seven days alone, truth checkers report that he made false claims 25 times. His false claims record since sworn into office as president add-up to 4,350 examples. On the subject of Trump’s national emergency: 30 percent approve, 70 percent disapprove.
It is difficult to relate to or understand why President Trump finds it so difficult, if not impossible, to address matters of national importance without lying about them. What happened to him that resulted in an inability to be anything other than mendacious. Was he never given “time out” as a child, never confronted by other persons who threatened with a “knock it off!” His ego-first and country last not only subverts the Constitution’s principles and design but sabatogues our democracy and the best of our values.
(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion frequently in the Keizertimes.)