The Journal Gazette
Sunday, August 11, 2019 1:00 am

Truth of Trump hardly fake news

Stacey Herbst

Props to Byron Thompson in his Aug. 1 op-ed piece (”Self-inflicted wounds”) for his attempt to explain and justify Donald Trump's constant mantra “fake news.” Sadly, as with anything to do with Donald Trump, the blame must lie with anyone but the man himself.

Would Mr. Thompson turn off Fox News or talk radio for a week or two and look any and everywhere else for what's going on in the world today, he would know the reason Trump must call all media fake news is because the truth, the multitude of truth, is so damning for him.

He kicked his condemnation into gear almost immediately when the press pointed out it simply isn't true that he had the biggest and best inauguration ever. He declared them fake news and sent his toadies out to insist the emperor's new digs looked great. To appease and flatter him, loyal supporters doctored photos to convey a bigger crowd. It's amazing what panoramic from the side can do.

But that was only the beginning of the chaos and tantrums. He tosses out tariffs and threats in tweets that have negatively affected markets across the spectrum. He likes to sport his “Trump loves farmers” hat, but in the end, he destroyed who they are.

Sure, he's giving them some tax bucks to weather the storm (the bulk of which is going to corporate farms, not the family farms), but he has also decimated the landscape. Those hard-won overseas markets the farmers planted for have moved on. And there is nothing to bring them back, as good will has been flushed down the toilet with everything else the world believed us to be.

Dan Coats, the last responsible adult in the Trump administration, finally threw in the towel. He is a statesman and a patriot, called to do a job that cannot function when the man in the White House is not only ignorant of the facts, but stands on the world stage with the worst examples of dictators in modern times and denigrates his own agencies, the ones that will truly protect us in the conflicts to come. Has the part of 9/11 that taught us the importance of always connecting the dots been so fully forgotten? Those dots are found and connected by the very people Trump works to diminish.

So now, the Trump administration consists of acting secretaries and directors. Vetting is nonexistent, few have a lick of experience or skill set and that's just fine, because Trump is running the presidency of the United States of America like every other business he's ever been involved with: Grab as much as you can for as long as you can and always leave someone else holding the bag. Not for the first time, that would be us!

He has racked up tens of millions of dollars playing golf all over the country and the world. The beauty for him is we pay the bulk of it to his properties, so most of that money goes directly in his pocket. He has the side piece of his hotel just down Pennsylvania Avenue, where those currying favor spend a bundle and then go over to the White House to hammer out details.

He's doing his best to open the lands dedicated for preservation, by Republican Teddy Roosevelt, so his buds can make a buck too. Mining, drilling and recreation are worth the loss of our last wilderness, and really, why should the masses just have it for free or tribal lands be respected?

Ironically, he's destroying the creation of another Republican, albeit Richard Nixon, by gutting the EPA, an agency formed when Nixon looked at what the lack of protection and regulation was wreaking on the environment. As someone who lived in Pittsburgh in the early '60s when the steel mills were going gangbusters, and a trip downtown sent you home covered with a light film head to toe, and then a few years later in Cleveland when the Cuyahoga River caught fire from debris dumped by the factories up and down the river, I assure you it wasn't a tough decision.

But all those rules and regulations are profit-hindering nuisances, so the EPA is just about toast. This is being repeated in every agency tasked with having this nation work for us all.

While Trump was implementing his business model, Robert Mueller, another responsible adult who has served this nation honorably for five decades, conducted an investigation into activities related to Trump's election and obstruction of justice. That investigation produced a 400-page report that most Americans have not and most likely will never read.

As William Barr has decided he is Trump's consigliere versus attorney general for the United States, he pumped out a four-page overview telling us there was really nothing to see here. This was repeated again and again by right-wing media that supports Trump and his sycophants, like Kellyanne Conway, until it seemed that was that.

In reality, there is so much to see. Mueller made this clear in his testimony to the House of Representatives, especially on obstruction of justice. Heck, you can run the tape and see Trump himself tell Lester Holt, “Yeah, I fired Comey because of the 'Russia thing.'”

So no, Mr. Thompson, Trump does not have the right to call the facts fake. He does not have the right to incite violence against the press at his rallies (that, by the way, he is stiffing cities across America with the cost of). None of this is normal, and it cannot stand.

Stacey Herbst, a 46-year resident of Fort Wayne, is the mother of three and grandmother of eight.

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