The Art of Deception
It’s time to stop laughing at 'Donald Trump' and start treating President Trump
as the threat to Democracy that he is.
Since the moment Donald Trump rode down an escalator to announce his candidacy for President, he has been easy fodder for comedians: the obvious spray tan, the over coiffed hair, the incredibly thin skin, the childish retorts and name calling, the inability to admit error, and the constant references to his self-perceived superiority and “very large a-brain”. The jokes just write themselves.
The problem is that laughing at his buffoonery minimizes the very real threat to the constitutional rule of law his actions are having. The time has come for all Americans to put aside what Donald Trump, the media hound celebrity, says and start holding President Trump accountable for what he is doing.
An obvious example of this dichotomy is the difference between President Trump’s statements about the Mueller Investigation (no contact with Russians, no obstruction) and the actual results of the investigation (over 100 instances of meetings with Russians, and ten instances of obstruction).
As a communicator, President Trump is very adept in two strategic areas:
1. Understanding the path to getting away with something is to bury it in a constant, apathy inducing, barrage of potential impropriety. Each day sees political pundits dissecting President Trump’s latest outburst, to determine if it was illegal or simply unconventional. Regardless the outcome, the conversation itself is enough to move people’s focus away from the real scandal that took place the week before.
2. Understanding the surest way to obtain power over a crowd is in telling an audience not what you believe, but in exactly what they want to hear. In 2016, candidate Trump said he “didn’t like the ‘lock her up!’” chant he heard from the audience. “Let’s just beat her in November” he initially replied. But when that response failed to ignite the crowd, he decided to repeat their “lock her up!”, the now infamous chant that continues to be heard at all of his events, even three years after the election. (1)
In the last seven days, the nation has heard a plethora of under-oath testimony and seen documentation directly linking President Trump and numerous top officials to the withholding of congressional approved aid until a specific foreign head of state publicly announced an investigation into President Trump’s political rival.
In response, the Republicans defense has run the gamut from Devin Nunes’ “nothing to see here”, to Lindsey Graham’s “they’re too incompetent to have pulled off a quid pro quo”, to Jim Jordan’s “Ukraine got the money” (so at best it’s attempted bribery and that’s not impeachable).
And while President Trump continues to say he has done nothing wrong, (the call was perfect, his is the most transparent administration in history), he has undertaken two actions in direct conflict with his assertions of innocence:
1. President Trump has actively blocked any person from his administration, past or present, from testifying in the impeachment process or from co-operating by refusing to turn over requested documents to Congress.
2. President Trump has been actively engaged in what can only be described as jury tampering. He’s had private dinners with Republican senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, both of whom have been openly critical of him in the past. And, with senators who are facing a tough re-election, he’s using cold, hard cash: a recent fundraising campaign clearly stated that all donations would be divided between the president and three Republican Senators: Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina; all of whom are openly against President Trump’s impeachment. Additionally, President Trump has also hosted a $100,000 per ticket fundraiser for Georgia Senator David Purdue.(2)
There are no Republican facts or Democrat facts; there are only facts and fictions. The appearance of impropriety is not itself evidence of illegality. Does Hunter Biden’s position on the Board of Directors of a foreign company in which he has no expertise look bad? Yes. Does Ivanka Trump’s receipt of 16 trademarks from China, including one for voting machines, look bad? (3) Yes. Does the spending of $100k by the Republican National Committee for the purchase of Donald Trump Jr’s new book to ensure its place atop the New York Times bestseller list look bad? (4) Yes. But are any of these clear evidences of wrongdoing? No.
The issue of impeachment must be a vote on the actions of the President of the United States, not the actions of Donald Trump, private citizen and star of the tv show “The Apprentice”. President Nixon resigned because he realized public opinion had moved toward the belief his actions were self-serving (the campaign office break in to find dirt on his political rival) and counter to the what they demanded in their President. President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath, an action deemed inexcusable in a President.
Every American would do well to remember the words of President Theodore Roosevelt “patriotism means to stand by the country; it does not mean stand by the President” as we ask ourselves one simple question: “after examining the evidence, would I vote this way if the President were a member of a party other than the one they are registered to?”
I urge you to think about it before you answer; because the future of this democracy depends on your decision.
For more on the Constitutional definition of bribery - https://www.lawfareblog.com/bad-arguments-trump-didnt-commit-bribery