Washington Suffers a Credibility Crisis
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Objectively, the credibility of the US government, with either party at the forefront, has always been in question because its foreign policy pronouncements on peace, freedom, democracy and human rights systematically contradict or contrast with its actions.
These days, the Associated Press (AP), a U.S. news agency, lamented in a commentary by its journalists that the conflictive and misleading daily statements of its President, Donald Trump, and the most important members of its team of senior advisors fuel new doubts about the credibility of the White House.
“Some Republican congressmen even wonder if they have a partner in the president of the nation with whom to negotiate in good faith and how much the president’s word is worth.
An AP paper says the former assistant Republican leader in Congress has told the agency that negotiating with White House officials has become impossible for Republicans, given the president’s propensity to undermine the public and private guarantees of his own team. White House officials have been seen in the unusual position of urging legislators to downplay some of the President’s statements.
“Recently, in one of his usual morning tweets, Trump threatened to veto a massive budget bill after the White House itself had assured legislators that the president would sign it.
The White House officials privately insisted, according to the AP journalist, that the president was venting his feelings after hearing reports that the agreement presented a defeat of several of his priorities.
Although, after hours of uncertainty, Trump signed the legislation into law, this situation disturbed some Republicans. “The lack of control over Trump’s outbursts is a concern on both sides of the House,” said a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who has sometimes been critical of the leader. “The disorder, chaos, instability, uncertainty and excessive statements are not the virtues of conservatives,” he said.
Members of both parties have expressed concern that the President seems oblivious to the way in which, by assuming certain positions and then relinquishing them without modesty, he undermines his own influence and agenda.
Trump’s hesitancy with the budget bill was just one in a series of recent incidents that put the credibility of the White House’s words in the spotlight. Earlier this month, during a private fundraising event, Trump boasted of inventing trade data in a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In recent days, Trump and his team have strongly denied the possible dismissal of General Herbert R. McMaster as National Security Advisor, as well as likely changes in the legal team dealing with Trump’s role in the special prosecutor’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election and constitute an obstruction of justice. Beyond public statements, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had privately assured his staff that there would be no restructuring.
But by the end of the week, McMaster had been separated and the legal team seemed to be looking for his replacement.
Trump’s problems with the truth are not new, the AP commentary says, often altering the facts, from the number of people who came to his inauguration to the scope of the tax reform he signed last year. And just as he did in boasting of his lie to Trudeau, the president rarely seems ashamed to repeat claims that have proven to be false. Polls show that Americans do not believe Trump is truthful, and in a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac, 57% of respondents said the president is dishonest. The leader’s supporters say he was elected despite similar polls during his campaign.
Such a bias often puts his advisors in the uncomfortable position of issuing strong public statements that the President immediately denies. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly denied reports of McMaster’s departure in the days leading up to Trump’s announcement that he had a new National Security Advisor.
Peter Wehner, who worked in the governments of President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush said, “Trump has no one to blame but himself. He doesn’t even know his own position.
April 2, 2018.