Trump cries wolf
Views 24 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 28 - 2017 | By: Cameron Lee
The past few weeks have marked a new chapter in the long saga of Donald Trump’s divorce from the truth: the wiretapping allegations. On March 4th, Trump kicked the fiasco off with (you guessed it) a tweet, alleging that the Obama administration ‘had [his] “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the [election] victory.”
These allegations have since been denied by numerous sources – including Rep. Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Of course, the mere lack of evidence was not enough to cause Trump to retract his allegations.
On March 16th, this bit of domestic nonsense began to cause diplomatic tension, as Sean Spicer alleged that Obama asked the GCHQ – a UK intelligence agency – to conduct surveillance on Trump. This version of the allegation has been denied by both the GCHQ and NSA Director Mike Rogers.
At this point, many readers are probably wondering, “Why should we care? Politicians have never been known as an honest bunch.” While it is true that most politicians have a strained relationship with the truth, their dishonesty is typically pragmatic, not pathological. More often than not, political figures lie when it benefits them and when they can get away with it.
Trump’s pattern of dishonesty, of which the wiretapping claims are only the latest example, seems to disregard such pragmatic concerns; there is no observable benefit that he or this country have gained from the repetition of this falsehood. By holding fast to an unsubstantiated allegation which is repeatedly refuted, Trump only serves to degrade his own credibility in the eyes of the public. By extending these baseless accusations to the United Kingdom, Trump only serves to alienate one of the country’s most reliable allies.
Trump’s mistake is not that he is making false statements; his mistake is that he’s doing it for no reason and getting caught. The problem that Trump is creating for himself is essentially the problem faced in the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf: when you become known for making false claims about illegal votes and wiretapping, nobody will believe you when you finally tell the truth.
For a moment, let us assume that Trump is in fact correct about the wiretapping, and that he has some sort of information that would substantiate his allegations. If this is the case, then it would be in his best interest to release that information, because it would restore his credibility in the eyes of the public. Considering that Director Comey has admitted that the FBI is investigating Russian interference in the election, Trump is going to need that credibility. If the public does not believe a word he says, then his denial of collusion with Russian officials will mean very little, even if he is then telling the truth.
To be frank, Trump’s lack of regard for the truth may have served him well in his candidacy, but he will need to at least create the illusion of credibility if he wants to succeed as a political figure.
Brian Landis | Just out of curiosity, now that the allegations have proven to be true that Obama and Comey both spied on Trump's transition team will you take another look at this issue? ~ 6 months ago.