Liar in Chief: Trump’s first Oval Office speech, a litany of lies

Herb Boyd with additional reporting by Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News Editor | 1/10/2019, 10:53 a.m.
If there is one good thing to cheer and applaud in Trump’s first Oval Office speech to the nation—it was ...
President Donald Trump White House photo

If there is one good thing to cheer and applaud in Trump’s first Oval Office speech to the nation—it was short.

It was delivered in under 10 minutes and viewers were spared his profuse litany of lies, although he still managed to drop a number of clunkers that amounted to either being false or needing more context, according to fact checkers.

At the core of the address or mess to the nation, as some would deem it, especially those outraged that he commanded control of the television networks as he holds the government hostage, was an attempt to be the deal maker on getting his wall built.

A major reason for having the southern border protected, he said, is because “it is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.”

This piece of misinformation flies in the face of authorities—and even Clint Eastwood’s “mule” would know better than that—who first of all have reported that most of the drugs Trump cites come in through legal ports of entry in a variety of concealed ways. Moreover, experts contend, no wall, no matter how high or wide, would be effective in stopping the flow of drugs into the country.

To add incredulity to his proposal, Trump stated that the wall, if built, would pay for itself. And such a prospect of a wall paying for itself falls within his promise in the past that Mexico would pay for it.

Once more Trump is blowing smoke and insisting that the blame for the government shutdown belongs to the Democrats. Just a few weeks ago he said he would take the blame for the shutdown. But we should have known, as in too many other instances, that he would change the narrative on that.

But back to the speech. “Over the years thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now,” Trump said.

Like so much of his balderdash, Trump presented no evidence of this; in fact, there have been several research projects that show undocumented immigration does not increase violence. But if Trump was provided this information, he would either not read it or dismiss it as fake news.

Trump opened his speech talking about a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul, but these conclusions are at best self-referential, though he was applying them to a national crisis, an imagined national emergency.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her rebuttal put it far more accurately in her contention that Trump is “manufacturing the crisis.”

If the nation is facing a humanitarian crisis, as Trump believes, then much of that problem stems from his own policies.

Trump might not enjoy the news that his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, gave polling data to a Russian political consultant with ties to Russia’s intelligence service during the presidential campaign in 2016, but he might experience a measure of relief now that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will step away from the job next month.