A report released this morning by Common Cause and Democracy 21 paints a blistering portrait of President Trump and his first year in the White House – all in his own words and/or actions.
“The Art of the Lie” compiles previously published Trump attacks on government integrity, transparency and accountability in 20 areas, reviewing a mountain of evidence that the president “is a nonstop, habitual, and compulsive liar.”
The president has gone to war against the Constitution and the government he’s supposed to be running, the report suggests. The release comes as Trump prepares for Tuesday night’s “State of the Union” address to Congress and the nation.
“Americans deserve a leader who is honest and who abides by high ethical standards and we the people have been let down by Donald Trump in our nation’s highest elected office,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn.
Trump’s first year has been marked by “a near daily barrage of news out of the White House that can be overwhelming and confusing to piece together – even though we all know that things are not normal,” Hobert Flynn said. “That is why we are releasing this report today – to serve as a resource for Americans to assess Trump’s destructive actions on matters of government integrity and accountability, and to examine some of the problems we’ll need to solve together to demand change.”
“President Trump lives in his own world, failing to distinguish between truths and lies,” said Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer. “In his first year, President Trump appears to be the biggest spreader of false, misleading and untrue information we have seen in national office. By repeatedly undermining our democratic norms and constitutional principles, President Trump has failed the American people.”
Among the highlights – or perhaps, lowlights – of the report:
- Trump made 2001 false or misleading claims during his first 355 days in office, an average of 5.6 per day, according to a review by The Washington Post.
- By his own admission, Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey after Comey and the bureau refused to drop what the president called “this Russia thing,” an investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible involvement in Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election.
- While casting himself as a friend of law enforcement, Trump has worked to undercut the rule of law. He has treated the attorney general as his personal lawyer, conducted personal interviews with prospective federal prosecutors who would have jurisdiction over cases involving his businesses, demanded personal loyalty from the FBI director, attacked our courts as “broken and unfair,” and asserted “an absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”
- The president has “waged an unprecedented war on press freedom,” attacked journalists as “enemies of the people,” arguably incited violence against reporters, threatened to sue newspapers and pull the broadcast licenses of networks whose stories displease him, and branded well-documented news stories as “fake news.”
- Trump fabricated claims that “millions of people… voted illegally in 2016,” and formed a commission (now shut down) to manufacture evidence that would back him up and push for new restrictions on voting rights.
- Trump is flouting the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which is supposed to bar him from personally profiting from his government service. He refused to divest himself of Trump Organization holdings around the world and his hotels and resorts now cater to visiting officials of foreign governments, as well as business people and Republican activists seeking to curry favor with the president. He put his daughter and son-in-law on the White House staff without requiring them to divest their extensive business holdings.
- The president and his Cabinet are systematically dismantling much of the federal government, leaving hundreds of positions unfilled. The Environmental Protection Agency, responsible for safeguarding our air and water, now has fewer employees than at any time since 1988, the last year of the Reagan administration.
- Trump has broken his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, bringing lobbyists into key positions in the administration to oversee industries in which they formerly were employed. He’s refused to release his tax returns and ended public access to White House visitor logs, depriving Americans of ways to keep watch on his actions and ensure that he’s serving public – not private – interests.
There’s much more – sadly – but you get the picture. It’s a testament to the wisdom of our founders in creating a government of checks and balances, and perhaps to our collective good luck, that the country has survived a full year of such stewardship. It likely will take as much vigilance as we can muster to get us through three more.
Office: Common Cause National
Tags: Executive Ethics