Archive for Monday, May 15, 2017

Opinion: 3 U.S. presidents and the truth

May 15, 2017

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There have been three memorable American presidents, the story goes. President George Washington could never tell a lie. President Richard Nixon could never tell the truth. And President Donald Trump cannot tell the difference. At a White House news conference, Trump referred to his November 2016 victory, in which he received 304 electoral votes, as “the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan,’’ who was re-elected in 1984. Wrong. After Reagan and before Trump, Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama each won many more electoral votes than did Trump. When NBC’s Peter Alexander pointed out Trump’s misstatement to him, the president responded: “I don’t know. I was given that information. Actually, I’ve seen that information around.’’

The changing explanations for President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey — in a way calculated to publicly and personally humiliate the director through his learning about his termination over cable TV news while he was in Los Angeles thanking FBI employees — remind us again of the president’s only intermittent flirtations with candor.

The earnest and nonthreatening vice president, Mike Pence, assured the nation: “Let me be very clear that the president’s decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general (Rod Rosenstein, in case you forgot) and the attorney general to remove Director Comey ... was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interest of the American people and to ensuring that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people of this nation.’’ In less measured prose, this had also been the rationale for the president’s sacking of Comey offered by a succession of White House spokespeople.

Pence might want to first check the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which asked voters their positive or negative feelings toward a number of well-known individuals and institutions. Pence’s favorite House speaker, Paul Ryan, was low man. Ryan’s negative score was 18 percentage points higher than his positive score. The Republican Party’s negative score was 16 points higher. And Trump himself had a negative score that was 11 points higher than his positive score. Justice Neil Gorsuch, the National Rifle Association, Obama and Planned Parenthood all received net positive scores. But at the top of the list, with a net positive-over-negative rating of 29 percentage points, was the “beleaguered’’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The official White House-VP explanations were exposed as untrue. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein complained to White House counsel Don McGahn, insisting that the White House-Pence statements were misleading and wrong. Rosenstein claimed that Trump had on Monday asked him for his Tuesday letter on Comey’s performance and that Rosenstein had never explicitly called for Comey’s dismissal. But Rosenstein, a career federal prosecutor who was previously respected by both Democrats and Republicans, had been used to mislead the press and the public on why Comey was fired. Question: Can we think of one individual whose reputation for personal and professional integrity has not been sullied or diminished by that individual’s close identification with the Trump White House?

But never mind. President Trump told NBC News, “Regardless of (the deputy attorney general’s) recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.’’ He said Comey was guilty of being a “showboat’’ and a “grandstander.’’ Being called a showboat by the narcissist in the Oval Office is like being called ugly by a frog.

The credibility of and public confidence in this White House and its elected occupant are being depleted almost daily. Does Donald Trump have the courage or the self-confidence that President Gerald Ford did in October 1974 when he became the first U.S. president since Abraham Lincoln to voluntarily testify before Congress in defending his pardon of the disgraced Richard Nixon? For this presidency, time is short and the challenge is grave.

— Mark Shields is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.

Comments

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

Ah, another hit piece by a member of the Hive. Mark must have been bored, and couldn't think of anything original!

Mark still can't get over the election result, claiming an insignificant stat of who got more votes...Get over it Mark, Hillary ran a terrible campaign and rightfully lost. She ran on a 3rd term for Obama and lost partly because of it. The firing of Comey is perfectly within the discretion of the President, no reasons need to be given. Get over it.

And Mark quotes from the same pollsters that said Hillary was going to win. So we should believe the bias in these polls?

Mark, at one time, years ago, I thought you offered substantive commentary. Now you just follow the dictates of the Hive. Too bad, you had such a nice career until now.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

I forgot to mention how ludicrous the coverage has gotten by media members of the Hive.

CNN & Time magazine railed at the fact that at a dinner with the President, the media only got 1 scoop of ice cream with their chocolate pie while the President got 2. : >))

Here are some quotes:

In a segment titled, “Two scoops for Trump,” CNN’s Jeanne Moos talks about Trump’s “executive privilege” for receiving two scoops of ice cream while the three TIME magazine correspondents he had dinner with only got one.

The TIME magazine correspondents made sure to take note of the disparity between the food given to the president and the food they were served in a profile called “Donald Trump After Hours,” the profile the segment was based on.

“At the dessert course, he gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie, instead of the single scoop for everyone else,” TIME’s Michael Scherer and Zeke Miller wrote.

“With the salad course, Trump is served what appears to be Thousand Island dressing instead of the creamy vinaigrette for his guests,” they added.

This shows how self-centered the Hive is when they are concerned with how much & the type of food they are served. The selfish media complain while the peoples of countries like Burundi, Eritrea, Comoros, Timor Leste, Sudan, Chad, Yemen, Ethiopia, Madagascar, & Zambia have upwards of 70% of their populations are under nourished.

The hatred the Hive has for the President, ignores the real problems in the world, just so they can childishly pursue their own selfish self interests!

Phillip Chappuie 2 months, 1 week ago

I thought it to be a good piece. I too am dismayed at the conduct for the 45th POTUS. His flip flopping and excuse changing behavior is dizzying. Like the Comey thing. He is all over the map and each day brings a new reason or excuse.

What any of that has to do with Hillary Clinton at this point is beyond me. I know that true conservative relish the past but really. That horse is very dead. And given the size of 45's posterior, no doubt he is a two scoop kind of guy.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan." = biggest lie by a President in this century.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

Phillip, he isn't flip flopping on excuses. There are just so many. For instance, Comey's insubordination, allowing evidence to be destroyed, unnecessarily granting immunity, inaccuracies in testimony before congress, to mention a few.

The important point is President Trump knows the whole story so we don't know all the reasons for firing Comey. If you are objective vs biased you might consider each new "excuse" as another revelation.

The bottom line is President Trump does not need an excuse to fire anyone.

If you don't know what this has to do with Hillary, you are out of touch. Every reason I gave above is how Comey messed up Hillary's investigation.

Mark Sheilds needlessly mentioned Hillary in his letter above.

As I have mentioned many times before those who just provide "personal attacks" really don't have anything constructive to add to the discussion.

Paul Beyer 2 months, 1 week ago

Seems some people have a real problem with any factual media story. After all m every word spoken by their "god" is the absolute truth. Not to mention that any and every thing he does must never be questioned.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

And I forgot one of the most egregious mistakes Comey made. He did not record or take notes during the interview with whom he granted immunity, and Comey didn't even bother to attend those critical interviews.

The left wanted Comey fired before Trump fired him. After he was fired the left didn't want Comey fired.

Talk about Flip Flopping!

The left fakes indignation at Comey's firing because of the Russian investigation.

If the left really wants to persecute Trump over Russia they out to think again about not wanting Comey fired, given how he royally messed up the Clinton investigation.

The Hive thinking is too monolithic...no thinking beyond the establishment line.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

Paul you need to read & watch something besides the liberal media & blogs.

The conservative media & blogs challenge President Trump all the time. It's just done with constructive commentary. Not assassination language like we find in the liberal Hive media & blogs.

Paul Beyer 2 months, 1 week ago

Define liberal hive media as something other than anything you and the alt-right trump lovers don't agree with. And I don;t watch fox, breitbart nor listen to right wing am nutcases..

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

Paul let me help you out. A dictionary could have helped. Not listening to alternative sources of media limits your view, thus your ability to have & form more balanced opinions. Too bad, your loss.

The Hive is just that, a single purpose & acting people. No originality in thinking & deed. Everyone follows the line of the alt-left media. That media sets the agenda. That's where the talking points come from. One can catch a left leaning media source, scan the headlines or listen briefly to the news & bingo, you know what to hear the rest of the day.

Just no originality in thinking & discussion, no alternative perspective or analysis.

Michael Kort 2 months, 1 week ago

Unfortunately, Trump couldn't or wouldn't tell the truth if it was easy and painless to do so .

He just enjoys lying and projecting his frailties onto others.....Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary, Crooked Clinton Foundation, The Fake News Media .

He is condemned most greatly by his own mouth and he hasn't got the sense to quit tweeting or to tell the same lie twice ( he constantly backtracks )

When is Hillary going to jail, when is Mexico paying for that "dream wall" and when will the Chinese remember their currencies "place" in Trumps imagination ? ? ?.......as if the rest of the world couldn't or wouldn't drop the dollar in the future as its' reserve business currency,.........which would be a financial disaster for us ? ? ?

He is a business genius......at conning people.......but that only works so far with the dull witted who buy into his empty promisses one after the other .

World leaders are not as impressed with his tweets and lies as they have seen that before and are fast learners .

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

Rush Limbaugh (the creator of the liberal hive nonsense that you puppet) is not "alternative sources of media. He has figured out how to make money, lots of it. Well, a lot less now that people have caught on to his lies, and tired of his hatred of our country. It's funny how the conservatives start blaming their "enemies" of what they are doing.

What party did most of Kobach's voter frauds belong to? Oh yeah, Republican. How many of the men who went after Clinton for adultery were doing the same thing? The Clinton foundation was accused of all kinds of things, but it was Trump's foundation that was ripping off people. Republicans look down on public schools, but who had a fake university and how many charter school for profit companies have taken the tax money and ran, closing the schools and leaving the kids high and dry. They claim that liberals are anti-life and they are nobly pro-life, because we support women's choice, yet they also consider health care of those babies to be a privilege only for those with money. They don't think they should have to pay for a baby's heart surgery. And feed and educate them? No way. Then there is the talking out both sides of your mouth. Republicans are claiming that Democrats are fighting amongst themselves, and that's why Clinton lost, but then we have a hive mind? I don't think you can have it both ways. Which is it?

Every time I see a theme with the David and his buddies, I look up Rush or Britfart and, yep, the are mimicking their "leaders". So David accuses us of a hive mind, even though he mimics his "alternative" sources, who have lied many times in the past. it's his party that requires loyalty oaths.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

My my Dorothy you must be out of Prozac & Zantac...your all wound up.

That's way to much emotional explosion for one person.

Sorry Dorothy I don't listen to Rush. I'm usually busy during the day.

You make way to many inaccurate stereotypical assumptions about people.

You definetly fit the Hive profile. Nothing constructive to say. You just blurt out talking points & venum.

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