Sunday, March 3, 2019

At Their Word

It was quite a week for trust, because, as you know, it's a matter of trust (and just who is that handsome fellow in the Brooks Brothers' suit at 00:32?).

This is the week where Michael Cohen asked us to believe what he had to say about Donald Trump, and Donald Trump asked us to believe that he believes Kim Jong-un at his word, and that we should too.

I'm guessing that you already know who I think is believable and who is not.

For those of us who have spent a good part of our adult lives being subjected to Donald Trump's exaggerations, lies, misdirections, bankruptcies, and social habits, Mr. Cohen seems awfully believable. There is no doubt that Trump had affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougall and there is no doubt that he used both the National Enquirer and Mr. Cohen to suppress and pay them off in the run-up to the 2016 election. It's also fairly clear that the president has something massive to hide on his tax returns and campaign finance paperwork, and there's already hard evidence to show that he had a direct role in ordering campaign and government officials to lie for him and to work around protocols and ethics laws for his own gain.

But what really cemented his shoes was when he picked out one lonely fact about Cohen's testimony: that Cohen said that he had not seen evidence that Trump had worked with the Russians on the 2016 election. Trump gave away the store with that comment, essentially saying that Cohen told the truth about one thing, but lied about everything else. Improbable at best.

And not only that, none other than Chris Christie, and golly does it pain me to cite Chris Christie, said last week that the Mueller investigation is likely the least of the president's problems. Trump should be focusing more on the Southern District of New York's investigations into his business practices because it's not subject to any federal oversight, a statute of limitations, and virtually no limitation on what it can investigate or subpoena.

Remember when it looked like Hillary Clinton was going to be elected president and the Republicans promised to investigate her every day she was in office? No? Then it's a good thing I just reminded you because the hypocrisy is thick and steaming at the GOP lunch buffet. Now that the cement shoes are on the other feet, it's amusing to hear the right wing complain about witch hunts. In all likelihood, there would still be eight Supreme Court Justices if she had won. You win, you get to investigate. You investigate, you find stuff.

Which brings us to the president's love and respect for all things dictatorial, whether it's Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Rodrigo Duterte or others. Last week's winner was Kim Jong-un, who received the I Believe Him Because He Told Me It Was True Award from Trump over the case of Otto Warmbier. I'm not sure whether it's because Trump wants others to implicitly believe him when he tells whoppers or that he wants to be liked or some other pathology, but saying these things is not helpful for the United States nor does it make us in any way a better country.

After all, this is a president who trafficked in conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama, denies climate science, and can't come to terms with the fact that he's just not as popular as he thinks he is as measured by his inauguration crowds and popular vote total. Plus, Trump was the one who asked Michael Cohen to do all of those wonderful deeds and then praised his loyalty.

Seems like an easy choice to me.

For more, go to or Twitter @rigrundfest

No comments:

Post a Comment