Editorial: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's careless rhetoric stretches truth, is a health hazard

Posted September 21, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT

CBC Editorial: Monday, Sept. 21, 2020; Editorial #8588
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

Political candidates on the stump often offer dire warnings of what might happen if, or when, their opponents take office should they win the election.

But North Carolina’s lieutenant governor Republican Dan Forest, has taken that to new and disturbing levels in his gubernatorial campaign against Democratic incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper.

He’s a soothsayer, darkly predicting that Joe Biden will die before the Jan. 20, 2021 presidential inauguration.

He’s engaged in fantasy, declaring that all downtown Raleigh has been destroyed.

He’s a medical and public health expert, proclaiming that "masks do not work with viruses." At a recent news conference when asked if he’d require masks for students, teachers and staffs at public schools, he responded: "No. I don’t think there’s any science that backs that up.”

Forest, in fact is none of those. He’s an architect.

What he REALLY is -- a politician with little regard for truth, facts, science, decency or the health and safety of those he serves.

Forest has said, on more than one occasion, Biden will be dead before Jan. 20, 2021 – presidential inauguration day. Hear and see what he said at a campaign event in Salisbury on Aug. 24: “Could you imagine having Kamala Harris as president of the United States? I mean, we all know that Sleepy Joe probably won’t make it to January 20th. So Kamala Harris, good chance she could be your president.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, when he appeared with President Donald Trump in Winston-Salem, Forest was at it again. “We all know that Sleepy Joe’s not going to make it.”

Predicting a presidential candidate’s death. What kind of comment is that to make?

Forest’s fractured fairy tales seem limitless. During his Winston-Salem appearance he declared that rioters “destroyed every building in downtown Raleigh.” While there was inexcusable looting, windows busted and some buildings defaced, no buildings were destroyed.

Looters and troublemakers deserve condemnation and prosecution. But what of the abuses by the police and systematic racism that the vast majority of protesters were appropriately and peacefully seeking to have addressed? Why won’t Forest talk about those legitimate concerns?

It is unfortunate enough during a typical campaign season to witness politicians irresponsibly stretching the truth. Should anyone tolerate candidates and leaders who embrace its wholesale abandonment?

Since entering office, President Trump has a daily average of a dozen false or misleading claims – one every two hours!

His repeated unfounded claims about absentee mail-in voting – blasted out earlier this month in Wilmington -- serve only to confuse and spread false-based suspicions about the efficacy of our election system. North Carolina is fortunate to have a sound system, led and staffed by competent and honest people, dedicated to making sure as many qualified voters as possible cast ballots. Further, that each of those properly cast ballots is fairly counted.

It is difficult and challenging even under the best of circumstances. The ability to do their job is even tougher when they are distracted and must refute phony statements and purposely misleading, illegal advice from the highest official in the land.

Dan Forest knows Joe Biden isn’t on death’s door. He knows downtown Raleigh wasn’t destroyed. And he knows there’s no credible science to support his dangerous claptrap against using masks.

His clueless, careless rhetoric on the hustings is telling voters one clear thing --- someone who doesn’t care about facts disqualifies themselves from leadership and certainly should not be governor.

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