A recent viral Facebook post noted, “Trump said ‘hundreds’ of governors are calling him…& we only have 50.”
It’s easy to see why such a post would go viral among Trump opponents–it portrays President Donald Trump as both a liar and an ignoramus, claiming to receive calls from “hundreds” of governors, when, of course, there are only 50 states.
But the post is false. What President Trump actually said, after showing a video clip of various governors praising him, was that, “We could give you hundreds of clips just like that. We have hundreds of statements. Hundreds of statements, including from Democrats and Democrat governors.”
President Trump may still have been lying when he made that statement, but it did not indicate that he failed to understand that the United States of America has only 50 governors.
I can imagine a Trump opponent saying, “So what? Trump lies all the time. Why shouldn’t his opponents give him a taste of his own medicine?”
The problem with this “anything goes/take the gloves off” attitude is that it prioritizes positions over principles.
I opposed President Trump. I don’t oppose him because he is Donald Trump; I oppose him because he violates and attacks key principles that I hold dear, such as truth, logic, reason, science, compassion, respect, and many, many more.
Those who oppose President Trump should try not to allow their anger and disgust to cloud their judgment. They should remember what principles are behind their anger and disgust, and most avoid violating those principles in the name of partisanship.
The notion of “owning the Libs” should be repugnant to all, including principled conservatives, because it implies that partisan victory is the highest objective, not living up to one’s principles. The same should be true of using fake news to criticize President Trump for principled liberals (classical or contemporary).
Defeating President Trump in the 2020 election by sacrificing truth and reason would be, at best, a Pyrrhic victory. This would set the United States on a path to swinging wildly between demagogues on the left and right.
If, like me, you oppose President Trump’s constant lying because of its corrosive effect on America, then do not fool yourself into thinking that you can heal that corrosion with more of the same, but from a different direction.