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President Trump’s supporters say, “If he says he will do something, he does it.” Corey Stewart, a Republican Senate candidate from Virginia said June 24, “We have a president of the United States who has kept all of his promises.” This is a boldly transparent lie, especially for a candidate trying to win the voters’ trust.
President Trump promised to “drain the swamp” but swamp creatures are running his administration, with Wall Street and big business tycoons at most major cabinet posts. Former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson was a CEO of Exxon worth $239 million; Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs investment banker worth $351 million; and Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, a big banker worth $2.7 billion. Education Sec. Betsy DeVos could be worth $1.5 billion, and Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, the former oil company exec., is worth $2.8 million. Energy Sec. and climate change denier Rick Perry is worth $2.2 million. Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, from Hasbro and American Express, piled up $44 million before joining the campaign. The swamp is brimming.
President Trump promised to jail his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton. “Lock her up!” was his chant. He didn’t. Mr. Trump promised to “build the wall” on the southern border and have “Mexico pay for it.” His fanatics still chant the phrase. There is no wall, nothing being built, no funding has been approved, and neither the US nor Mexico are paying for one. (Trump publicly lied about this in North Dakota June 28.)
President Trump has broken his shouted inaugural “America First” promise. In May he put China first and saved its giant tech firm ZTE from bankruptcy -- lifting the Treasury Department’s 7-year ban on ZTE doing business with US firms. ZTE was banned for violated US sanctions law against trading with North Korea and Iran. ZTE was convicted, and paid a fine, but went right back to violating US law. In Wisconsin June 29, Trump touted a $3.8 billion tax handout to Taiwan-based Foxconn saying, “American is open for business more than it ever has been.” But instead there is a major decline in the purchase or building of factories and facilities in the US by foreign companies, the AP reported, with such investment falling 40 percent last year, according to US government data.
Mr. Trump promised he would revive the coal industry, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is still with us, and by the end of 2016 overall US coal mining jobs grew by a total of 771. Reuters reported on Jan. 19: “Overall, the number of US coal jobs is still lingering near historic lows at less than one-third the level in the mid-1980s, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as the industry loses market share to cheaper natural gas.”
Mr. Trump promised dozens of times that he would have “a total Muslim ban.” The president has settled for a “travel ban” that the Supreme Court declared June 27 is not about Muslims. President Trump said he would “make America great again.” This promise has been broken too, unless you are a banker, or inherited loads of money. The Great Tax Cut permanently helped the one-percent super-rich.
The President refuses to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is instead holding thousands of them in detention. Trump pulled the US out of the UN Human Rights Council June 29, and in world-wide polling large majorities consider the US to be the most dangerous government on earth. The list of the US’s shooting wars includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Niger. The US health care system is ranked 46th in the world. There is a great wasting of soldiers’ lives, great taking of lives in foreign wars, great waste of health care dollars, and great loss of respect the world over.
What is factually great is the volume of Trump’s broken promises, or rather the number of his false promises. The philosopher Hanna Arendt warned, “If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer…. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”
Denying plain facts and trusting in lies (e.g., “climate change is a hoax”) has a horrifying history from the Holocaust to Holocaust denial, from to Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” to “Mission Accomplished.” Albert Camus reminded us, “one can rebel equally well against lies as against oppression,” and as editor of an underground anti-fascist newspaper in Nazi-occupied France, he knew that lying in politics led to monumental crimes.