By BILL DELEHUNT
Highlighting a full week’s worth of the Trump administration’s missteps, blunders, misdirection and outright lies is so difficult, you’d almost wish The Minaret was a daily newspaper. (No, really, none of the staff wishes that.)
Let’s talk about lies.
In December, President Barack Obama declared 35 Russian diplomats “persona non-grata” and expelled them from the country, claiming they had spied on America and may have tampered with the presidential election. The day after that happened, ex-National Security Advisor (NSA) Mike Flynn, who held no government position at that time but was designated by Donald Trump to be NSA, had a phone call with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. Flynn denied twice that he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions on Russia since that would be both unethical and illegal. Undercutting the outgoing president by making promises to a long-time rival/enemy could be seen as treason. Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that message, that there had been no discussion about sanctions, in defense of Flynn. Now, nine current or former senior intelligence officials say that is exactly the conversation which took place between Flynn and Kislyak, and they have a recording to back up their version (yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he listens in on Russian telephone calls in the U.S.). Flynn backtracked, saying he did not recall whether or not the sanctions came up in his phone call, directly contradicting his earlier denials. Either Flynn lied to Pence, or Pence lied to the American public. That’s not good, especially for guys who have only been in office three weeks. The first rule of lying is to make sure that everyone is telling the same one. Rule two is to make sure there is no evidence that shows you are lying. On Feb. 13, amidst all this drama, Flynn resigned his position as National Security Advisor – a telling sign.
But let’s move on from those two and focus for a moment on political activist and presidential consult Kellyanne Conway. Conway began the 2016 presidential campaign working for Texas Senator Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz. President Donald Trump dispatched Cruz from the race in part by continually referring to him as “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz. After “Lyin’ Ted” pulled out, free agent Conway signed on board with the Trump campaign. After her big win, Conway continued to work for Trump as counselor to the president. In a December interview with Fox Business Network, she claimed to be able to juggle her work responsibilities and home life, “Because I don’t play golf and I don’t have a mistress.” Really? How much time does a mistress take up? One wonders, but that’s neither here nor there. We could ask her new boss, who is an expert on both those subjects, but pointing that out is just rude.
Since assuming the spokesperson role of, “What the president meant to say, is,” Conway has been trotted out frequently to address the national press. She is glib, slippery and can change the subject so quickly the interviewer is disarmed and misdirected. After White House spokesman Sean Spicer lied to the press corps about the size of the crowd at the inauguration, Conway went on the Sunday morning shows and said Spicer was using “alternative facts.” For those of you whose first language is not “politician,” the English translation for “alternative facts” is “lying through your teeth.”
Conway does not just spin others’ lies, though. In a national interview with Hardball host Chris Matthews about the Trump Administration’s court case on banning U.S. entry to visa and green card holders, Conway said such action was vital to national security. Otherwise, there could be another, under reported, terrorist attack like the Bowling Green Massacre. If you wonder how you could have missed such a hideous assault on U.S. soil, relax. You didn’t miss it. It NEVER happened. Conway fabricated the entire attack, deliberately over-blowing the actual incident in which two refugees were buying weapons over the internet and sending them to groups in the Middle East. There was no “massacre” in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Maybe it was just more, “alternative facts?” But, this is where Conway’s lie gets really interesting.
The next day, Conway took to Twitter to retract her statement, saying she had misspoken, and used the wrong word, “massacre,” instead of the one she meant, “terrorist.” Casting herself as a victim, she blamed the media for making so much out of her one word faux pas. However, it turns out she had already told that same lie about the Bowling Green Massacre to Cosmopolitan magazine in an interview four days before puking it into Chris Matthews’ lap.
It’s difficult, but let’s see if we can count all the Bowling Green Massacre lies from this single story. Kellyanne Conway lied about this non-existent attack on a Thursday, lied about it being a mistake on Friday, and we know that’s a lie because she had already told the same lie the previous Sunday. It’s a ménage à trois des mensonges, a threesome of lies.
So, we’ve got either the National Security Advisor lying and the Vice President covering for him by lying, or the National Security Advisor lying to the Vice President who isn’t bright enough to figure it out. The Counselor to the President of the United States told a lie, then told a lie about the lie, and we know that was a lie because she had told the first lie once before.
Or maybe these are all just alternative facts.
Bill Delehunt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.