Trump wants you to believe that a vast left-wing conspiracy of the Deep State, the “fake news media,” anarchists, socialists, communists, China, Iran, people who are against God, opponents of the Second Amendment, and other traitorous evildoers who hate America are all arrayed against him, even though he is “a very stable genius” who has accomplished more than any first-term president in American history.
But the truth is that if Trump wants to know who is really sabotaging his reelection hopes, all he has to do is look in the mirror. Millions of Americans are tired of his incompetence, lies, divisiveness, and shoot-from-the-hip style of governing by inflammatory tweet. They are ready to tell him: “You’re fired!”
Trump is a master illusionist who managed to eke out an Electoral College victory in 2016 — despite getting about 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton — by convincing millions of voters he was a brilliant businessman and dealmaker who could “Make America Great Again.”
But in truth, Mitt Romney got it right when he denounced candidate Trump in a speech on March 3, 2016, as Trump was running for the Republican presidential nomination. The speech is worth reading today, because it was remarkably accurate in predicting how a Trump presidency would unfold.
Romney — the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, former governor of Massachusetts and current Republican U.S. senator from Utah — said: “Dishonesty is Trump’s hallmark.… Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics.”
And Romney added: “Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president.”
Trump has proven beyond any doubt that he is unqualified and unable to perform the duties of president of the United States.
As much as I disagree with Trump on most issues and consider him one of the worst presidents in American history, I have to give him credit for doing a masterful job of eroding public confidence in the news media (“fake news media” is one of his favorite phrases) and peddling his own false narrative to pull the wool over the eyes of millions of Americans.
Trump has mastered the art of dominating the media like no other president. He controls the speed, tone and headlines of most news cycles. His outrageous behavior makes news every day and both supporters and opponents talk about him and are focused on his actions. He the host of a nonstop reality TV show.
I can’t think of any president who has shown greater skill in mastering the art of the Big Lie — the propaganda tactic of repeating lies over and over and over, until many people believe the lies.
The Washington Post Fact Checker column reported that as of July 9, Trump had made 20,055 false or misleading claims in his first 1,267 days in office. The newspaper has collected these claims in a database.
Anytime the Trump White House gets bad press, it takes command of the narrative and shifts the focus to the president, who makes news by saying or doing something newsworthy to displace the earlier bad news. Once the cameras focus on Trump, he weaponizes the spotlight.
Trump’s Big Lies grow to 50 feet tall with repetition and conjecture, obnoxious yet in need of a response. They become insidious earworms that make journalists question the legitimacy of his claims and spend critical time correcting his outlandish falsehoods. This accomplishes Trump’s original goal of diverting attention from his previous misconduct, failures, and foot-in-mouth statements and tweets.
Like the Wizard of Oz, Trump has worked hard to fool us into believing he is a great leader.
Decorum and qualifications mean nothing when Trump employs his emotions and arbitrary convictions to create suspicion that the media desperately try to prove wrong. In doing so, he feeds into the narrative he wants to perpetuate. It is quite impressive.
Trump built his career on projecting a false image of himself as a self-made man, brilliant dealmaker, and fabulously successful billionaire tycoon. The truth is that he was born into wealth amassed by his father, got his start in business working for his father, and got a big financial boost from his dad.
The New York Times reported on Oct. 2, 2018 that an investigation it conducted “has revealed that Donald Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire. What’s more, much of this money came to Mr. Trump through dubious tax schemes he participated in during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, The Times found.”
And while Trump has never declared personal bankruptcy the self-described brilliant businessman has filed for Chapter 11 business bankruptcies an astounding six times.
Now Trump projects his false image of success to his conduct as president in what would be an Emmy Award-winning performance if his presidency was really nothing more than a TV show.
At a time when the disease COVID-19 has infected more than 5.2 million Americans and tragically killed more than 166,000, Trump seeks to divert attention from his abysmal failure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. He claims he has done a perfect job, demands schools and businesses reopen, downplays the severity of the pandemic, and claims a vaccine and new treatments could arrive by the end of the year — or maybe even by Election Day.
And Trump didn’t let the pandemic stop him from holding a political rally June 20 in Tulsa, Okla., and holding Independence Day celebrations at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and in Washington. He continues traveling around the country to boost his flagging reelection campaign. He rarely wears a mask and his loyal supporters usually follow his dangerous example. Sadly, Trump is attempting to negotiate with a global pandemic, but he can’t.
Fortunately for our nation — and unfortunately for Trump — the American people are not stupid. Like the Wizard of Oz, Trump has worked hard to fool us into believing he is a great leader. Now more and more voters and coming to the conclusion that Mitt Romney was right when he called Trump “a phony, a fraud.”
Desperate, Trump now seeks to divide Americans along racial lines. He tries to characterize protests over the brutal murder by Minneapolis police of George Floyd — a handcuffed Black man pinned helplessly on the ground — as a dangerous movement by violent revolutionaries. He vows to preserve “law and order” with federal law enforcement officers — sounding like a Southern sheriff in the 1960s — and only enflames tensions.
Trump even promises to protect suburbanites from construction of low-income housing — thinly disguised code telling middle-class folks they don’t have to worry about a bunch of poor and vulnerable people invading their communities.
And going even further, Trump unbelievably makes an issue of preserving monuments and names of military bases honoring Confederate leaders in the Civil War — racist traitors who made war on the United States to preserve the immoral enslavement of African Americans.
Trump’s newest Big Lie is that Democrats will use mail-in voting to rig the November election so Joe Biden becomes our next president. Trump refuses to acknowledge that instances of mail-in voting fraud are extremely rare and minor. And for context, the last time massive voter fraud took place, it was at the hands of North Carolina Republicans in a 2018 congressional race.
Regrettably, Trump refuses to accept the fact that as the coronavirus pandemic rages, Americans need to be able to vote without going to crowded polling stations where they risk exposing themselves to a deadly disease.
Trump’s real goal is to suppress votes of African Americans, Latinx, young people, senior citizens and others likely to vote Democratic. He seems to be setting the stage to file a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn the election results if he loses, hoping that as in Bush v. Gore, the high court will throw the election for the GOP.
So now the challenge for Democrats is to show the American people who Trump really is and expose him, so he suffers a tremendous defeat too big to contest in court and too big to support his phony claims that he was cheated out of a second term by all sorts of evil conspiracies. This is a tall order, but it must be done to put our democracy back on track.
Trump has proven beyond any doubt that he is unqualified and unable to perform the duties of president of the United States. It’s time to send him packing to his luxurious resorts, where he can play all the golf he wants and enjoy a retirement that will allow President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to start repairing the grievous damage Trump has inflicted on our nation.
Richard Fowler currently serves as a contributor to FOX News (FNC), joining in September 2016. In his role, Fowler provides political and cultural analysis across FNC’s daytime and primetime programming as well as the network’s Sunday media analysis program Media Buzz with Howard Kurtz