Ironically, Ronald Reagan first laced diplomatic negotiations with the Russian slogan “trust, but verify”. Now we turn to another entertainer-turned-President and apply the phrase to him.
Trump’s promises falter. His half-hearted avowal to divest himself of ethical entanglements falls by the wayside. His tax returns remain hidden. Vague rumors emerge that suggest his record of aberrant behavior persisted well past the locker-room stage. He denies Russian involvement in the hacking of the DNC for months but now concedes that they did.
Politifact’s Trump File shows that 84% of his statements were as follows:
Half True 15%
Mostly False 18%
Pants on Fire 18%
Trump’s total from half-truth downward: 84%
In case you want to compare, Politifact shows President Obama as follows:
Half True 27%
Mostly False 12%
Pants on Fire 2%
That puts Obama’s Half True to Pants on Fire percentage at: 43%.
Obama’s biggest percentage in the negative portion of the Politifact scale lies in the Half True category, whereas Trump’s largest percentage from Half True downward falls in the False category.
I’ve been talking to people all week about this. Are we in trouble? Is Armageddon upon us? Will Trump implode? Will Congress impeach him? Is Pence worse? I even had one fairly hilarious conversation with a moderately liberal Chicago friend in which we concluded that Pence’s stances on LGBT issues can be considered immoral but possibly not unethical. We took some desperate comfort in the distinction.
Sorrow washes over me when I contemplate the uncertainty I feel about the fate of our country. We’re trading a calm, composed man of measured responses for a shrill, shrieking self-absorbed megalomaniac. Our 44th president luxuriates in a long-term marriage and spent eight scandal-free years in the White House. Our 45th president-elect combats one controversy after another before he’s been sworn into office. He refuses to divest himself of interests which even some Republicans say raise ethical concerns. Rumors of his connections to Russia abound and his only response is a 140-character temper tantrum on Twitter and a petulant refusal to let CNN question him at his first news conference since winning the election.
With all this swarming on the horizon, what could possibly go wrong?