If there was any glimmer of hope that President Trump would be a better man than he was on the campaign trail, it died this week. Because in addition to remaining a compulsive liar and perpetuating his crooked financial dealings, Trump added traitor to his resumé. Here’s how.
The U.S. concludes Russia hacked the U.S. election, and Obama issues unprecedented sanctions.
On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a 13-page joint analysis report (JAR-16-20296), detailing “the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military Intelligence Services (RIS) to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election.” In short, the United States has officially stated, in writing, that Russia engaged in state-sponsored cyber attacks on the United States, with the express purpose of influencing the 2016 election.
President Obama immediately issued an executive order to levy an unprecedented diplomatic and economic response, including ejecting 35 Russian diplomats, closing two Russian compounds, (in NY and MD) sanctioning two Russian intelligence agencies (the FSB and GRU), four of their high-ranking officials, and three companies.
How true patriots respond to acts of aggression against the United States of America
Democrats have been calling for decisive action against Russia for weeks. But just to show that this isn’t a partisan issue, consider how some of the most prominent and powerful Republicans have reacted.
Responding to the new sanctions, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world. While today’s action by the administration is overdue, it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia.” (emphasis added)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “sanctions against the Russian intelligence services are a good initial step, however late in coming. As the next Congress reviews Russian actions against networks associated with the U.S. election, we must also work to ensure that any attack against the United States is met with an overwhelming response.” (emphasis added)
Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a joint statement that “The retaliatory measures announced by the Obama Administration today are long overdue. But ultimately, they are a small price for Russia to pay for its brazen attack on American democracy. We intend to lead the effort in the new Congress to impose stronger sanctions on Russia.”
It is hard not to call Trump a traitor over his response.
“I think we ought to get on with our lives,” he told reporters when asked by reporters last night about impending sanctions. A few hours after the sanctions were formally announced, Trump reiterated the same flaccid response, “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things.”
“Nevertheless,” he continued, “in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”
Wow. Don’t do us any favors, Mr. President-Elect. It’s not like this is an issue of national security. Oh wait, it is! This was cyber-espionnage by foreign powers, to meddle in our affairs of state. Russia’s actions threaten the sovereignty of our democratic process. And he tells us to “move on.”
So you tell us, is that how a patriot responds?
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
If only it stopped there. You see, Trump is a serial liar.
For the last six months, we’ve been following Trump’s insatiable need to lie. Back in July, we showed that Trump is one of the most dishonest people in current American politics. Based on the fact-checking of more than 340 statements by the Pulitzer-prize winning journalists at PolitiFact, 70% of Trump’s statements are false, if not flat-out lies. That’s seven out of every ten things he says.
But it doesn’t stop there. With more than double the number of pants-on-fire lies than any of the other 1,200+ people in their database, Trump is the biggest liar in American politics. And, he hasn’t stopped doing it since the election. The graph below shows his numbers of statements rated False and Pants-on-Fire over the last 18 months. The grey area is since the election. They both keep going up.
By the way, please compare Trump’s record with Hillary Clinton, who Trump relentlessly insisted was the biggest crook and liar in the world. That was one of Trump’s biggest and most audacious lies of all.
And Trump is a crook.
The number of ways Trump has ripped people off is so long, it’s painful. Here’s a cheat sheet, courtesy of The Atlantic. Some of the highlights include:
Trump has defrauded hundreds of American businesses and individuals out of billions of dollars, through scams, refusing to pay his bills, making business ventures that he was warned would fail, etc. He just paid $25,000,000 to settle class action suits against him for the Trump University scam. His charitable admitted to breaking the law in its tax filings by engaging in rampant “self-dealing.” He admitted to sexual assault. He destroyed evidence in lawsuits against him. He hired undocumented immigrants while lambasting the practice on the campaign trail. Trump is still waffling about disengaging from all his ventures and put everything in a blind trust, arguing that he is under no legal obligation to do so. The options he has proposed fail even the most lax of ethical standards, and still would allow him to make millions, if not billions, by manipulating global affairs to benefit his pocket.
Still not convinced that Trump is a traitor to the American people?
Consider the following tweet, which Trump released after knowing the U.S. was going to sanction Russia.
My Administration will follow two simple rules: https://t.co/ZWk0j4H8Qy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2016
It is so telling that neither of these is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That is the President’s job. That is the job of everyone who works for him. Somehow, it seems Trump ignored that memo.
This is the biggest con of the century.
Writing in the New Yorker, Maria Konnikova discusses the psychology that explains the election. “The Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker,” she explains, “said that his theory is best called ‘political and intellectual tribalism.’ Like seeks like, and like affirms like—and people gravitate to the intellectually similar others, even when all of their actions should rightly set off alarm bells.”
Trump “won over pretty much the entire Republican Party, and all those who felt alienated from the left, by declaring himself to be opposed to the “establishment” and political correctness. And this all happened,” Dr. Pinker explains, “despite his obvious temperamental unsuitability for the responsibilities of the Presidency, his opposition to free trade and open borders (which should have, but did not, poison him with the libertarian right), his libertine and irreligious lifestyle (which should have, but did not, poison him with evangelicals), his sympathies with Putin’s Russia (which should have, but did not, poison him with patriots), and his hostility to American military and political alliances with democracies (which should have, but did not, poison him with neoconservatives).”
So there you have it. Total cognitive dissonance, which explains why many Americans still can’t you believe Trump is a liar, a crook, and a traitor. Can you?