To the editor:
Political candidates are likely to shade the truth in their favor and cover up the truth when they mess up, so we are right to check their claims. Supporters of Donald Trump, however, say that he “tells it like it is.” Not true. In fact, he carries the abuse of truth to a whole new and dangerous level.
An independent fact-check organization (politifact.com) has rated 206 of Trump’s statements. It found that 144 (70 percent) were mostly false, false, or “pants on fire” false. Examples are Trump’s claim that “we are the highest-taxed nation in the world.” Actually, we are one of the lowest-taxed of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Likewise, Trump has tried to make Hillary Clinton responsible for all the troubles in the Middle East, even though these troubles originated before her time of service and are fed by forces beyond the control of any American Secretary of State.
Some of Trump’s statements show his ignorance. Recently, he said that Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, “did a terrible job in New Jersey.” Kaine is not from New Jersey. He served in Virginia as governor and now senator. Probably Trump confused him with former governor Tom Kean of New Jersey. But many of Trump’s distortions of the truth seem to arise from his constant need to attack his perceived opponents in order to defend himself, a need that “trumps” any concern for the truth.
We should also note Trump’s remarkable flip-flops on the issues. Supporters who think that he is with them on the issues should pause to consider his contrary statements in the past. Before the international negotiations on global warming in 2009, a group of leaders placed a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for aggressive action to combat global warming. One of the signers was Donald Trump. More recently, however, he has said that the concept of global warming “was created by and for the Chinese,” and he has promised to “cancel” the Paris accord, the most significant international agreement to date in response to global warming. Which of these positions represents the real Donald Trump? Is there a real Donald Trump behind the bluster and bragging?
There is abundant evidence to show that Donald Trump cannot be trusted. Voters who think things are so bad that they will vote for Trump, just to get a change, should consider that Trump in the White House could wreck what peace and prosperity we have — by his ill-considered decisions and his habit of alienating people at home and abroad.