The irresponsible Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a flawed Trumpcare “on day one” failed ‘bigly’ today.
The author of the art of the deal was unable to convince lawmakers and the American people of the merits of his campaign signature issue: Repeal and Replace Obamacare.
This defeat not only casts a shadow over Trump’s and Republicans’ ambitious agenda, but exposes another serious crack in this president’s already heavily damaged credibility.
This rather lengthy article looks at that credibility.
President Trump gave TIME Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer an exclusive interview on March 22 for a TIME “cover story about the way he has handled truth and falsehood in his career.”
TIME calls the interview, “on Truth and Falsehoods.”
Even before the interview was published the president’s credibility has been seriously and widely questioned.
A couple of days before the TIME interview was published, even the conservative Wall Street Journal wrote, “If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”
Thus, while the interview focused on Trump’s presidential campaign and his fortunately short stint as president, one would have thought that Trump would grasp at the interview as a golden opportunity to back off, or at best explain — perhaps even apologize for — his many lies, untruths, wild exaggerations and obfuscation.
Trump would have none of that. Instead, Trump doubled-down, tripled-down — even more — on his falsehoods while “[o]ther lies were refreshingly new,” or “updated.”
Much has been said and written about this stunning interview and most of it has not been very positive, to put it mildly.
TIME itself, in “When a President Can’t Be Taken at His Word,” makes the following observation: “The old adage that ‘a lie gets halfway around the world before Truth has a chance to get its pants on’ was true even before the invention of Twitter. But it has been given new relevance by an early-rising Chief Executive and his smartphone.”
TIME adds the following facts: “During the 2016 campaign, 70% of the Trump statements reviewed by PolitiFact were false, 4% were entirely true, 11% mostly true.”
Just the other day, the president gave an interview to Time magazine in which he either lied repeatedly or got almost everything wrong. The Post’s fact checkers, the overworked, bedraggled duo of Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, must have been carried out of The Post’s newsroom on stretchers. They enumerated 14 lies or mistakes in that single interview…
Cohen suggests that Trump’s highly contagious congenital lying has spread to many other in the White House working “in an atmosphere where truth is what the president says it is and lies are the corrections others offer.”
His colleague, Eugene Robinson put it more succinctly, “[Trump] even lies about his own lies.”
Referring to Trump calling himself “instinctual” in the TIME interview, Robinson suggests that the word Trump was really groping for was “untruthful”: “He lies incessantly, shamelessly, perhaps even pathologically, and his lying corrodes and dishonors our democracy.”
The full transcript of this incredible interview can be read in full here.
To save the reader time, confusion and frustration, I have collected and “strung together” some of the strangest, convoluted comments on wiretapping, surveillance, ‘leaking’ and Nunes and the New York Times (below)
For similar “instinctual” comments (i.e. lies) on “what’s happening last night in Sweden”; on Trump’s “‘I-am -a-soothsayer’ defense of his ridiculous claim that millions of people voted fraudulently in the election”; on Trump’s clairvoyance such as how he predicted Brexit, etc., please read Robinson’s excellent column here.
…just today I heard, just a little while ago, that Devin Nunes had a news conference, did you hear about this, where they have a lot of information on tapping. Did you hear about that?
When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes. Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance.
And today Nunes just had a news conference… But just had a news conference, and here it is one of those things.
Devin Nunes had a news conference…but they just had a news conference talking about surveillance. Now again, it is in quotes. That means surveillance and various other things. And the New York Times… took it the word wiretapping out of the title, but its first story in the front page of the paper was wiretapping…. Here, headline, for the front page of the New York Times, “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.” That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline…They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.
House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes told reporters, wow. Nunes said, so that means I’m right, Nunes said the surveillance appears to have been … incidental collection, that does not appear to have been related to concerns over Russia.
On front page of the New York Times, OK? It’s in the title of the front page. And I would like you to officially—I know you are going to write a bad article because you always do—[mention] wiretap data used in inquiry of Trump aides. OK. Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides. Ok? Can you possibly put that down? Front page, January 20th. Now in their second editions, they took it all down under the internet. They took that out. Ok
Well I don’t know where these wiretaps came from. They came from someplace. That is what they should find out. And you know the real story here is about the leakers. OK? You don’t write about that. But the real story here is, who released General Flynn’s name? Who released, who released my conversations with Australia, and who released my conversation with Mexico? To me, Michael, that’s the story, these leakers, they are disgusting. These are horrible people.
I’m just quoting the newspaper, just like I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano, I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap. Now he can now deny it, or whatever he is doing, you know. But I watched Bret Baier, and he used that term. I have a lot of respect for Judge Napolitano, and he said that three sources have told him things that would make me right. I don’t know where he has gone with it since then. But I’m quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.
Well should be, because that’s where the whole, who would think that you are speaking to the head of Mexico, the head of Australia, or General Flynn, who was, they are not supposed to release that. That is the most confidential stuff. Classified. That’s classified. You go to prison when you release stuff like that. And who would release that? The real story is, they have to work, intelligence has to work on finding out who are the leakers. Because you know what? When things get involved with North Korea and all the problems we have there, in the Middle East, I mean, that information cannot be leaked out, and it will be by this, this same, and these people were here in the Obama years, because he had plenty of leakers also. But intelligence has to find out, who are these people. Because the biggest story here is, who is leaking this classified information.
What did Trump have to say about his interview appearing on TIME?:
And then TIME magazine, which treats me horribly, but obviously I sell, I assume this is going to be a cover too, have I set the record? I guess, right? Covers, nobody’s had more covers.
And we haven’t even broached Trump’s accusation that Ted Cruz’s father was with Harvey Oswald; Trump’s claim that he has nothing to apologize for; Trump’s braggadocio about his election win and inauguration crowds; etc.
Finally, this is how Trump replied to a question about his credibility, should the president “have to announce to the country or to the world that some serious national security event has happened.”:
The country believes me. Hey. I went to Kentucky two nights ago, we had 25,000 people in a massive basketball arena. There wasn’t a seat, they had to send away people. I went to Tennessee four nights ago. We had a packed house, they had to send away thousands of people. You saw that, right. Did you see that?
To those who may claim that these snippets have been taken “out of context,” I challenge them, I beg of them, please try to put them in context.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.