After five long years (Remember, Trump was the first to announce his own investigation into Obama’s citizenship status in 2011: “I have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding.” ), Donald J. Trump finally announced, (Sept. 16):
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
It doesn’t matter to Trump (or sadly, many of his supporters) that for five years he consistently lied – and yes, that is the ethically precise word here – despite evidence to the contrary.
When is a lie a lie?
New York Times Political Editor Carolyn Ryan recently hit the nail exactly on its head (Sept. 20), when she was asked that question by the Times’ public editor.
“ ‘A lie is different from the spin, exaggerations and squabbling between candidates that are commonplace in politics,’ [Ryan] said. ‘It is not a word we will use lightly.’
“Intentionality,” Ryan points out, “is important — in the case of Trump and birtherism, he repeated the lie for years, in the face of overwhelming facts that disproved it, suggesting this was a deliberate attempt by Trump to deceive.”
At the same event, Trump, aided by his surrogates, continue to peddle another lie:
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.”
On Sunday (Sept. 18) Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway told host John Dickerson, “…this started with Hillary Clinton’s campaign… even Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008, John, until she was fired by Hillary Clinton, admitted on Friday to Wolf Blitzer that she said, yes, these are her words. There was a volunteer in Iowa who was pushing this.”
Within a matter of minutes, on the same show, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus doubled-down:
“…by the preponderance of the evidence before us, Hillary Clinton or her campaign were definitely involved in this issue. So, we can’t keep saying it’s not true. That’s ridiculous.”
Let’s look at that “preponderance.”
“As we have written before, there’s no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with bogus claims that Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus was ineligible to be president.”
“There is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States.”
Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler:
“Let’s review this again: No, Clinton and her campaign did not start the ‘birther’ controversy. We awarded Trump Four Pinocchios for this claim, and it has been debunked thoroughly over, and over, and over, and over again.”
Less than 24-hours later, Trump displayed another of his favorite characteristics, contempt.
After two explosions in New Jersey and then New York, Trump stepped before an audience in Colorado Springs and said, “Just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on. But boy, we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough.”
After the explosion in New York, authorities had not called it a bombing. Once it was confirmed, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and police announced it at a press conference. Once they did, Trump took credit.
“What I said was exactly correct – I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news.”
On a plane when word came of the bombings along with an attack in Minnesota, Hillary Clinton said, “I think it’s important to know the facts about any incident like this. I think it’s always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.”
Two candidates running for the same office. Two starkly different approaches to what could be a serious incident. One reacts with alarm and insinuates disdain for law enforcement — “nobody knows exactly what’s going on”; the other reacts with caution and reason, allowing law enforcement to do their job.
Without a shred of evidence — other than hearing news of an “explosion” — the Republican nominee for president, once again, shows his lack of judgment by jumping to conclusions before the facts have entered the picture.
Less than forty-eight hours later, New York police and the FBI not only had the name of the suspect, but had captured him alive after a brief shootout with police in a New Jersey neighborhood.
While he barely acknowledges the work of law enforcement and neglects to mention how a citizen’s response led to the capture of the suspect or New Jersey police’s control of the situation, Trump’s response:
“…now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he’ll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is.
“And on top of all that,” Trump added in another expression of contempt, “he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. His case will go through the various court systems for years and, in the end, people will forget and his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation. We must have speedy, but fair trails and we must deliver a just and very harsh punishment to these people.”
The same NPR report cited a fact that Trump overlooked:
“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” NPR writes, “was sentenced to death last year after he was convicted of the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and left 240 with serious injuries, including 17 who lost legs.”
Trumplandia is, indeed, a wonderland of contempt and denial.