March 12, 2017

Trump’s Alternative Truths


David Wingens ‘19


The book of Proverbs is full of witty one-liners for every occasion and President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent series of events was certainly no exception.
A line from Proverbs 17:7 encapsulates what many are thinking about the beginning of the Trump administration: “Eloquent words are not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler.”
This verse rings as true today as it did when King Solomon wrote it 3000 years ago, except that it seems that the line has been blurred. If President Trump does not want to be seen as  foolish, he cannot mislead his constituents to make sure his ego stays intact.
Trump did exactly this when he sent Press Secretary Sean Spicer to overtly lie to the press about the size of his crowds at the inauguration, claim that it was the biggest crowd to ever attend an inauguration and then proceed to refuse questions from the press.
Spicer told these “alternative facts” not to protect our national security or to ultimately benefit the American people, but because Trump does not like to lose and his ego was threatened by the millions of women around the country and the world overshadowing his crowd at inauguration, which was objectively smaller than the last two inauguration crowds and the nationwide Women’s March protest.
Trump’s first event on his first full day as president was a visit to the CIA, where he gave a short speech. In this short speech, which probably should have consisted of nothing more than praise for the intelligence community and a promise to support them, he managed to talk about many topics that had nothing to do with intelligence and seemed also to be lacking an identifiable focal point.
One of these topics was, once again, the crowd size at his inauguration. He said that it “looked like a million and a half people.” Perhaps he was not aware, but there are people who specialize in approximating crowd sizes and according to them, it was in the hundreds of thousands, not millions.
The lies, however, did not end at crowd size; he also blamed his feud with the intelligence community on the “crooked media”. He claimed that it was not real and was simply a creation of the media, despite the fact that he tweeted “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” and several other antagonistic tweets directed towards the CIA and broader intelligence community.
These first public words from the Trump administration are not promising. Already, they have told more “alternative facts” than real ones, which shows a deep disrespect for the American people, who deserve the truth and not a continuous stream of fabrications and exaggerations from the nation’s highest office.
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