Austin R. Cooper Jr.ColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

COOPER: Trump’s House of Lies

“Though nothing Donald did surprised me, the speed and volume with which he started inflicting his worst impulses on the country — from lying about the crowd size at the inauguration and whining about how poorly he was treated to rolling back environmental protections, targeting the Affordable Care Act in order to take affordable health care away from millions of people, and enacting his racist Muslim ban — overwhelmed me.”

These words were written by Dr. Mary L. Trump, the President’s niece, in her recently released book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” Needless to say, the Trump presidency has not only overwhelmed him, but also much of America and indeed, the world. To quote both President Trump and former First Lady Michelle Obama, “It is what it is.”

In a column titled, “Now Our Nation Must Heal,” written a few days before the November 2016 election, but published two days afterwards, I wrote these words: “May all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, remember these words spoken in 1858 by Sen. Stephen Douglas to Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency: ‘Partisan feelings must yield to patriotism. I’m with you, Mr. President and God Bless you.'” I went on to write, “Madame President or Mr. President-Elect, America is already great. May you have the vision, desire, compassion, fortitude and patience to unite this country.”

In the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, never, even for one day, has he demonstrated “the vision, desire, compassion, fortitude and patience to unite this country.” During the 2016 primaries, former Gov. Jeb Bush was accurate in his premonition about Trump: “He’s a chaos candidate and he’d be a chaos president.”

Trump’s vision for America? Divisive. His desire for healing the nation? Not even on his radar. Ability to show compassion? Only for Vladimir Putin. Twisted capacity to demonstrate fortitude? Ask Stormy Daniels. Patience? Only for that which financially benefits himself, family and friends.

Much of last week’s GOP convention production was illegal. The Hatch Act specifically prohibits federal employee participation in most partisan political activities. For example, calls for campaign political contributions cannot be made from government offices. True, the act does not apply to either the president or vice president. Nonetheless, it was illegal to host convention activities at the White House. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is a federal employee. Yet, she introduced her father for his acceptance speech from the South Lawn. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also a federal employee. Despite this, he endorsed the President for reelection while on official business and foreign soil, at the expense of all taxpayers.

When White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was asked about convention conflicts with the Hatch Act, he replied, “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values, and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats.”

There are three problems with his answer: First, it is clear that Meadows believes that the president is above the law. Second, President Obama appreciated and respected the U.S. Constitution, throughout his eight-year presidency. He was also a law-abiding citizen before seeking elected office and remains so. Third, under President Obama, COVID-19 would not have gotten out of control, therefore, there would have been no need for both political conventions to have been virtual.

That’s the difference between competence versus incompetence. It is not a political statement, just a factual one. During the Ebola crisis, only two people died in this country. Comparatively, during the two weeks of the Democratic and Republican conventions, over 10,000 Americans died from the coronavirus. Anyone remember Trump’s 2016 claim, “I alone can fix this?”

During his speech, President Trump said, “There will be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, and maybe sooner.” Another lie. Name one respected expert who considers this statement to be truthful. Certainly not, for example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the world’s most respected epidemiologists.

From the very beginning of this once-in-a-generation crisis, the president has repeatedly lied about this pandemic and the country’s preparation for it. His lies and lack of preparedness have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of approximately 200,000 Americans and the permanent loss of millions of jobs.

“Donald cares for no one or anyone other than himself,” says Mary Trump. Yet, Trump’s House of Lies remains standing, for at least another sixty-one days. It needs to fall … no masks and all… now.

Cooper is president of Cooper Strategic Affairs, Inc.

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Austin R. Cooper Jr.

Austin R. Cooper, Jr., is an experienced government affairs and public relations professional. He has over 25 years of related experience and accomplishments working in senior-level positions on Capitol Hill, as a state lobbyist for the City of New York under former Mayor David Dinkins and with Edelman Worldwide and Hill & Knowlton. For several years, he also served as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) in Atlanta, GA. Austin is currently the President of Cooper Strategic Affairs, LLC, which provides government relations and communications counsel to government and non-government organizations in Washington, DC.

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