Not Sure Anyone Was Convinced
Did you miss Trump’s Town Hall, the one sponsored by ABC? If so, not to worry. You didn’t miss a thing.
You know how some actors don’t act but simply perform, and the performance never varies. What they are in one production, they are in another. Well, that’s what we got in Trump’s Town Hall last night.
The difference is with actors, you know it’s not real so there’s entertainment value. With the President, it worries.
Accept in this case, his performance was reassuring. If his intention was to win a few votes by presenting a different version of Trump, it didn’t work. The performance was too predictable to change voter sentiment.
I admit, there were a few fleeting moments when he seemed to affect a bit of concern, but they didn’t last long. He quickly reverted to his usual mannerisms: dismissal, deflection, condescend, talk past and talk over anyone sharing significant facts.
And there was nothing new. He repeated the same narratives with a few new twists sprinkled, of course, with how great he is and how many people endorse him. If it wasn’t for misinformation and self-flattery he’d have nothing to say at all.
His performance demonstrated no significant change and that’s both good and bad. It’s good because I can’t see how any undecideds were drawn in. It’s bad because if he wins, we can expect the same chaos in the next four years. If anything, we can expect it to get worse. There won’t be another reelection to induce moderation.
I agree. All politicians lie. And to a point, that is understandable. It’s impossible to answer general questions about policies with full disclosure. It’s like trying to explain why the sun shines to a two-year-old. Some details will be left out, others distorted. You can’t give a short answer to what is a sunspot without expecting an endless number of why’s.
Trump, however, takes lying to an all-new level. He’s bald-faced. There’s no holding back. It’s automatic.
Of course, we know that. It happens so frequently it’s become the norm. Whatever fact reaches public attention is mitigated, not with adjustment, but with a complete rewrite.
I’ll share a few facts but before I do, I need to ask – how is it so many people can trust and defend a man who contorts the truth with such abandon? This is a character issue. Bad character can’t be counted on to make the best decisions at crucial moments. The only thing is in this case, the whole country will pay the price.
We expect five-year-olds to ignore good advice, barge into trouble, and throw tantrums. We expect more from the President.
Now for a few Trump sound bites.
- Everybody owns stocks.
That was Trump’s response when pressed on why the economic recovery was benefiting mostly wealthy Americans who invest in stocks. His response wasn’t an answer but it was typical Trump. Dismissal. Don’t bother answering the question, just lie, ignore, redirect.
The truth is only about half of all Americans participate directly in the stock market and the ones who invest through retirement funds are woefully underprepared for retirement.
The complaint, by the way, is not that there are ultra-wealthy people or that those people are getting more wealthy. Personally, I think it’s great that wealth can be amassed!
No one disapproves.
May more individuals join the club.
The question is can the President introduce policies that stimulate the economy from the bottom up. It’s easy to feed the top but that approach, long term, is self-defeating. It’s like building up muscles in your right arm while ignoring the left.
- He claimed his reason for not readily supplying PPE and medical supplies during the beginning stages of the pandemic was the federal cupboards were bare when he took over.
Truth: The government stockpile of medicine and medical supplies contained $7 billion dollars worth of supplies and that included 16,000 ventilators.
- The President also claimed he did not downplay the seriousness of the pandemic. Instead he up-played it.
If you were watching the news at all, particularly the daily briefings, you know how much he downplayed the issue. But, watching or not, he told Bob Woodward he intentionally downplayed the virus to keep from causing panic. So, which is it? Downplay or up-play? There isn’t a Trumpism to overcome this contradiction.
At one point, when his downplaying didn’t work, he became sarcastic, suggesting we figure out how to inject disinfectant to kill the virus.
Making that statement publicly was not only irresponsibly dangerous – some listeners take his word as Gospel – but it also reveals something about Trump’s character. The virus frustrated his plans and there was nothing he could do to avoid it. He played it down, deflected, avoided taking effective action and expressed disgust to anyone questioning his responses.
It’s revealing really. Like any ten-year-old, Trump cannot handle unexpected crises. That raises an important question.
Can the person in the Oval Office manage unexpected crises with patients and deliberation? If not, we’re all in trouble.
Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report says it best. “This is a president who hasn’t adjusted to the fact that 2020 isn’t the year he wanted it to be.”
- Trump claimed there would have been 2 million deaths if he hadn’t handled the pandemic so well.
The exact words he used to describe his response to the pandemic: very, very good job. I’m not sure about his reasoning. If he did so well, we should have comparatively low infection and death rates. Instead, we’re the highest in the world in both categories.
- Trump claimed he was way ahead with closings during the pandemic.
Truth: Projections at the end of January were threateningly bad but in spite of that, it wasn’t till March that States began issuing social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Even then Trump was resisting the efforts. Still today, he doesn’t wear a mask and only recently has any of his aides mentioned masks in a positive light.
Even as I write this post, Trump is rebuking the C.D.C. chief for highlighting the preventive use of masks. It never ends.
Just so you know, the bulk of the scientific community agree that masks are the number one means of preventing infections. They even suggest masks are better than a vaccine.
- He erroneously claimed that crime was up 100 to 150 percent in New York City.
Truth: Crime has actually decreased by 2%.
This is, however, a great example of his tendency to make outlandish and overly exaggerated claims on the spur of the moment because it suits his purposes.
- Trump claimed the ten most unsafe cities are run by Democrats.
Truth: Three-fourths of all major cities are run by Democrats and crime is always higher in metropolitan as opposed to rural areas.
- Trump took credit for sending the National Guard into Minneapolis.
Truth: It was the Governor of Minnesota who activated the States National Guard.
- He claimed that South Koreans loved him.
Truth: His recent approval rating in South Korean was 17%.
- When asked about racial issues, Trump said, “I hope there’s not a race problem.”
Please! On what planet is he living?
The only positive takeaway from his response is he has backed off from slinging slurs and accusations at high profile African Americans who speak out on injustice. That is progress but it’s not enough to make me change my vote.
There are many more points to be made but by now you get the point.
See you at the polls!