So, here we are. In 23 days we’ll decide whether to stick with a president who’s introduced new standards of presidential comportment, dragging our highest office down to new lows of dignity, language and veracity.
By now it should be clear that almost nothing Donald Trump says ever turns out to be true. By July, the Washington Post had counted more than 20,000 “false or misleading” statements by the president.
By June, The Army Times had counted Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Gen. Michael Hayden, Adm. Bill McRaven, Gen. Vince Brooks, Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. Jim Mattis, and Gen. Colin Powell among the retired top military brass who were speaking out against the commander-in-chief, writing that “Their individual comments express a common theme: Donald Trump lacks the moral and ethical character, intellectual ability, experience, bearing, empathy, and sense of dignity to lead the nation effectively.”
(By September, Fox News was reporting that 235 former military officers including retired generals and admirals were supporting Trump and denouncing Democrats, socialists and Marxists for putting our “historic way of life” at stake. So, there’s a little balance in this highly unbalanced year.)
Then again, also in September, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville found it necessary to defend the Pentagon leadership from Trump’s remark that they “want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”
Closer to home, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill felt she should caution the public after Trump’s remarks, during the first TV debate, urging his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.” This, based on his baseless claim that there will be rampant cheating. So he told the Proud Boys (a self-styled group of wet-behind-the-ears, right-wing, wannabe vigilantes) to “stand by.” Presumably, that command makes him their leader, no?
Merrill wrote this: “The president's comments regarding elections in last night's debate are cause for considerable concern for election officials. I want to make crystal clear that Connecticut and federal law prohibits intimidating or threatening voters for the purpose of interfering with their right to vote. …” Voters “are scared that the President of the United States will be invalidating their absentee ballots. …”
Moving right along, another example of the class (with a capital K) that’s been brought to our White House by the appalling and embarrassing Trump family comes in the odd form of an exchange between first lady Melania Trump and the porn “actress” known as Stormy Daniels. In a tell-all book based on recorded conversations with Melania’s (presumably now former) friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, we learn that the first lady called Stormy “the porn hooker.” Not to be outdone, Stormy (who got 173 times more money out of Donald Trump than the IRS did that year) basically accepted that name but countered that Melania had sold not just her body, but also her soul. Then there was Melania’s potty-mouthed complaint about her onerous duty of decorating the White House for Christmas.
Sure, lots of presidents have been cads, Democrats FDR and JFK among them. For good or ill, the press used to keep quiet about it, and so did those long-suffering first ladies.
But not anymore. Nowadays we get to know, if anything, too much about the sordid details.
So, here we are. What would Eleanor Roosevelt think?
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.