If you’re not a journalist, you probably can’t imagine how offensive it is, how absolutely unacceptably outrageous it is to hear the president say — as he did today — that “the very, very dishonest press” does not report terrorist attacks. If a reporter were to spit directly in his face, it would be perhaps — maybe — equal to the offense he committed today against journalism.
Perhaps doctors could care less and really try hard to kill their patients.
Or Matt Ryan tried to lose the Super Bowl.
Or Lady Gaga wanted to be awful because she hates sports.
If you believe any of those three statements maybe you’d believe that the press doesn’t report terrorist attacks. It’s just as crazy. That’s what we do for a living. Donald builds buildings. We report the news. And comment on it.
So, my comment today is that Donald Trump is an outrageous unmitigated liar, and anyone who believes his lies is a fool. I don’t believe his supporters are all fools, but it takes a fool to believe his lies. It takes a fool to believe that birds don’t sing, the sun doesn’t rise, and news outlets don’t report terrorist attacks. As Donald would say, give me a break!
The last time I was this angry on this subject was 1968 in Moscow when a Russian acquaintance who “watched” me for the KGB said I belonged to “the second oldest profession.” You can guess what the oldest profession was in his view. Or maybe not. He said I was told what to write. It was not true then, not now, and in forty years in this honorable profession I’ve never suppressed a story or knowingly lied.
But that was in Russia, Donald’s favorite country, the one he thinks is superior to the United States.
How long is it going to be before these lies of his become too outrageous for Republican office holders to defend, to enable, or even to ignore, before they feel obligated for their own credibility’s sake to go to him in a group and tell him: Donald, enough! You’re killing us. We can’t defend your ignorance and your disrespect for the truth endlessly. Our constituents aren’t stupid. They see through you. Look at the polls.
Oh, speaking of polls, which Donald loved to cite when his were rising, he no longer likes them—well, some of them. Today he tweeted, “Any negative polls are fake news.” The negative ones are the fake ones. Got that? This is the president of the United States, and any poll I don’t like is fake.
These are the words of a mad man, a dictator, not a president of the United States.
Here are some polls quoted today by The Washington Post:
- His average approval rating is lower than his disapproval rating, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
- A new CNN poll showed 53 percent disapproved of his travel ban executive order, vs. 47 percent who approved, A CBS News poll showed Americans disapprove of it 51-45. And Gallup showed 55-42 against.
- The Gallup poll showed Americans opposed his border wall, 60-38.
- Gallup also showed they oppose halting the Syrian refugee program 58-36.
- The CBS poll showed people believed banning refugees went against the founding principles of the United States, 57-35.
- A Quinnipiac poll last week showed people thought Trump would be a worse president than Barack Obama, 50-37.
- Polls have shown 7 in 10 would like more information on Trump’s finances and his tax returns.
There didn’t seem to be a poll on public acceptance of his lies. But I have to ask: Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Reince Pribus, Mike Pence, Charles Grassley, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, the entire Republican leadership in Washington, how much more of this can you take? How long can you defend this man and go home and look your constituents in the eye? How long can you look in the mirror and say, “I’m doing the Lord’s work.” Because that is what you say, isn’t it?
I venture to say that the Lord would not approve.