“It isn’t every day that the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledges formally that the President of the United States lied in a speech to Congress. But that’s how I read a letter I received a few days ago from the department’s Office of Information Policy in connection with one of my Freedom of Information Act suits against the department.
No, the Justice Department letter does not come out and say what it clearly means: that President Trump, early in his tenure, was untruthful both about the role of foreigners in terrorism and terrorism-related crimes and about Justice Department data on the subject,” Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution Benjamin Wittes wrote on Lawfare Tuesday.
Wittes is talking about a comment President Trump made before a joint session of Congress on February 28, 2017, when he wrongly claimed that according to data from the DOJ, the bast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism since 9/11 came from outside of our country.
“According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” the Republican President said, misleadingly.
When Wittes asked on June 12, 2018 the DOJ to conduct a search for records containing this data, since he was sure the DOJ did not in fact collect such data, the DOJ found, “[N]o responsive records were located.”
In other words, Trump lied.
This lie, like his other daily lies, is outrageous in its stupidity and worse yet because Trump’s supporters, who place no value in actual facts or information, heard it and filed it and use it to justify Trump’s inhumane and ineffective so called “no tolerance” border policy.
While Trump focuses his efforts on the border, he and his right wing enablers willfully ignore other forms of terrorism committed by people who are born here, as Wittes pointed out, like anti-choice terrorism, white supremacist violence and militia violence.
In June, 57% opposed building Trump’s all and a whopping 83% supported giving dreamers citizenship (DACA). That is to say, a majority do not support Trump’s wall but do support Obama and the Democrats’ immigration policy.
While he lied long before this poll came out and long before he rounded up babies and put them in cages while separating children from their parents, and it’s important to note that approximately 650 children remain split from parents, Trump lies to give his base a life line.
They don’t care that he’s lying. They don’t care when dismayed friends and relatives try to kindly set them straight using facts. This President is indeed the alternative facts president. He lives in a world of his own making and he tells us what is real. His base worships him and believes him, and this gives Putin everything he wants in regards to chaos and division in our country.
Trump’s lies serve to divide, they serve to distract, they serve to deflect and they feed his base, who need little string to cling to their Resentment Savior.
Republican South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson yelled at former President Obama during a joint session of Congress in 2009, “You lie!” after Obama said that the ACA would not insure illegal immigrants. In fact, Obama did not lie.
Republican Joe Wilson was the liar, believing in right wing conspiracies over facts, way back in 2009.
And now, nine years later, we see the fruits of stoking that hatred and ignorance. Now Republicans have a President who stands before a joint session of Congress and lies to them, and they keep on enabling him.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.