Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump, during his first year as President has already left his distinct mark on American politics. He can take credit for some significant accomplishments which are expected to have long-term effects on the lives of all Americans. Among these is the recently-passed tax bill, the unusual number of his federal judges who have been confirmed – including that of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court – and the number of federal regulations which he has helped to roll back. But it’s the president’s personality and the way he interacts to situations and circumstances that distinguishes him from most other presidents. President Trump is combative by nature and therefore quick to retaliate verbally against people and institutions that oppose him – and is prone to make off-the-cuff remarks, even when speaking on the record. He even criticizes government agencies for which he is responsible and people whom he has appointed to his administration. This is the first president to use social media, like Twitter, extensively to communicate directly with people on all manner of issues.
Perhaps President Trump’s most controversial trait is the way in which he plays fast and loose with facts and appears at times to make little distinction between fact and fiction (or fantasy) – even though many of his statements are easily disproven. It is not uncommon for his closest advisors and surrogates to attempt to clarify something he has said, and at least one advisor has called some of his statements “alternate facts”. But the president always stands by his statements offering little or no clarification – and without apology. In 2015 Donald Trump won PolitFacts’ “Lie Of the Year” award for his falsehood and exaggerations during, most which were matters of public record. What follows is a summary of PolitiFacts’ statement about the award:
From “thousands and thousands” cheering in New Jersey on Sept. 11 to dubious accounts of his own record and words, Trump’s 2015 inaccurate statements exhibited range, boldness and a disregard for the truth. By December 2015, we had rated 76 percent of Trump’s claims Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. No other politician had clocked more falsehoods on our Truth-O-Meter, and our only real contenders for “Lie of the Year” were Trump’s. We rolled all them into one big trophy in 2015.
But, in my opinion, the most significant and controversial claim made by President Trump is that the Russians did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. He claims that the whole idea is a hoax and fake news – made up by the press and Democrats. Most Americans in and out of government, except his most loyal supporters, apparently disagree with him on this issue, and this has only made the president angrier and more combative as he tries discredit the Russian Meddling story. What apparently angers President Trump most is that the US intelligence agencies have concluded that not only did the Russians interfere in the 2016 election, but that they attempted to help him while damaging the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
The US intelligence agencies issued a report in January 2017 in which they described their findings and conclusions about Russian meddling in the US presidential election in 2016. The report depicts Russian interference as unprecedented in scale, saying that Moscow’s role represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort” beyond previous election-related espionage. The [Russian Hacking] campaign initially sought to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, “denigrate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and damage her expected presidency. But in time, Russia “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” and repeatedly sought to artificially boost his election chances.
As congressional investigations into Russian meddling began to get underway, President Trump became more strident in his denials of Russian meddling and began to overtly criticize anybody or any institution that disagreed with him. The criticism included attacks on all the Security agencies in his own administration. Eventually President Trump fired Jim Comey, the FBI Director and that led Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller to head up an independent investigation into the Russian meddling matter. The investigation was to include whether Trump’s presidential campaign had cooperated with the Russians in an effort to help Trump get elected. That action infuriated President Trump who began a campaign to discredit Mueller and his investigation. Lately, the president has been joined in his criticism by several members of congress who wish to discredit Mr. Mueller and close the investigation. Mr. Mueller, a ten-year veteran as FBI Director apparently is paying little attention to all this criticism, and his investigation has already obtained guilty pleas from two of Trump’s campaign advisors and indicted two others.
Here is a summary of PolitiFact’s reasons for awarding President Trump the “2017 Lie of the year” award.
“The record shows that credible evidence led the FBI to begin investigating possible ties between the Trump team and Russia in July 2016. That is the start of the story, more than three months before the election. The American intelligence community expressed with confidence that Russia aimed to interfere in the election to harm Clinton and help Trump. Democrats did not create the story, nor do they control the agenda of the House and Senate committees which are conducting their own investigations. – We rate this claim Pants on Fire.”
Click here to see the winners of Politifacts’ “Lie Of the Year” Award from 2009 through 2016. Note that Donald Trump was cited in the 2016 award, President Obama won the award in 2013 and Sarah Palin was cited in the 2009 award.
Click here to go to the PolitiFact web site.
This comment is by Ed White:
Bo, while I’m not a Trump fan, I have to admit he’s done more good in the first year of office than any others have in two terms. Many become media puppets, repeating what they hear, whether Fox or Main Stream, and just convey biased stories and points without really studying or understanding. Trump pointing this out of course angers them more, thus makes him more of a target. Trump is certainly not a media puppet, and is shaking up the politics of D.C., and while his character is questionable, his business savvy is paying off, and we are better off for it. Interesting days ahead.
This comment is by Bobill (Bill Weaver)
Ed, I notice that we had a discussion back in September, 2014, and my guess is – it was about the upcoming presidential election in November, that same year. You were a gentleman back then and apparently still are, and I appreciate your comments on the current post . However, in my opinion they are not directly responsive to the points that I attempt to make in my blog post. That’s okay, and I’ll attempt to respond to them anyway. Your first sentence is a strong endorsement of President Trump’s accomplishment, but as it stands it’s only an opinion, as you offer no specifics. It’s not self-evident to me that Trump has “done more good in the first year of office than any others have in two terms.” Second, I agree that some people are media puppets, if by that you mean that they appear to routinely react to news reports in a way that reflects their political beliefs. In my opinion that comes pretty close to describing how Donald Trump reacts to news reports that criticize him. Do you know anyone who is more reactionary than Donald Trump to what he calls “Fake News” reports?” If I’m not mistaken, Trump invented the “Fake News” phrase to describe any news that he doesn’t like. Finally, Trump has shaken up politics during his first year and I’ll be silent and leave it there. I agree that Trumps business savvy is paying off – for some; just take a close look at how much he’ll benefit from the tax plan that just passed.
This reply is by William Sykes
Ed White, I believe you are correct, people just need to give our President Trump time to clean up the mess in Washington which he has done very well so far, at least he has shook up things which was drastically needed to help our USA.
Comment by Philip Lord
BO you know me well… I believe the previous president set in motion a lot of things that should not have been done… I also believe the present one will get this country back in shape if he gets help… There should be 80% of the Republicans put on a slow boat to China and 90% of the Democrats should join them… If the two parties don’t work together, President Trump will take the lead and it might not be as good as it could be… There are members of both parties that need to get off their duffs and go to work… Didn’t see any proposals for a tax overhaul from the Democrats, but they talked down all that was being done…. If our congress and representatives don’t do their job, let them get on that boat to China… President Obama brought this country back in time at least 20 years…. Notice I called him President and not Mr.. like President Trump is called by the media??? He was my president whether I liked all or none of what he said or did…comment is by Philip Lord Did you think when you lived in T’boro that you would see the US looking like a third world country??? I sure didn’t..We have too many politicians that are making a career of just that and don’t give a flip about the US???. Enjoy the weekend… Happy New Year Bobill Weaver DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!
Comment by Bob Schmeelke
Scary times, well balanced piece
Philip, I hope you understand that I take my politics seriously and that I try to be honest and accurate in what I say or write. Before I reply to your comments here, I’ll point out that you do not mention this blog post, and I cannot discern whether you have read it. The original post was mostly about how President Trump handles facts and truth, and particularly about his claim that the Russians did not meddle in the 2016 presidential election. However, I do appreciate your reply and I will attempt to respond directly to your comments here. Furthermore, I hope that you’ll read my blog post and respond directly to some of my statements, most of which are based on President Trump’s statements – which are readily accessible to the public as video and audio recordings or on his Twitter feed. BTW, I hope you and Ann had a wonderful Christmas and that next year brings you much happiness.
Now, For My Responses to Your Comments.
I try not to paint things and events with a broad brush or in solid colors. I respect your opinions, but that’s what they are – opinions. Before I can agree or disagree on whether President Obama set in motion “things” that you believe should not have been done, I would need to know what those “things” are. Time will tell what PresidentTrump accomplishes, but before I can agree or disagree that he will likely get the country back in shape, I need to know what “back in shape” means to you. What’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. I certainly don’t like what he’s done so far.
Perhaps it would be good if “80 percent of Republicans” and “90 percent of Democrats” were kicked out of congress, but tell me how you would select the ones to go, and how can you be sure that their replacements would suit you? Also, most voters would likely say they agree on this, but elections don’t support that. The electorate sends incumbents back to congress in droves; how do you explain that and do you always vote against the incumbents?
I was unable to find information to confirm or refute your claim that the media has deal with President Trump differently and calls him Mr. Trump and not President Trump – so please help me out here and provide your references or examples?
This comment is my Thuy Dong
Important to keep your eyes and ears to this administration. Well done!
Comment by Doug Morris
Bill “enjoyed” your blog post. Primarily because I continued to read past the Trump post to NOAA, Lefty The Squirrel, etc. It certainly has been an unsettling year and has created fears for the future of our country. I caught the last 15 minutes of the Thomas Jefferson Hour on WHRO radio several days ago and I thought he gave a very hopeful, but stressful outlook for the country when he compared today’s times to the politics of the Jeffersonian era. Check it out if you get the chance.
Reply by Bobill
Thanks, Doug – glad you enjoy some of my posts; it’s my goal to post more blog articles in 2018 and hope you’ll check in on some of them. I listen to the TJH from time to time and enoy them. I found the #1266 episode on the internet that was aired on December 26; is that the one you refer to.
Mr. Sykes, thank you so much for your interesting and detailed comment (directed to Mr. White) which I have quoted below, which illustrates that you have an extraordinary grasp of the national political atmosphere. President Trump has “certainly shook up things” and may be shaking in his boots as he contemplates what could come out of Bob Mueller’s investigation.
Mr. Sykes’s original reply to Ed White
“Ed White, I believe you are correct, people just need to give our President Trump time to clean up the mess in Washington which he has done very well so far, at least he has shook up things which was drastically needed to help our USA.”
Truth has come out with regard to “fake” news and who they are. I am a 31 year military man, now retired and working as a Government Service employee for the Navy SEALS, working as a senior manpower, manning and budget officer. I can see and feel a difference, positive one, with Trump. While Trump is a sinner, I don’t judge him as I have my own sins to deal with. His sins, Hillary’s sins, Obama’s sins, and all politicians sins aside, he “is” making a difference, and media will twist and turn to paint a different picture because Trump has called them out. What I hear from Trump is he is a Christian, knows he is a sinner, and has asked for forgiveness, and with that I can relate. And, he is keeping Christ in the White House. Again, I’m not a media puppet, and don’t believe the stats they present. There are media stats that present skewed/biased findings and there are “true” stats that we can see and feel with the economy now on the rise, more jobs, veterans benefits, and the list goes on. So, I’m going to stay focused on what I see and feel coming from the White House, not what media presents.
Ed, I’m an army veteran (1952 – 1955) and a retired NASA engineer (Langley Research Center) – totally enjoying my retirement.
This looks like a full-throated endorsement of President Trump, whom you admit is a sinner, and offers a defense of his sinful ways based on the fact that he’s a Christian. In my opinion a Christian, or one who professes to be a Christian, should be judged more, not less harshly than one who is not a Christian. Having watched and listened to Donald Trump closely for the last three years, I find him pretty much devoid of Christian attributes, especially honesty and charity. My opinion is based on his public record (what he has said and done) during the presidential campaign and after he became president as it relates to my understanding of what Jesus taught. The last three sentences of your comment is the best defense of the president, and if the economy and other important factors make a strong turn for the better and if most people begin to have a good feeling about how things are going – as you apparently do, many people will overlook the president’s sins.
I will add that if there are fact sites, both liberal and conservative, they come with bias. I can give you facts without sharing all the facts to support an issue, which tend to skew truth. Both sides have used it, similar to recent posts from factcheck.org which only give one side of the story. It would be nice to get a media outlet and even fact checking organization that is unbiased, but I know that won’t happen. It’s obvious that main stream media is liberal and against Trump, and no matter what he does, they will fight it, right or wrong. Until the media biased is over, we will just have to see how the economy goes, how foreign relations pan out, and see if God is left in or out of our nation. We can’t continue voting God out of a Christian nation, which we are as Christian as we are English speakers, although neither are “official” religion and language. However, they originate from our founding fathers, and why our country has been so successful. I just can’t vote sin into law, vote God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, remove cross from public sites, remove God’s name from monuments, etc. as the Democratic party is doing, thus why I shifted to the Republican party. Again, I’m not a Trump fan based on his Tweet behavior, but know he is human, and maybe that’s what we need rather than a politician in the White House, along with a businessman.
If we were to start addressing public record of Hillary, her emails, Benghazi, Clinton Foundation, etc., it would bring us to the middle with regard to party and who’s a bigger sinner than the next. I can of course name many left and right politicians which you have to agree. So, it was hard to choose this last election, thus going with businessman which we need right now, and going with a party that is not voting God out based on public record. Yes, Christians can call out other Christians to correct them as Paul did in the Bible, but not judge them, that’s for sure, especially when they (we) have boards in our own eye. Not be hypocritical. I’ve not seen any perfect people yet, definitely not in politics 🙂 The Christian attributes I’ve seen in Trump are him leading prayer, attending church, quoting scripture, not voting sin into law, keeping Christ in Christmas, etc., and again knowing he is not perfect as I/we are not perfect causes me to go to his business economic sense. I’m leaving the judging to God, and focused on what’s best for our country, not a party.
I saw a recent article where Trump closed a golf course and then took numerous veterans on the course to play. Pretty awesome, and giving. I also saw him on Apprentice give hundreds of thousands of dollars through a game to numerous charities. I’ve seen him in the inner cities hugging on homeless and giving money to those less fortunate. He has raised successful and respectful kids who are giving to charity and good causes. I’ve seen numerous things that main stream media has overlooked regard his “good” side, especially in the role I currently serve. What I’ve seen most in my job is the loss of personnel and end strength over the last eight years, where the Obama administration told the service branches via SECDEF not to ask for $$ as he wanted to cut the defense budget. Then, heard Biden tell the press that we don’t need anything because we are not asking for it, which infuriated me. Ask the majority of Generals and Admirals how bad things got in the past decade and you will see, all a matter of public record. The recent fatal incidents of the USS MCCAIN and the USS FITZGERALD are just remnants of the lack of $$ for proper training, over extended use of personnel in a high OPTEMPO, high PERSTEMPO world. Servicemen and women today are just worn out and aren’t getting the training due to the lack of $$ and lack of proper training that was cut. So, based on economics and what I’ve discussed regarding my faith, I’m very confident where I stand, as you may be with the left. Love you, Bo.
Ed, you’ve laid out a strong case in defense of President Trump and why you think he’s good for America, and you’ve done it in a civil and level-headed way. The president is fortunate to have you supporting him, and the country is fortunate to have had your service. I note that not once did you criticize me directly. You are credit to country and your religion, and I’m proud to have you as a friend, no matter your politics.
Bo, thank you, and know that I respect you and your articles as well, as you provide articles that make people think. And, you are a great photographer to boot :-). And back to your original article, if a proper investigation by unbiased source finds Trump or any of his kids involved in Russian collusion, I’ll be right by your side seeking impeachment. Having worked in the intelligence field, it’s hard to trust those that have mismanaged our nation’s intelligence, giving Bush and Obama bad gouge, which I/we’ve felt in the military. While they get some things right, unfortunately they misfire. It also creates concern for me when the intelligence community, like other government agencies, get political and are called upon during elections, when they should be more concerned with what’s happening on the front lines and even with homeland security. Bo, I’m there with you on Trump being a Tweet idiot, couldn’t agree more. He does more damage to his reputation than I believe he understands. Last, but not least, I know that God is in control, yes, even politics, and allows things to happen for a purpose (good or bad), sometimes to teach us lessons as a nation. Will be interesting to see what the future holds, but praying that our nation flourishes, whether under conservative or liberal leadership, knowing when we get too far left, those in the middle takes us right, and when we go too far right, those in the middle take us left. We do live in a great nation. Again, love to you and your readers, and I hope you and all have a Happy New Year !!