President Pinocchio

The latest Gallup survey shows Trump’s approval rating among all voters has dropped to 37% and among Jewish voters it is down to 31%.

By
March 22, 2017 21:56
4 minute read.
Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump gestures as he leaves the podium after a news conference at the White House in Washington, US, February 16, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

President Donald Trump has a “yuge” problem with the truth, and it’s growing by the day. What’s left of the president’s shrinking credibility was eviscerated Monday morning when the heads of the FBI and NSA said they could not find a shred of evidence that president Barack Obama or anyone else had ordered Trump’s phones (or his microwave oven) at Trump Tower tapped.

What’s more, NSA director Adm. Mike Rogers, whom Trump had once tried to recruit for his administration, debunked attempts by Trump and his press secretary to lay the blame for the fictitious wiretaps on the British. That clumsy ploy, which Trump tried to blame on his friends at Fox News, damaged relations with America’s closest ally, Rogers testified.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,” FBI director James B. Comey told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, noting he was also speaking for the Justice Department. Rogers agreed. Comey pointed out that no president can unilaterally order a wiretap.

Comey also confirmed that the FBI has been investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia since last July.

Both officials confirmed that there is no evidence that Russia actually tampered with any voting machines, but that there is no question Moscow hacked into the records of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton.

Their testimony under oath came at a hearing demanded by Trump when the truth of his March 4 tweets was challenged. He has consistently refused to provide any evidence to back up his accusations, clearly because he has none.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the Trump-Russia investigation “is as big – if not bigger than Watergate.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Senate Democratic leader, said Trump “needs to retract his claim [about Obama] immediately.”

It’s not just the FBI, NSA and Democrats calling Trump a liar; some of the most damning words came from his fellow Republicans. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the Republican chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees and senators Tom Cotton (Arkansas) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) all said they weren’t buying the wiretap story. Even his friend and attorney-general Jeff Sessions said he has seen nothing to substantiate Trump’s accusations. Vice President Mike Pence would not defend Trump, either.

Congressmen Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Will Hurd of Texas called on Trump to apologize to Obama for his false charges.

But that won’t happen. Trump closely follows the advice of his mentor, the late Roy Cohn, which Cohn got from his mentor, Sen. Joseph McCarthy: never apologize, never back down, never admit you were wrong.

No Republican leader has come to Trump’s defense. That could be because neither the president nor his aides have provided a single shred of evidence to support his charges.

Trump claimed in his Tweet that he had put quote marks around “wiretapping” but in fact he had not in the first couple of Tweets. Nearly two weeks later he tried to claim the quotations marks “really covers surveillance and many other things.”

Sean Spicer, Trump’s abrasive and ineffective press secretary, in a nearly 10-minute diatribe at last Thursday’s briefing quoted a Fox News commentator, Andrew Napolitano, saying Obama used British intelligence to spy on Trump. Outraged officials of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters “quickly and vehemently” denied the accusations as “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous,” The New York Times reported.

Fox News disavowed its own commentator’s charges about the Brits.

This isn’t the first – nor will it be the last – of Trump’s lies. There’s the size of the crowd and the weather at the presidential inauguration; the size of his victory and charges that three million illegal aliens voted for his opponent; his comments on terrorism in Sweden, the murder rate in the US, his support for the Iraq war, and, most notorious, his birther campaign against Obama. Go to Politifact. com for a comprehensive list.

The latest Gallup survey shows Trump’s approval rating among all voters has dropped to 37% and among Jewish voters it is down to 31%.

That probably reflects that he was slow to condemn the wave of antisemitism, failed to mention Jews in his Holocaust Remembrance statement and appointed Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, a man who has been accused of making antisemitic statements, Gallup said.

Obama, by comparison, had a Jewish approval rating of 65% in the final year of his administration.

Tony Blinken, deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, called Trump “the leading consumer and purveyor of fake news.” Richard Haass, a top State Department official in the George W. Bush administration, said, “He devalues the most valuable currency any president has – his credibility. It diminishes the president and those around him.”

And that’s not just an embarrassment for the nation; it is already undercutting America’s relationship with its allies and its role in world affairs, including in the critical Middle East, and undermining still further faith in an American government that seems to be plunging toward new lows.


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