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Letter to the Editor: Bullying and outright lying

Quoting the second sentence of a recent LTE: “Name calling, bullying, false inuendo/accusations and outright lying are the new norm.” Speaking to a group at a Republican Donor Retreat at Mar-a-Lago on April 10, former President Trump called Senate Minority (by one, only if needed, tie-breaking vote) Leader, Mitch McConnell, (R.-Kentucky) a “dumb son of a b—-.”  Source: politico.com, with similar articles in huffpost.com, guardian.com, and slate.com.  In February, Trump had called McConnell “a dour, sullen, unsmiling, political hack.”  Don’t the first three adjectives mean approximately the same thing?

To illustrate “bullying,” I will focus on the treatment of former attorney general Jeff Sessions.  Mr. Sessions, R. Alabama, gave up his Senate seat to serve as President Trump’s first attorney general.  In March of ’17, Sessions recused himself from the investigation into alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign.  President Trump was not pleased with Session’s decision to recuse himself, to put it mildly.  The nytimes.com can take it from there: “After many tweets, press conferences and interviews, President Trump finally pushed out his attorney general” This happened in early November 2018, after the midterm elections. That meant nearly a year-and-a-half of Trump often expressing his displeasure with Sessions.  In a quick return to “name-calling,” in public Trump called the former attorney general “beleaguered, very weak, and disgraceful.” One report indicated that in private the president called the attorney general “Mr. Magoo.”  Noticeable in its absence was Trump’s ultimate insult: “stone cold loser;” he must have saved that for others.

Moving right along to false innuendos/accusations, I found a report by Donovan Slack in USA Today from May 3, 2016: “Trump insinuated that Cruz’s father played some role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. No, really. He brought up a questionable National Enquirer story claiming Rafael Cruz appeared in a photo with the assassin (Lee Harvey Oswald) shortly before the murder.” In reaction to Trump’s accusation, Cruz got into the name-calling game, saying that (then candidate) Trump was “utterly amoral,” and a “pathological liar.”

We now turn to vanityfair.com, a story by Bess Levin dated Feb. 11, 2020, to cover the “outright lying” base.  This headline reports on a rally in New Hampshire: “Trump claims coronavirus will ‘Miraculously’ go away by April.”  He explained, “When temperatures rise ‘the virus’ will ‘miraculously go away.’ ” In a meeting with governors that same week, Trump stated, “We’re (the U.S.) in great shape though.  We have 12 cases, 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.”

Yes, I can certainly understand your concerns about name-calling, bullying, false innuendo/accusation, and outright lying.

Gene Nielsen

Crescent Mills

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