In 2000, Daniel Patrick Moynihan passed away, having been a remarkably intelligent four-term U.S. Senator from New York. Colorful and witty, he had friends on both sides of the political aisle. Journalists loved him because of his memorable quotes, including, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Clearly, Moynihan would have had issues with the Trump administration.
But first, after last week’s “Days of Whine and Ruses,” I received critical emails and trolling on Facebook and Twitter saying Donald Trump deserves a “presidential honeymoon.” Ironically, many in the GOP demanded it started criticizing Obama the day after he was elected. (Forget honeymoon, they wanted to annul the marriage.)
In fact, Senator Mitch McConnell said in December, 2008, he’d do everything to see Obama was a one-term president, adding the GOP would not cooperate in any of Obama’s programs. In 2012, however, Obama beat Romney by 5 million votes. (Yet Trump actually called for a recount!)
So, McConnell failed in one objective. But, since the GOP was obstructionist for the entire eight years of Obama’s presidency, including shutting down the government, they kept true to their word.
Given Trump is the first president to have been married three times (five children with three different women) he’s very familiar with honeymoons. But, since he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million and given the massive nationwide anti-Trump protests, a honeymoon from the people seems unlikely. Especially given Trump’s lack of grace.
“Grace” is not one of Trump’s long suits. (Being loud is but not being graceful.) For example, after winning the Indiana GOP primary that put him over the top as the presumptive nominee, Trump chose not to do what most victorious candidates always do. Instead of reaching out to his rivals, asking them to join him in unity to win the general election, Trump used the occasion to suggest that Ted Cruz’s father helped Oswald kill JFK. Say what?
Trump produced a photo from the National Enquirer of Cruz’s father and Oswald and seemed to infer it was the morning of the assassination when, in fact it was taken months earlier. And, typically Trump, there’s not a shred of evidence of a conspiracy between Cruz Sr. and Oswald. But does Trump care? Hardly.
And Trump’s Inaugural also wasn’t exactly graceful. He described a dystopian America full of carnage, crime, decay and blood in the streets. It wasn’t exactly inspiring like JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you.”
Whereas JFK’s Inaugural, which is on YouTube, is magnificent prose, Trump’s, which I’m trying to erase from my brain, was 16 minutes of doom and gloom. (I have to admit Trump has united some groups, as the KKK, the Nazi Party and White Supremacists haven’t been this happy since reconstruction.)
And Trump’s first week in office was anything but graceful. His Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, began by declaring a war on the media. (Of course NOT Fox.) The issue? The size of the crowd that attended the Inaugural. Who cares? But Spicer gave “facts” that were so clearly false that Kellyanne Conway, a Trump senior adviser, later defended them as “alternative facts,” as if that made them okay. It’s ludicrous.
Trump clearly can’t stand that he lost the popular vote. As a result, he sticks to his completely unsubstantiated claim that 3 to 5 million illegals voted for Hillary. Beyond ludicrous, recklessly alleging widespread voter fraud, is harmful to the nation. Note to Trump: Put up or shut up!
Outrageous claims are not new to Trump. Remember his claims “tens of thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered on 9/11?” Except there was no news video and both Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, who would know, said it never happened.
Or what about Trump’s claim he sent private detectives to Hawaii to bolster his birther claim. “What they’ve discovered is amazing!” How come we never saw that “report”? Because he never sent detectives! The truth clearly doesn’t faze Trump.
And here’s another “alternative fact” that should faze all of us, the infamous IRS audit. For over a year I’ve theorized there never was an audit. If there had been, why not show the audit letter. (I knew Trump was lying because his lips were moving.)
But on ABC’s “This Week” Conway made it clear Trump won’t release his tax returns because “No one cares.” Really? A Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed 74% of the country wants to see the returns, including 53% of Republicans. We must see them to discover what business conflicts Trump may have as president and even clues to Russia’s outrageous interference in our election!
It appears that for the next four years (hopefully less) we better get used to Trump’s “alternate facts.” Poor Daniel Moynihan must be spinning in his grave.
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org.