Truth-Teller Trump

I recently had a somewhat testy email exchange with a friend. I was asserting that a well-known progressive columnist for The New York Times had demonstrated an unmistakable affinity for authoritarian governance – when my friend, unhappy with my quotations of the columnist’s own words, switched topics suddenly to the hated (by him) Trump, writing:

“Once the Prevaricator-in-Chief leaves office, either by hook or by crook (pun intended), I will be much more open to differing political viewpoints.”

In order to preserve our friendship without conceding the point, I de-escalated as best I could by noting simply in response that on that, too, we differ.

I couldn’t help but wonder, though, about the substance of my friend’s Trump outburst. Is he really so angry about his perception that Trump is dishonest that he has suspended his willingness to engage with those who, like yours truly, differ with him politically? Is he really ok, as seems implicit in the quoted sentence, with the idea that Trump should leave or be removed “by hook or by crook”? So much for our tradition of relying on orderly, democratic election processes to choose and/or change leaders.

Such, in my view, are the effects of the hyper-partisan manner in which The New York Times and, I’m guessing, all the on-air or online media with which my friend engages, treat Trump. Their relentless campaign of personal vilification is succeeding, at least with their core audiences, though not with the other half. They really are dividing the nation.


Ironically, I have gradually come to the conclusion that Trump, far from being the “Prevaricator-in-Chief” is actually the most honest president we have had in a long, long time.  With him, what you see is what you get:

He promised to avoid PC cant – and he has joyously trampled all over it.

He promised to cut taxes – he cut taxes.

He promised to cut regulation – he cut regulation.

He said he would encourage drilling and fracking – he has done so, and now we are energy-independent for the first time in sixty years (which, fwiw, dramatically disadvantages the Iranians and the Russians, among others).

He promised to appoint conservative judges – he appointed conservative judges.

He promised to build a wall – he is building a wall. (Ok, so he hasn’t gotten the Mexicans to pay for it…).

He promised to press reset on our international trade patterns – he pressed reset in the most dramatic fashion.

He told us he wanted to avoid new Middle Eastern wars while crushing ISIS and both restraining Iranian terror and preventing them from getting nukes – so far, so good.

He promised to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – he moved the embassy.

He promised to rebuild our military – he’s rebuilding our military.

He promised to keep Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions mandate in place and leave Medicare and Social Security untouched – and he has done just that.

He predicted that his policies would help those who needed it most – and average unemployment rates have been lower during his presidency than under any other presidency since such records have been kept, with unemployment among African-Americans now at the lowest rate ever.

He also predicted that the economy as a whole would thrive, and it has.


In summary, he has done – or tried awfully hard to do – more or less exactly what he said he would. I think that’s the real reason that our progressive elites hate him. They call him a liar in the hope of anathematizing him, and thereby preventing him from continuing to implement his strikingly anti-progressive agenda. Calling Trump a liar has, by way of endless repetition and reinforcement, become The Big Lie that those who live in the progressive bubble (like my friend, alas) now take as a given.

Trump is undeniably thin-skinned, and he has a gift for simplifying messages while exaggerating points that support whatever message he’s trying to sell. In these traits, he better resembles the salesman down the street who you know and like in spite of his obvious bluster than he does the polished – but often slippery – performers we are more accustomed to as leaders. His exaggerations are pounced on immediately by the media looking to take him down as incontrovertible evidence of his allegedly soulless dishonesty – but the rest of us recognize them as being just the atmospherics of a performer.

Trump has never, as far as I’ve seen, done anything remotely as dishonest as what the media have repeatedly done to him – such as claiming that his speech on Charlottesville praised white supremacists, or asserting as a matter of course and without any evidence that I have seen that he’s a bigot, or claiming that he colluded with the Russians. Or as dishonest as what the media-sainted Obama did by selling Obamacare on the basis of “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”      

After you get to know that salesman down the street, you know when to discount his bloviating and look to what he’s actually trying to accomplish. In Trump’s case, from a policy standpoint he’s always trying to do exactly what he said he would. You may or may not like his policies (I, for one, like most, but not all of them), but there’s no ambiguity whatsoever what they are.

I have come to like Trump – a lot. Far from being the “Prevaricator-in-Chief” who should be shunted from office “by hook or by crook” I think he’s somebody we can rely on. I also quite like our system of choosing presidents via the electoral process.

And, by the way, I don’t really believe my friend meant the whole “by hook or by crook” thing. He’s too good a guy.

M.H. Johnston     

6 comments to Truth-Teller Trump

  • KH  says:

    Hard to sell ads with this type of peaceful approach to writing about current events – especially in the fear and anger economy developed over the last 20 years but it is relaxing to read. Thanks Mark.

  • Anonymous  says:


    The good news is that in this country different than Russia, Turkey, or North Korea the truth usually comes out.
    If that salesman down the street who you know and like in spite of his obvious bluster should turn out to be a criminal by defying his oath of office and the US Constitution it would be good for the people to learn that. Perhaps you would not buy from that salesman in the future.

  • DP  says:

    I agree with the previous writer that it is good that the truth comes out and I hope (naively I’m sure) that the impeachment hearings will put this to rest conclusively by focussing on evidence and facts. He either “did it” (meaning impeachable offences) or didn’t and both sides deserve a fair hearing.

    But when we talk about truth coming out, we also need to reflect on why the discussion about Trump never -in the mainstream media – enumerates his promises made and kept in the way this blog just did. Liberals who care about democracy should be worried by this.

    • M Johnston  says:

      Thank you for your comment. Oddly enough, even conceding your premise that he either did it or he didn’t, under the circumstances, I strongly disagree that “both sides deserve a fair hearing”, because I believe that even if he did it (meaning: he pressured the Ukrainians to announce a Biden inquiry to help his own re-election prospects), that wasn’t remotely an impeachable offense. As to the other allegedly impeachable offense – obstruction of Congress – it’s a joke from a legal perspective – Pelosi-ese for the fact that he had his people ignore subpoenas (as happens all the time in Administration/Congress spats) and she didn’t want to let the courts sort it out, as they always have in the past; it’s no sin for co-equal branches of government to squabble.
      But back to my main point, allow me to quote Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who writes in the virulently anti-Trump publication National Review:
      “I have contended, to the contrary, that the president’s best defense is that nothing of consequence happened. I have been prepared to assume that the president pressured Ukraine, as alleged. But it was much ado about nothing: Ukraine got the defense aid (and barely knew it had been briefly delayed); Zelensky did not have to make any commitment about investigations; and he got his high-profile audience with President Trump (albeit at the United Nations in New York City, not at the White House). The president’s defense should be that, while there may have been improprieties, nothing here approaches the egregious misconduct required to trigger impeachment.”

      The idea that presidents don’t routinely consider what’s in their political interest when making decisions – domestic and foreign – is ludicrous. Trump may well have wanted to put pressure on Zelensky; he may even have done it, though Zelensky denies it and I saw no evidence of his having done so in the famous telephone transcript. Honestly, I couldn’t care less. If he did it his behavior was, at worst, a little bit tacky (though one could certainly argue that it was ok because the American public has an interest in learning about the Bidens’ blatantly corrupt conflicts of interest).
      Whatever. Even assuming the worst, Trump’s possible culpability in this matter pales in comparison with, say, the Obama Administration’s blatant lying about Benghazi (and imprisoning an American filmmaker to back up its story) during Obama’s re-election campaign.
      I am not surprised that politics is a dirty business. And I don’t believe that Trump is being impeached because the Democrats give a hoot about the causes of a brief delay in the delivery of military aid to Ukraine that Trump, but not Obama, was willing to give. I think they’re impeaching him because they despise him and see profit in it – and that that behavior is a gross misuse of their power. So no, I don’t think their case deserves a “fair hearing”. A dismissal for failure to allege a high crime or misdemeanor would be more appropriate.
      All the best,

  • DP  says:

    You might have misinterpreted my interest in a fair hearing. The President hasn’t had one and the trial is the only way he will get one where both sides can question each other. I fully expect that the conclusion of the Senate will be that it doesn’t begin to meet standards expected for a conviction (what “did it” means to me).

    I think an airing of this type is unfortunately necessary, and thus a good thing, because the public is not even exposed to the arguments in his favour and against conviction. Say it ain’t so, however regrettable.

  • Vivian Wadlin  says:

    On a different note: If we had a true investigative media the Biden episode would have come to light and none of this would be necessary. Think how much clearer the swamp gas would have been if Joe and Hunter’s part in this had been
    thoroughly aired.

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