Within the span of a day, President Donald Trump demonstrated a criminal degree of hypocrisy, even by his lofty standards. He also displayed the alarming ease with which he traffics in lies.
This morning, he attacked law enforcement officials at the FBI and pushed the now debunked manufactured conspiracy theory about a government spy in his campaign. This evening, he attacked politicians who he says attacked law enforcement officials, specifically the Democratic Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, and perpetuated the lie about Chicago’s murder rate in the process.
Mayor Emanuel’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is under fire for suspending an officer without pay while a tragic shooting in which he was involved is investigated. Off duty officers gathered at Chicago’s city hall earlier this week to “protest” the move.
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President Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to attack a former Obama official like Rahm Emanuel or blow his dogwhistle over a tragedy in Chicago for political gain, just couldn’t resist chiming in – hypocrisy be damned.
Chicago Police have every right to legally protest against the mayor and an administration that just won’t let them do their job. The killings are at a record pace and tough police work, which Chicago will not allow, would bring things back to order fast…the killings must stop!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
“Chicago Police have every right to legally protest against the mayor and an administration that just won’t let them do their job. The killings are at a record pace and tough police work, which Chicago will not allow, would bring things back to order fast…the killings must stop!” Trump tweeted.
His reference to the “killings” and a “record pace” is his way of perpetuating the myth about Chicago’s supposedly high murder rate, which, as Twitter user Daniel Dale shows, is utterly false:
Trump's claim that Chicago homicide is at a record pace is wildly wrong. In fact, it is down 22% from last year. Shootings are down 27%. Police say gun violence has been down year-over-year for 14 consecutive months. pic.twitter.com/72AlNEukAv
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 25, 2018
“Trump’s claim that Chicago homicide is at a record pace is wildly wrong. In fact, it is down 22% from last year. Shootings are down 27%. Police say gun violence has been down year-over-year for 14 consecutive months,” Dale tweeted in response.
Long ago, American politicians tried desperately to avoid even the appearance of hypocrisy on issues large and small. They didn’t always succeed, but they tried, if for no other reason than their principled supporters with both votes and checkbooks demanded it.
And then Donald Trump launched his campaign for president in 2015, and like so many other norms and unwritten rules of civility and decorum, Washington’s allergy to hypocrisy miraculously evaporated almost overnight.
Suddenly a man whose family manufactured their entire clothing line in China and Mexico could attack corporations for moving jobs overseas; a draft dodger whose father’s wealth spared him a tour in Vietnam could claim to represent the interests of our men and women in uniform; and a documented adulterer and twice-divorced serial philanderer could find himself embraced by the “family values” Christian wing of the Republican Party.
Candidate Trump’s blatant disregard for hypocrisy and the truth has quite clearly followed him into the White House as president, and he continues to flout all conventional norms with gusto.