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Trump’s Enablers & Bad Samaritans Imperil Us All

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 “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire

In an Oval Office meeting, Jan. 11, 2018, Trump became frustrated with legislators when they proposed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration plan.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?,” Trump said. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway.

Earlier, Trump is reported to have said of Haitians currently in the U.S. that they “all have AIDS,” and that the 40,000 Nigerians in the U.S. would never “go back to their huts.”

We have long known that Donald Trump is a liar and a racist neo-nationalist. Republican leaders and their supporters who don’t speak out are enablers and are themselves racist conspirators!

“Enabler” is the term given to those who fail to act to help abusers. “Passive bystander” or “bad Samaritan” is the name for people who are conscious of bad actions developing around them but fail to intervene. Enabling and passively standing by take many forms, including literally offering an addict substances or conspiring with an abuser in a sinister plot, contributing to the denial of addicts and aggressors by asserting that they don’t have a problem, to downplaying the seriousness and making excuses for their behaviors, translating for others what the person “really meant,” downright lying, and so on.

How many times have we heard, “He didn’t mean it that way. What he really meant to say was…” and “You are misunderstanding her,” to “I got this black eye by walking into a door.”

Sarah Huckabee Goebbels, Trump Minister of Propaganda and Disinformation frequently verbally attacks members of the press at her White House press briefing for asking questions that may in any way challenge the president’s reasoning or truthfulness.

For example, at a press briefing January 11, 2018, just hours before Trump’s racist immigration comments, several reporters asked Sarah for clarification of the president’s early-morning tweets concerning a House of Representatives reauthorization vote on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which they found contradictory and perplexing. To which she initially responded, “We weren’t confused.”

“His tweet today was contradictory,” said Hallie Jackson, NBC Chief White House correspondent. “It was confusing. It just was.”

Unable to offer any reasoned clarification, Huckabee Goebbels went into personal attack mode: “Uh…” she replied, “I think that the premise of your question is completely ridiculous and shows the lack of knowledge that you have on this process.”

I often wonder how Trump enablers can sleep at night and get back up in the morning still willing to degrade and prostrate themselves by attacking our democratic institutions and seriously dismantling our country’s standing in the world.

Each time anyone enables an abusive action, they keep perpetrators and themselves further from the truth and from help, and they diminish themselves and their integrity more than just a bit.

I have been stuck time and time again throughout the post-factual campaign, transition, and now presidency of Donald J. Trump of the lies, the verifiable lies, big and small that he spreads: from his claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, to the  “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey who cheered when the twin towers crashed down on 9-11, to “I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” to the border wall that the Mexican government will pay for, to Trump’s assertion that he appeared on the cover of Time magazine more than any other person ever, to his scathing attacks on the U.S. Intelligence agencies who he accused of leaking “false” documents signifying that Russia influenced the 2016 election, to his oppressive characterizations of entire groups of people and nations.

Even more troubling, however, are the Trump enablers who defend and articulate more clearly what “Trump was actually saying.” These enablers include counselor Kellyanne Conway, daughter Ivanka Trump, Vice President Pence, Evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr., White House Reich Minister of Propaganda and Disinformation, Sarah Huckabee Goebbels, and many other advisors and surrogates.

These enablers spin the facts by turning themselves into virtual pretzels in defense of Trump’s attempts, to paraphrase Voltaire, make us believe his absurdities intended to give him permission to commit possible atrocities.

His sustained and vicious attacks on what he refers to as the “dishonest and corrupt” media imperils our very freedom of the press as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Fortunately, the Fourth Estate, while making some mistakes, fact-checks itself and our politicians, including Trump, and by so doing, exposes his lies for what they are.

The Washington Post found Trump to have told in the range of 2000 false or misleading statements over a 355 day period.

From the beginning of his presidential campaign and into his tenure in the Oval Office, some have challenged the accuracy of Trump’s assertions. One of Trump’s pretzels finally crumbled under the weight of her own absurdities when called out by the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd on the January 22 broadcast.

Todd challenged Kellyanne Conway about the statement made by Sean Spicer, Trump’s first Minister of Propaganda and Disinformation, that “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.” When Todd referred to Spicer’s claim as “a falsehood,” Conway said.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.” Todd immediately shot back: “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.” Another way to phrase it, they are lies.

So questions remain:

How long will it take for Trump’s supporters to finally realize they have been duped by this con-artist who sold them his snake-oil-of-a-campaign-and-presidency of little value, which can have disastrous consequences? How much longer can Trump’s enablers, and passive and active supporters understand that they are hurting the country and sacrificing their own integrity and sense of dignity for the mere promise of a few shinny coins of glittering gold and the hot glow of fleeting power?

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

January 12th, 2018 at 10:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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