Readers Write: ‘The art of prevarication’

Readers Write: ‘The art of prevarication’

Does the number 16,000 sound familiar? It’s the number of lies and misleading statements that President

Donald J. Trump has told since becoming president. The source for this information is the Washington Post’s fact-checker. If you are a fan of 45, you may question the source. Hopefully, the remainder of this letter will convince you that I’m correct.

In an act of masochism,  I have watched every single one of the news briefings which Trump has held this past week. Here are some of the statements which drove me to distraction.

When asked about the discrepancy in the number of deaths among Afro- Americans and whites due to the coronavirus, the president said he would have to look into it. How can anyone not know why blacks die more frequently than whites?

Blacks live in greater poverty, live in sub-standard housing, receive less funding for schools, and suffer more from asthma, obesity and other diseases.

I suggest the president read the Kerner Commission report which talks about institutional racism and states: “Our nation is moving towards two societies one white, one black –  separate and unequal.”

The real estate developer turned president displays abysmal ignorance of U.S. History.        Had he read Gunnar Myrdal’s “An American Dilemma,” (a, groundbreaking study) he would know this.

Trump’s ignorance of Afro-American history was revealed when he spoke about Frederick Douglass. Trump said—“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more.” This line tells me Trump never heard of Douglass

He should also be taught that you don’t write in the present tense about someone who’s been dead for over 100 years.

Possibly the most alarming utterance in his daily briefings was his asking coronavirus patients to take hydrochloroquine.

According to the New York Times, he  repeatedly asked the following question: ” What do  you  have to lose?” To which one physician responded “your life.”

There is nothing wrong with hydrochloroquine if you have malaria, but Trump’s anecdotal illustration about one patient who was remarkably cured is not the kind proof scientists look for.

Trump’s remarks are anecdotal and not what scientists consider when evaluating a drug. Trump, obviously never took a research course at Wharton.

If Trump were more patient and willing to await the results of reputable labs, we would all know whether hydrochloroquine works on destroying the coronavirus. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that the president continued his attack upon “fake news” reporters. He admonished one of them for asking a question which he described as “snarky.”

Trump would like to be asked “soft-ball” questions. What he doesn’t understand is that the job of reporters is to be adversarial. Reporters understand this and are the guardians of our democracy.

Trump has repeatedly stated: “Some people said we should do nothing about the pandemic.” Of course, doing nothing was never really an option, which is why he never states who the “some people” are.

You are on safe ground if you believe that “some people” translates to “I.” Trump was asked about the recent election in Wisconsin. He took this opportunity to complain about the likelihood of fraud when states allowed voters to send their ballots in by mail.

Of course, all the studies which have been conducted show that voter fraud is rare. The  Washington Post reports:  “…there were a total of four confirmed cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election. That’s out of about 135 million votes cast.”

One very smart reporter pointed out that Trump himself had cast a vote from Mar A Lago, Florida. Hoisted on own petard!

I wish that Benedict Donald was capable of changing his views about truth and falsehoods. Given his mental state, this is unlikely! We are cursed by having a pathological liar in the White  House when we need a leader with intelligence and wisdom.

In a recent book called “Leadership in Turbulent Times,” presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about those qualities necessary for in great leaders. (She chose as her subjects include Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.) Unfortunately, “the Donald” possesses none of the virtues of these leaders.

On a lighter note, Bill Maher mentioned that Trump was like the toddler sitting in the back seat with his toy auto who thinks he’s driving the car.

Dr. Hal Sobel

Great Neck



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