President Trump recently tweeted, “The Dems are getting NOTHING done in Congress!” He claimed that Democrats are focused on investigating Trump, leaving no time for passing legislation.
This statement is a lie. In late May, I received a letter from my congressman, Republican Ben Cline, stating, “What many Americans do not know is each week, a whole host of bills are passed under a House provision where there is little debate and often the bills are passed on a voice vote.” Cline went on to discuss nine bills that have been approved within the last month by the House, all dealing with veterans’ issues. These include: HR2333, HR2371, HR2340, HR2359, HR1812, HR2326, and HR2045.
The only thing missing from Cline’s letter was acknowledgement that these bills gained bipartisan approval in a legislative body led by Democrats. Not only are Dems getting something done in Congress, they are doing it by working with Republicans.
A recent Washington Post editorial made a similar point. In “Trump’s Narrative is Nonsense …” Catherine Rampell scolded the media for reporting solely on contentious investigations rather than “other substantive issues that … voters care about.” She listed important bills that the House has passed since January: HR2536, HR1935, HR1239, and HR1612.
According to Congress.gov, the House has passed 235 pieces of legislation since January. Some of these are simple matters passed under the provision mentioned by Cline. However, in the same period of time, the Senate has passed only 17 pieces of legislation, including simple matters. In fact, all the bills mentioned above are sitting in the Republican-controlled Senate, waiting to be considered.
When Trump repeats lies often enough, people come to believe them. Think carefully about his statements. A do-nothing Congress? Look at the evidence. Sleepy Joe Biden? Sounds like a stereotype of a nice person. Crazy Nancy Pelosi? Trump’s way of deflecting criticism. Dumb-as-a-Rock Rex Tillerson? Who hired him to be secretary of state and how did he rise so far at Exxon Mobil? Trump uses such nicknames often, and people come to accept them.
The biggest lie of all is “fake news.” To my mind, declaring something “fake news” is equivalent to saying “I hear what you’re saying but I don’t agree, so I’ll pretend that you’re making it up” or “I don’t want to deal with what you said, so I’ll just ignore it.” If the New York Times, or broadcast news, or Time magazine are deliberately writing falsehoods, it should be worth the president’s time to show what is wrong with those stories and to demand retractions. Shouting “fake news” requires no proof. It is a way of debunking stories without evidence.
Trump’s criticisms cannot be accepted at face value. Calling someone “dumb” over and over does not make that person dumb. If we have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that we must look into the veracity of Trump’s statements. We must think for ourselves.
Susan Sheridan lives in Rockingham.