Trump Will Give a Speech Tomorrow Night. It Will Probably be Based on Lies and Other Assorted Falsehoods

trump at wall

Donald Trump will be speaking to the nation tomorrow night about the government shutdown and his border wall.

Trump will probably say that immigrants are coming across the border and trying to kill American citizens.  Yes, there have been people killed at the hands of undocumented immigrants.  This is a tragedy and the loss of a human life should never be taken lightly.

But, as I wrote in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trumpthe chance that an American will die at the hands of a refugee terrorist is about one in 10.9 million per year. One is more likely to die from walking across a railroad track or having one’s clothes spontaneously catch fire.  Yet Trump has managed to convince some Americans that Mexican immigrants are imminent threats to their safety.  This is the foundation of his immigration policy and his commitment to the border wall.  And one could argue that the wall is at the heart of his political brand.  It is based on fear.

If Trump wants to build a domestic policy around protecting the lives of everyday Americans, he should be spending billions on cancer research, heart disease research, diabetes research, the opiod crisis, Alzheimer’s research, safer systems of transportation, and suicide prevention. These are the largest causes of death in the United States.  Or how about spending money on long-term issues that will save lives–the protection of the environment, the reduction of the number of abortions in the United States, and affordable health care?

Do we need border security?  Yes.  Do we have an immigration problem that needs to be fixed?  Yes.  But if Trump really wants to keep more Americans alive he can spend that 5 billion in more fruitful ways.

More specifically, Trump will probably appeal to the so-called “4000 known or suspected terrorists” coming into our country illegally.  On Sunday, Chris Wallace debunked this claim in dramatic fashion before a national audience:

By the way, Chris Wallace works for Fox News.

Trump may try to declare a “National Emergency” based on this false information.  He will also accuse the Democrats in Congress that they do not care about the safety of our country.  But there is no national emergency.  I recently heard CNN Phil Mudd wonder when the last time a President of the United States had to go before the American people to persuade them that we were in the midst of a national emergency?  Aren’t national emergencies pretty obvious?  And don’t they usually get bipartisan support?  Maybe some of my presidential historian friends can help me with that one.

And finally, Trump may say that most of the American people support his decision to shut-down the government in order to get a wall.  This is another lie.  One recent poll found that 78% of Americans approve of some kind of compromise on border security.

Trump recently told the press that he “can relate” to the hundreds of thousands of people who are not receiving paychecks because of the government shut down. Really?  He added: “I’m sure the people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments; they always do.” I’ve seen this before.  Trump seems to be making some kind 18th-century appeal to political virtue. In other words, he believes the federal workers will be willing to give up some of their own self-interest (in this case their paychecks) in order to support a greater good (security through a border wall).  The Founding Fathers tried appeals to virtue in the 1770s and 1780s and they did not work very well.  They do not seem to be working very well today either.

15 thoughts on “Trump Will Give a Speech Tomorrow Night. It Will Probably be Based on Lies and Other Assorted Falsehoods

  1. As an aside, I do genuinely appreciate that you told me you respect my passion, and encouraged me. As you’ve probably noticed I’m pretty alone as an evangelical convicted about climate change, at least for the moment. And it’s been hard. Most Christians who will talk to me about climate change tell me I’m wrong for being convicted or wanting to repent for harming my neighbors and God’s creation. Christians in my church and my family have argued I’m a heretic for being convicted. I’ve had to navigate that discouragement alone, and I’ve really struggled. I’ve felt like there’s something wrong with me or my faith, that God would convict only me? I’ve considered ignoring my conviction. But I have a son, and I need to repent for his sake. Even if I can’t stop climate change he needs me to model how to repent even when it’s hard. That’s the kind of man I’d want him to be. So you’re encouragement goes a long way to helping me be the kind of father I want to be. So sincere thank you for making room in your internet comment for encouragement.


  2. Tony, I don’t mean to misunderstand you. That’s why I asked you if that’s what you meant. If I misinterpreted your inclusion of fossil fuel pollution on your list of over-hyped problems than maybe you could clearify what you meant by including it.

    And I don’t see how solutions are relevant to this discussion of how severe problems are. Unless you think trashing solutions somehow argues that millions aren’t dying from fossil fuel pollution. Or that maybe we shouldn’t be concerned that millions are dying from fossil fuel pollution. But since you brought it up, what do you think are the most effective policies or solutions for protecting our neighbors, our children, and God’s creation from the consequences of burning fossil fuels? I’ve asked you at least three times now, and I’ve already stated that I worry your silence means you don’t think there is any way to protect our neighbors, our children, and God’s creation from the consequences of our fossil fuel consumption.


  3. As to the outdated 4% number, it’s a bit higher now. Also too, using global percentage dilutes the efficacy of renewables with individual nation percentages being much much higher. Here, let’s ask a petroleum company:

    https://www.bp DOT com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy/renewable-energy.html


  4. “America’s CO2 emissions have been substantially reduced, largely due to … fracking.”

    You are cherry picking old data and presenting a false picture. You might also want to look into methane emissions and, of course, damage to critical aquifers.


  5. Political rhetoric today is often quite over the top. I don’t know how it compares to all eras of our history. I know it was intense prior to the civil war, and during John Adams’ presidency.
    To kind of excuse Trump because he is not very different from some other of today’s politicians and public figures is basically saying the presidency has lost or never had a place of moral example, lor eadership, or was an office where the people AS a people have their ONE representative who can guide them forward.
    I guess it’s necessary to suspend that concept of the presidency for now because we have one who has no interest or understanding of that kind of presidency.
    We should expect more of a president than your run of the mill most dishonest and inflammatory political figures.


  6. Simpler explanation, Tony:
    We’re all characters in a South Park episode.
    (If not Family Guy.)

    Makes as much sense as anything these days…


  7. “Are you saying …”

    Alex, with all due respect, you have ignored the words that I actually wrote, so you could insert your own words.

    But to address your entirely separate question, do you think that right now, impoverished people across the third world with no access to the life-saving and life-improving benefits provided by fossil fuels, would be better off if they were prohibited — for their own good, of course — from using cheap, coal-fired electricity to have running water, and heat, and power for machinery?

    Everything is about trade offs. Renewables, right now, represent about 4 percent of all global energy production. (Most of which — read: wind and solar — due to the insoluble problems of intermittency and, thus, unreliability — must be backstopped by conventional power sources.) We are nowhere close to transitioning away from fossil fuels. I’m all for exploration of new, cleaner sources of energy, including nuclear. But any renewable future is decades upon decades away. And, in the meantime, entering into economically disastrous “accords” — mostly designed to redistribute wealth — which the chief global polluters (see: China, India) have no intention of complying with, is in my view entirely misguided. (Btw: you have been pleased, I assume, that America’s CO2 emissions have been substantially reduced, largely due to … fracking.)

    I respect your passion and your commitment to what you believe to be an urgent cause. I hope you keep pursuing it. I also fully agree that Christians have an obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation. We simply differ on the most effective policies toward that end.


  8. “Yet, I don’t remember a similar, data-driven vetting of the Left’s incessant — and ongoing — … Cassandrian assurances that millions surely would die after we pulled out of a farcical, non-binding Paris climate accord”
    Are you saying you have not seen data driven peer reviewed studies showing that burning fossil fuels is killing millions of people?


  9. “Aren’t national emergencies pretty obvious?”

    That’s an interesting question. We’ve been assured — since November of 2016, by many people in the media, the D party, Hollywood, higher education — that Donald Trump’s mere residence in the oval office is a national emergency, an unprecedented calamity, an incipient dictatorship, an impending Reichstag. (I am not lumping John in here. While I disagree with some of his critique of Trump — mostly as to why it should not have applied with equal, disqualifying force to Hillary — his arguments are serious and important for Christians on whatever side of the political fence to grapple with.) This is not my hyperbole; seemingly every other day we get fevered allusions to 1939 from supposedly respectable thinkers, freely typing their Resistance missives from Chipotle. This doomsday “consensus” is not only not obvious outside of various progressive monocultures, it is deeply unserious. Should we characterize all such claims as facially absurd — and historically inaccurate — falsehoods? Or just subjective differences of opinion and perspective?

    Just a few weeks ago, John extolled the excellence of an anonymously sourced WaPo editor– er, news article, which asserted that Mattis’s resignation and Trump’s (still unimplemented) decision to pull troops out of Syria (pre-Orange Chancellor something the Left would have cheered) constituted a government in “crisis.” Two weeks later, that day’s hyperventilation is down the memory hole. Was that a lie? Intentionally misleading? I’m pretty sure that John would take issue with any claim by Trump that we have a “crisis” at our border. Crises for me but not for thee.

    John points out that statistically, the chances of someone being harmed by an illegal immigrant are vanishingly small. Absolutely true. Yet, I don’t remember a similar, data-driven vetting of the Left’s incessant — and ongoing — claims about an “epidemic” of unjustified police shootings of minorities (also incredibly rare), or the Cassandrian assurances that millions surely would die after we pulled out of a farcical, non-binding Paris climate accord, or if the ACA were repealed, etc., etc. All knowing whoppers, yes? But useful, to rouse the fellow travelers.

    I don’t agree with much of Trump’s rhetoric re: immigration, but that’s exactly what it is. Political rhetoric, of the exact same kind which is employed on a daily basis by his ideological opponents to sway public opinion. Should Trump be called out when he says inflammatory and divisive things? Yes. I’m fine if we want to lament this state of affairs across the political spectrum, but let’s stop pretending that Trump is some outlier on this score. Moreover, the issue of border security and immigration enforcement is a serious one, that does have national security implications and which impacts many Americans directly who live at the border but whose concerns don’t much matter to far removed Beltway denizens who will never be forced to confront these issues in their gated neighborhoods. And the moral questions are thorny, and cut both ways. There is no getting around the fact that Ronil Singh. Kate Steinle and many others were victims of people who never should have been in this country, and were allowed to remain because of lax immigration enforcement policies — up to and including sheltering known felons from ICE detainer requests — favored by people who talk a lot about empathy.

    I do not think the situation at the border is a national emergency, and I do not believe that Trump should do an end run around Congress to fund a wall. Though, it raises the salient question: who was it that established the executive unbound, “pen and phone” precedent re: immigration policy when “Congress won’t act”? It will come to me any moment now. But — as for the prevarication and exaggeration for political ends? I find the indignation highly selective.


  10. And Born-Again Bible-Believing Christians will be cheering the loudest.


  11. “I recently heard CNN Phil Mudd wonder when the last time a President of the United States had to go before the American people to persuade them that we were in the midst of a national emergency?”
    Has anyone ever told the President Climate Change is going to cause mass immigration on a scale hitherto undreamt of?


  12. I don’t know if I stand to watch it.
    And a critical mass of today’s politicians’ first loyalty is to their own reelection efforts, then to party, and a pretty distant third, the country. So in this case the republicans will not do enough to check the President.
    He will try to push on with his irresponsible responses to his fabricated crisis. Americans will be negatively affected but his base will join him in blaming “the other side”, and somehow he will claim victory or claim the outcome was what he said he wanted all along and his base will cheer.


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