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THOMPSON: Why do Republicans put up with Trump's lies?

March 11, 2019 - 12:33 PM



I wonder if Donald Trump supporters could accept his curiously distant relationship with the truth…if they judged everyone else by the same fast-and-loose standard? Just as a reminder…Trump has told more than 9,000 lies as president of the United States. That’s almost a dozen every day.

Just to be clear…more often than not Trump’s lies are whoppers…not little white fibs…the kind you tell to spare someone’s feelings. Last week alone, for instance, he said just three percent of detained illegal immigrants ever “come back for a trial.” The truth: About 72 percent of all illegal immigrants show up for trials.

He claimed the U.S. trade deficit with China was $500 Billion…it is $336 Billion. In the next breath, he said the trade deficit with the rest of the world was $800 Billion…it is $553 Billion.
“Big deal,” Trump lovers might say. Right, what’s wrong with being off by 50 percent or so?

OK, let’s try it on real life situations for all of us. A teacher reports that your child cheated on a test. But there’s no evidence to support that accusation. No harm? Kind of like one of Trump’s meaningless lies…the crowd at my inauguration was the biggest ever.

But, let’s up the ante…make the outcome more serious. You go to a doctor, get a clean bill of health…but the doctor lied. You have a small tumour. WTF, maybe next year’s check-up will catch it.

The point is…truth matters. How many of Donald Trump’s 9,000 lies have been consequential? Who knows? But, remember…he’s president of the most powerful nation on earth. Trump has so desensitized his followers that I doubt they even recognize the truth.

So, why do Republicans support this liar? Some 80+ percent of them, in fact, approve of Trump. And while I revile some of his biggest supporters…you know, openly racist white supremacists, Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klaners…all groups whose ranks have swollen in the Trump era...I’m confused by otherwise decent people who wear MAGA hats.

Confused isn’t really precise…I’m dumbfounded. How can it be that Conservatives support Trump. It used to be that Conservatives stood for real things…like fiscal conservatism. But at the recent annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), when a speaker mentioned that the national debt increased by almost $2 Trillion under the Trump presidency…most attendees booed. Facts can be so inconvenient.

The Religious Right - led by Evangelicals - really like Trump. More than three-fourths - 76 percent - of this group are white, 11 percent are Hispanic and six percent are black. White Evangelicals overwhelming support Trump…about nine out of ten. While fewer than one in ten black Evangelicals support him…so, what do black Evangelicals get that white Evangelicals don’t?

The Religious Right cares mostly about two issues…placing Conservative judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and limiting immigration. Trump pounds these two points at every rally. Remember, too, that Trump salted his Cabinet with Evangelicals, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, to snare Evangelical votes in 2016.

Further, Trump played to the Religious Right by naming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there. This affirms the Bible for many in his base, and follows the book of Revelation, which talks about the end of times.

In many ways, Trump is a feral genius. He is a cunning, schemer who has never returned the trust, loyalty and respect he demands. He approaches his presidency much like a boss leads the mob.

Apparently, the few aforementioned things that drive the Religious Right’s zeal for Trump are more than enough for them to overlook his lies, his cheating, his racism, his misogyny, his corrupt nature. That is what dumbfounds.

The wheels of justice forever grind slowly, but they are grinding inexorably closer to proving that Trump has done a host of things that are not only unethical…they are illegal. Forget for a moment the mess with Russia and Trump’s love affairs with dictators in Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Turkey, and on and on.

What is going to be proven beyond any doubt - reasonable or otherwise - is that Trump has violated countless laws…bank fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy and more. I still think the Mueller probe will show he’s corrupt…but it will be the Department of Justice’s Southern District of New York investigation that shows Trump for the crook he is.

Meanwhile, Evangelicals and the Religious Right conveniently look the other way…and somehow justify their faith in this horrible excuse for a presidency. I wonder why these good folks don’t see that they are walking through life wearing a huge “Kick me” sign. Don’t they get it? Do you expect people you hope to influence…to convert to or accept Christianity…to follow you?

Truth matters…especially among those we allow to lead us. I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that lying is OK as long as you get the two or three things you want most. I don’t know, but Trump just doesn’t seem like the guy you follow….whether you follow God or not.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.

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