“Alternative facts?” “Bowling Green massacre?” Sound familiar? It should. These are the strange and unnerving phrases Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Trump, has been using while essentially making stuff up.
Senior adviser Conway came under fire recently for referencing a Bowling Green “massacre” or “attack” in response to Chris Matthews’ question on MSNBC. Yet this massacre or attack never happened.
At first I heard Conway had later offered a correction, admitting she had misspoken when interviewed d by Chris Matthews. Yet this was not the first time Conway had trotted out this lie about a terrorist attack happening on U.S. soil, when it did not. ABC News reported that Cosmopolitan.com reported Conway also made inaccurate comments about attacks in Bowling Green as recently as January 29th. At that same time, she also falsely alleged President Obama implemented a similar ban related to Iraq in 2011. Another lie. President Obama did not implement such a ban.
Conway apparently also told TMZ in an interview, also on January 29th, that there were two Iraqi men who were the “masterminds” behind a Bowling Green attack on American soldiers. Again, this was not true. According to ABC News, the story involved two Iraqi refugees who plotted to attack Americans and later admitted in court to that. But the refugees lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and did not commit any “massacre” or attacks in Bowling Green, as Conway had said.
When did this type of lying and just making stuff up become alright? Well, it’s not in the world in which I was brought up. I know, maybe that’s “old school.” Telling the truth and having integrity in what you do and say, particularly when you are in an important position of leadership and responsibility. Folks have been making jokes about new “alternative facts” and perhaps they should have taken more time to mourn the Bowling Green massacre. . . that never actually happened. Funny? Maybe in the the sad, funny way that you either laugh or you cry.
Two weeks into President Trump’s term and we have now decided that since we elected a Commander in Chief who cannot separate facts from alternative facts, who lies to his constituents, regularly, that this becomes the benchmark for the spokespeople he trots out to tell us information we have a right and need to know? They work for us. Really,
But what is terrifying to me is we are seeing a similar behavior and lack of honesty and integbeing displayed in Trump’s Justice Department. How?
Before U.S. District Court Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order immediately halting federal officers from enforcing sections of the President’s Executive Order ban that targets refugees and imigants from seven Muslim majority countries, he seemed reluctant to conclude that the president’s decision was based on religious discrimination.
Yet when the judge asked Justice Department attorney Michelle Bennett how many foreign nationals of the countries targeted by the ban had been arrested on domestic terrorism charges since 9/11 she said she did not know. As an attorney and having practiced for 30 years, often in federal court, I cannot imagine trying to defend the Executive Order and ban to the judge without knowing what evidence or facts my client was actually relying upon for their position.
While Justice department attorney Bennett may have told Judge Robart she didn’t know, Judge Robart did know, and he informed her that the answer was “none.” Unbelievable.
Our Justice Department was, like Kellyanne Conway, and our President, peddling fear as evidence. Judge Robart, showing a wonderful grasp of the obvious, told Ms. Bennett that “you’re here arguing on behalf of someone who says we have to protect the U.S. from these individuals coming from these countries, and there’s no support for that.” Ms. Bennett said it was the president’s duty to make that call and the judge did not get to look behind those determinations. Thankfully, Judge Robart understood the courts have historically served as the check on the other branches and was having none of it, issued his nationwide order, blocking the president’s Executive Order. The government appealed Judge Robart’s order and the case is awaiting a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Yet it feels in my gut like there is something disturbingly larger going on here in an administration caught up in its own narrative, facts be damned. That narrative leads them to the bizarre place of lying and selling fear as evidence to move forward a self absorbed president’s agenda. That agenda continues to be focused on, well, the president, and not our actual national security. How twilight zone like and troubling to have the most powerful person in the world, our president, peddling lies and misinformation to justify his own delusional and non fact based ends. This should scare the hell out of all of us.
What is perhaps most disturbing to me in this web of lies and alternative facts being force fed by our president and his lackies to a resistant and increasingly skeptical and hostile American public, is what happens when we do have a real crisis, and we need to know the truth, and to be able to unite together as one United States?
The fact of the matter is that our president has, unfortunately, already cried wolf once too often – less than a month into his presidency. I cannot believe anything he tells me, and that terrifies me. Our president seems totally incapable of accepting any truth or set of facts contrary to his own limited view of the world around him. What’s next? Impeachment? Stay tuned.
Honesty, integrity, facts. They all matter. It will continue to be our responsibility as engaged Americans to create opportunities to speak out and take action against these lies and alternative facts and demand the honesty and integrity from our elected leaders needed to preserve and defend our democracy from our real enemies – foreign and domestic.