Trump sees himself as the all-powerful leader of the United States who can lie and pay no consequences, B. Jay Cooper writes.

First published in January 2020.

If you thought this was a politically polarized nation before, the killing of Iran’s General Quasem Soleimani completed the deal. In the aftermath of the Trump Administration killing what everyone in the West considered a terrorist with American and other blood on his hands, we have seen Republicans pointing fingers at Democrats as the “only ones mourning the general’s killing.”

That’s far from what any Democrat has said but it is one line of attack some Republicans are using, including President Trump. But it doesn’t end with Trump, of course, it begins there. We have seen the formerly respected and former United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, go full Trump by being a leader of this chorus.

The woman who, on leaving the Administration, tried to balance keeping Trump on her side but not always agreeing with him, has now decided apparently that her future rests with Donald Trump. She clearly is all in with him.

Another leader in the “Democrats love terrorists” chorus is Rep. Douglas Collins (R-Ga.) who led the Trump defense in the House impeachment hearings and who said, “…they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our gold star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani.” (I won’t go into how Collins’ North Star has treated gold star families when he was a candidate for president).

This line of attack while not being true is beyond disgusting. No Democrats love terrorists. Any more than any Republican loves terrorists.

But this is the depth our rhetoric has sunk to in the opening days of 2020. If you like what January has brought for political debate, just wait until Trump’s State of the Union address in early February which will probably be after the Republican-controlled Senate holds its trial on impeachment and clears Trump of any wrongdoing.

War, or near war, used to be where the political swords were put away in Washington. No more. I don’t believe there has been a President in my lifetime who has notified Congress before going to near-war or war. The timing of such decisions just don’t make it an easy notification to make. But, Congress does have a role (in spite of former Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders claiming the Democrats on the Hill’s efforts to “run foreign policy” violate the Constitution. Actually, what they’re trying to do is exactly what the Constitution gives them a role in.)

But, truth matters not a whit to Trump or his people. He lies and he has shown his people a new path in politics – the Politics of Lying. When the facts don’t help, don’t use facts – make them up.  (I hear you saying “but all politicians lie.” Truth is, they don’t. And most don’t flat-out like as the President does).

Count me in on those who think the world is a better place without Soleimani. That isn’t the issue. The issue is what role Congress has in determining when the United States goes to war. They have a role. They have a right to information to make their decisions. We pay them as we pay the President, we have a right to know (not all classified information) but enough to know what the heck our tax dollars are going to.

(Tangent: The Treasury Department as we speak is trying to hide expenses for the President and his family when they’re on vacation. This is not how our government is supposed to work. We have the right to know. That is our money they are spending. And, one more thing, we learn more about what the President is doing in meetings with foreign leaders from those foreign leaders. Russia put out details of a Trump phone call before the White House even announced the call. And, Iraq announced it talked to Secretary of State Pompeo about removing our troops from Iraq when the official read out from State never mentioned that little detail.)

As we head toward the end of Trump’s term, you need to look ahead to a possible second term for him. If he has so ignored traditional norms (not that some of them shouldn’t be updated) in his first term, when he does have to face accountability in the form of an election, how much can he ignore or violate in a second term? The punishment for a President committing “high crimes and misdemeanors” will mean nothing once the Senate clears Trump of his current charges. He will know he can, as he has throughout his life, beat the rap. Pay no consequences.

Trump sees himself as the all-powerful leader of the United States. He doesn’t seem to understand the Congress’ role in governing the country. He went to a foreign leader(s) seeking help in his re-election campaign which is against the law, his people lie (I’ll explain) to the Congress when they go to brief them on a military action, and a 1,000 other things. What will he do in a second term?

His folks lied to Congress when they briefed them on the Soleimani Operation. They apparently claimed that they could not share some of the intelligence with them because of its sensitivity. That is total baloney. The Gang of Eight, the top leadership in the House, is cleared at a very high level. And there are ways to offer information without identifying the source, if that is their concern. Plus, I wonder how much the President has told his cronies (yes you, Lindsay Graham) but won’t tell the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, a man who Trump’s “counselor” called untrustworthy in a TV interview.

Where and when does all this lying end?🔷

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[This piece was originally published on the Screaming Moderate and re-published in PMP Magazine on 12 January 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Flickr/The White House-Joyce N. Boghosian. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)