The Los Angeles Times recently published an extended editorial feature on Donald Trump’s presidency, in six parts, with a explanatory coda: “Our Dishonest President,” “Why Trump Lies,” “Trump’s Authoritarian Vision,” “Trump’s War on Journalism,” “Conspiracy Theorist in Chief,” “California Fights Back,” and “Why We Took a Stand.” It’s all worth reading, as both a reminder of past outrages and a spur to vigilance about what’s to come.
I’ll quote just one passage from “Our Dishonest President” concerning what the Times calls Trump‘s “utter lack of regard for truth”:
Whether it is the easily disprovable boasts about the size of his inauguration crowd or his unsubstantiated assertion that Barack Obama bugged Trump Tower, the new president regularly muddies the waters of fact and fiction. It’s difficult to know whether he actually can’t distinguish the real from the unreal — or whether he intentionally conflates the two to befuddle voters, deflect criticism and undermine the very idea of objective truth. Whatever the explanation, he is encouraging Americans to reject facts, to disrespect science, documents, nonpartisanship and the mainstream media — and instead to simply take positions on the basis of ideology and preconceived notions. This is a recipe for a divided country in which differences grow deeper and rational compromise becomes impossible.What I find most dangerous about Trump and those around him, beyond any particular executive order or policy position, is that “utter lack of regard for truth.” See, for instance, Sean Spicer’s most recent performance.