Democratic candidates can talk about all the indictments and charges the special counsel’s office brought against Russian nationals and Trump advisers, but most Americans will tune them out. Better now for Trump’s antagonists to focus on the stream of lies constantly spewed by the president about policies that impact Americans’ lives every day.
Trump spent his campaign for president lying about the border wall, immigration, health care, Medicare, trade, nuclear threats, terrorism, deficits, tax cuts and countless other things. But unlike his mendacity related to all things Russia, Trump’s lies about policies actually matter to Americans.
Throughout 2016, candidate Trump promised to give health-care coverage to all Americans. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it,” Trump told The Post just before his inauguration. “That’s not going to happen with us.”
Except it did. A year after that vow, President Trump blasted the idea of universal health coverage as costly and ineffective. “No thanks!” he tweeted in February 2018.
Unlike most Republicans, Trump also promised to protect Medicare and Medicaid. He was so proud of this unorthodox stance that he once accused former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee of stealing it from him. But it has been Trump who has proposed stealing billions from Medicare and Medicaid to fund future tax cuts and spikes in military spending.
Instead of cutting around the edges of these programs, Trump’s budgets have taken an ax to them. In his latest spending plan, the president proposed $845 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade. He has also called for massive spending reductions to Medicaid. Seniors and working-class Americans would be the ones most affected. With the number of uninsured Americans on the rise for the first time since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s broken promises will limit patient choices and take money from Americans’ pockets.
That will be an added burden for workers already hurting from Trump’s misguided trade wars. Candidate Trump declared that soaring trade deficits were proof that President Barack Obama and his predecessors sold the United States down the river, and he promised to bring back jobs by negotiating tougher deals with foreign rivals. But two years into Trump’s presidency, the United States has its highest trade deficit ever. It seems the reality TV host’s belief that “winning trade wars is easy” has been undermined by his own pathetic record on trade.
Who looks like the “sucker” now?
Candidate Trump also promised he would pay off the United States’ $20 trillion debt, declaring during a February 2016 debate, that “we will balance our budget, and we will be dynamic again.” But, here again, Trump has lied in a most spectacular way.
Republicans have a sordid record on deficits during the 21st century. President George W. Bush and the GOP Congress doubled the deficit and debt over eight years, but Trump made those big-government Republicans look like cheapskates.
In February, the Trump administration broke the record for the largest monthly deficit in U.S. history. That $234 billion shortfall exceeded all yearly deficits recorded in the first two centuries of this country’s existence. Given his shameless spending record, you will not be surprised to learn that Trump’s promise to pay off the federal debt also turned out to be a lie. The national debt — now $22 trillion — is higher than it’s ever been.
And, of course, candidate Trump also promised to build a border wall that Mexico would pay for. And, of course, Mexico refused, as did Trump’s Republican Party, even when it controlled both the House and Senate.
On the international stage, Trump promised to stop North Korea’s “Rocket Man” from possessing a nuclear arsenal. But a North Korea that continues to have nuclear weapons now seems inevitable, and the tough-talking Trump has been left to write “love letters” to Kim Jong Un.
The president also promised to crack down on illegal immigration. But after inheriting the lowest number of crossings in almost a half century, his administration felt compelled to send troops to Texas to confront a “crisis” along the border.
So, yes, Democrats, Attorney General William P. Barr’s letter to Congress may have ruined your weekend. But if you focus on the present needs of American voters, instead of the past misdeeds of Russian actors, you just may keep this unfit commander in chief from serving another four long years. That would make the shock of this weekend a harmless, distant memory.