Editorial: Trump and the truth need closer relationship
Posted December 7, 2016
A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, Dec.7, 2016; Editorial# 8092
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Truth. What a concept! It’s not partisan. It doesn’t have an ideology. It is self-evident. It is demonstrably something everyone should agree upon. It does not matter who holds office, what partisan label they carry or where they are ideologically. In a democracy, we expect the truth.
These days, though, that notion of truth seems to have a “once-upon-a-time” sentimentality. In the dawning Donald Trump era, truth it seems is no longer absolute.
That is a BIG problem when the people who run the most powerful nation on the planet deal with other nations. Sharing the same reality can be immensely helpful.
Being literally, and figuratively, worlds apart when it comes to truth can have severe consequences. It is the stuff that starts wars – and that’s no exaggeration.
As alarming as President-elect Trump’s baseless and wrong assertions – such as his notorious tweet that “millions of people … voted illegally” -- are the enablers around him unwilling to corral the impetuous soon-to-be leader of the free world. They should be unveiling these distracting and irrational falsehoods, but instead they’re reinforcing them.
When asked on ABC News to either justify with fact Trump’s statement about illegal voters or acknowledge that it was a misstatement, Vice President-elect Mike Pence was belligerent. “I don’t know that that is a false statement, George (Stephanopoulos), and neither do you!”
Well, the Washington Post reported that in our just-completed election, there have been 4 identified cases of voter fraud. Four votes out of 127.8 million votes cast. Here in North Carolina there’s been an exhaustive examination of the 4.8 million votes cast without ANY proof of voter fraud.
Reince Priebus, the head of the National Republican Committee, who is set to be White House chief of staff, was once viewed as someone who’d be able to reign-in Trump’s tendency toward embellishment and fantasy. But Priebus has simply sunk to his new boss’ level.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” when asked about Trump’s wrong assertion about illegal voting, Priebus stonewalled with the same preposterous rhetoric as Pence. “I don’t know that that’s not true. … No one really knows.” The incredulous moderator followed with: “You think millions of people voted illegally?” Priebus replied: “It’s possible.”
Even House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, wouldn’t stand up to Trump’s misstep. "I’m really not focused on those things,” Ryan said, when asked about Trump’s statement on 60 Minutes.
Are you kidding? Can any reasonable human being believe that it would be possible for MILLIONS of people to vote illegally and NOBODY notice?
The only people who might fit in that category are the same ones who can’t – or won’t – see the lies spouting from Trump’s Twitter account.
The disregard for facts and assault on truth that springs forth from Trump and his handlers is the expedient stuff that festers in totalitarian states. It is the verbal currency of dictators and despots. Lies eat away the soul of a nation. Trump and his backers need to stop the lies and deal straight with the nation and the world.
While sometimes inconvenient, the truth strengthens our nation’s foundation. It is the bedrock of our democracy.