In a scathing editorial, the editors of the Wall Street Journal, the flagship paper of the pro-business GOP that did so much to aid and abet Donald Trump’s rise to power, question Trump’s credibility, saying “Trump’s falsehoods are eroding public trust, at home and abroad.”
Took them long enough to notice. The question is, did they really expect anything different from a man so manifestly unsuited to the role of the leader of the free world?
That is not to say that late is not better than ever.
We certainly cannot argue with the WSJ when they pose this statement:
If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.
Fox News’ Brit Hume tweeted in response to the editorial that,
POTUS would be wise to heed this scathing editorial –> A President’s Credibility https://t.co/65qBKbijbM
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 22, 2017
Of course, Trump won’t do that. This is the sort of thing that in his mind instantly becomes “fake news” because it doesn’t agree with his preconceptions, or with lies, he has previously told.
For example, the editors complain about Trump’s accusation that President Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped, saying “the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims.”
We can disagree with this assertion. After all, nobody forced Spicer to take this job and nobody is forcing him to sell his soul on behalf of the most corrupt and dishonest president to ever take office:
Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.
This excuse sounds too much like the Nazi defense at Nuremberg, that they were simply following orders.
The editors warn that Trump would do well to show more respect for the truth, which only shows that they do not know their man at all:
Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.
In fact, the WSJ editors are late in coming to the conclusion most of us drew even before Trump took office, but even then, their disappointment in Trump seems tempered by continuing faith in their guy that he is not irreparably broken.
The truth is, as Chris Cillizza writes at The Washington Post‘s The Fix, “Donald Trump keeps getting things wrong. And there’s not much we can do about it.”
Still, even tempered a rebuke as it is in some respects, this is not what Donald Trump needed right now. As CNN’s Chris Cuomo put it,
This is some blow especially from the wsj https://t.co/Z93GqPnacu
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) March 22, 2017
They can comfort themselves with the math Republicans do, that if not for all these distractions “he can deliver on his promises,” but he can’t and never could, because dishonest as he is, the inability to stare a fact in the face without blinking is the least of Donald Trump’s many and manifest character flaws.
Besides being dishonest, he is intellectually lazy, doesn’t care about anyone but Donald Trump, and has an unreasonably inflated opinion of his own abilities, not borne out by facts. And now, as The Plum Line‘s Greg Sargent points out, “Trump’s lies are failing him, and it is making him deeply frustrated.”
Things are not going to get better. Suddenly becoming honest won’t change that. Donald Trump was never going to deliver on his promises because those promises were only a means to an end, and that end was always the enrichment of Donald Trump.