About a week ago, Kelleyanne Conway described the Trump administration’s “alternative facts” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
While this was a bad move for anyone hoping to defend Trump’s out-of-control lies, it is the most polite way of calling BS and should be a wake-up call to anyone who still believes Trump is an honest man.
Since then, NPR has started what will (hopefully) be a weekly column entitled “This Week in Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts.'”
This aggressive fact checking is necessary for this administration. Even during the presidential debates last year, Trump did not believe in preparing facts and memorizing details about the issues he would need to address. Instead, his answers in the debate used key phrases and buzz words because “most viewers will not remember [policy minutiae] in an hour.”
This was early evidence of Trump’s refusal to engage in critical thinking on problems that he is now able to swiftly solve with an executive order.
Relatedly, Trump has also stated that he does not need daily briefings. Instead, he has opted for a more laid-back approach: weekly briefings and telling his advisers to let him know if anything changes. This, of course, relies on other people to know when a change is important enough to call the president and on Trump to remember everything in the briefings for an entire week.
Trump isn’t an unintelligent man, but his trend of shirking off facts is a sign of mental weakness. Seeking continuous counsel from experts in a given field (and listening to what those experts say) is a necessary part of being president. More than that, it’s a necessary part of being a person in the world today.
If you want information on health, you go to a doctor. If you need legal advice, you find a lawyer. And if you’re the President of the United States, you listen to daily briefings and learn the facts of a situation.
Trump’s refusing to follow this logical pattern is a bad sign for the years to come. Presidents need to know and acknowledge the facts of a situation to be able to act appropriately. “Alternative facts” are not acceptable when the truth is so easily accessed.