Though I should not be, I am regularly surprised by ongoing revelations about former President Donald Trump’s aberrant views and behavior.
Last week, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl — who is promoting his book Betrayal, which is about the former president — added fuel to the dumpster fire. Karl tweeted teasers, including a note that Trump supported the “murderous chants” of the Capitol rioters targeting former Vice President Mike Pence. The tweet included an audio excerpt from an interview in which Trump called it “common sense” that the rioters wanted to hang the vice president. Calling it a “genuinely shocking interview,” Karl said Trump “didn’t condemn [the rioters], he defended them.”
This report details actions that are just so completely the reverse of what they should be, yet the man continues to be vigorously defended and supported by so many. It’s as though we live in a constant state of Opposite Day — a childhood game that doesn’t seem quite so funny today.
What’s more, Trump continues to toot his own horn over the booming economy under his administration. Even before the pandemic crash, The Washington Post characterized his boasts as overblown rhetoric, giving Trump three “pinocchios” for the repeated claim that he had engineered the best economy in the history of the country.
Fast-forward three years, and the irony is hard to miss. Earlier this year the Post determined that Trump’s record was — don’t be surprised — the opposite of what he claims, concluding that he had the “worst jobs record in modern U.S. history.” Writing as the Trump administration was coming to its historic and violence-filled end in January, the Post’s Andrew Van Dam wrote: “President Trump took office at the crest of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. He leaves presiding over the worst labor market in modern U.S. history, as an already-sputtering economic recovery has turned negative.”
Every administration inherits economic success and failure from the administration it replaces, and Trump inherited an economy that was still surging upward from the depths of the 2008 recession. The true Trump economic legacy is that he is the first president since Herbert Hoover in 1933 to leave the U.S. “with a smaller workforce than it had when they took office.” The article continued: “The awful jobs report from the Labor Department showed there were still 3 million fewer jobs in the United States than there were on Inauguration Day 2017, when Trump stood in front of the Capitol and vowed to reverse the American carnage.”
Of course, defenders of the former president will point to the pandemic as the sole reason for his economic failure, but critics disagree.
The New York Times reported last year that Trump’s handling of the pandemic left the American people uncertain because of his muddled messaging, which turned the pandemic into a partisan issue. A July 2020 op-ed in The Washington Post written by CDC doctors ran under the headline: “We ran the CDC. No president ever politicized its science the way Trump has.”
In January, an ABC News review of the Trump presidency included this excellent observation: “Economists say Trump’s economic legacy will be defined by his failure in leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic that exacerbated the financial downturn, domestic policies that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy, and international trade policies that hurt U.S. industry while simultaneously alienating allies.”
Undeterred by facts, Trump keeps beating the drum that he is the king of economic success. As if living in some kind of fairy tale, he routinely rewrites the past and pretends his behavior after losing the election in November was appropriate.
Donald Trump is a king of lies.
Bill Freeman is the owner of FW Publishing, the publishing company that produces the Nashville Scene, Nfocus, the Nashville Post and Home Page Media Group in Williamson County.