The Directory of the Big Lies cynically and unethically employed by the President’s political opponents continues with…
Big Lie #2. “Trump is not a legitimate President”
Although this was not the first of the Big Lies, it was the foundation of all the others to come. The assertion, seeded by Hillary Clinton and spread by pundits and the news media, is pure poison to the democracy, national unity, the public trust, and the national welfare.
It boggles the mind that progressives and Democrats have been willing to risk so much harm to the United States and its culture for the sole purpose of waging political warfare against the President of the United States. I have to believe that at other times in our history, any party considering such a strategy would be stopped short by a respected and responsible leader. Incredibly, the Democrats didn’t have one (and still don’t). The obvious individual who could have minimized the political and cultural carnage was Barack Obama. He had neither the courage, the character nor the bi-partisan concern for the nation to do so. This was one more failure of leadership for the most wildly over-praised President in U.S. history.
The most damning aspect of the Democrats’ refusal after the election to follow the tradition of all previous losing parties is that they had lectured Donald Trump, when they were certain of victory, about how he was obligated to accept the will of the voters.
Hillary Clinton, another leader of the party who could have killed this insidious tactic in its cradle, was very clear on how essential such acceptance was—when she thought Trump would be the loser:
“To say you won’t respect the results of the election, that is a direct threat to our democracy,” she said at a rally at a late October rally the University of North Carolina. “We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.” Later, she said unequivocally that “The peaceful transfer of power is one of the things that makes America America.”
For once, Hillary was right. Unable to accept her own responsibility for her shocking defeat, however, she engaged in the exact conduct that she had—correctly—condemned as dangerous, and allowed (and I assume encouraged) her party to employ it—to this day—as its signature Big Lie.
The claim that an elected President is “illegitimate” is technically sedition: it is an invitation and incitement to insurrection. The violent antifa riots around the Capital during the inauguration were the predictable result of the accusation, which had and has literally, beyond question, not an atom, not an electron of evidence to support it, only unhinged, unjust, hyperbolic contrivances. They begin with the fact that Trump lost the popular vote, just like four previous Presidents did, in a system that is enshrined in the Constitution and that every citizen, politician and elected official accepts as a condition of being an American, being suddenly pronounced as unacceptable.
Rep. John Lewis, whose position for two decades has been that no Republican President is legitimate, since he boycotted both the inauguration of George W. Bush and Trump, went a long way toward spreading Big Lie #2 by saying on NBC that he did not see Trump as a legitimate President because “Russian interference” resulted in the revelation of DNC documents and may have altered the election results. No evidence had surfaced or has ever surfaced that the Russian shenanigans changed sufficient numbers of votes or any votes at all to effect the results of the 2016 election.
We now know that the Obama Administration let the Russian efforts go on unimpeded—it takes a twisted path to reach the argument that Trump is an illegitimate President because the previous President from the adversary party neglected his duties. Most troubling of all, to me, at least, is that in the case of the hacked documents, Americans learned quite a bit about how corrupt Clinton and her campaign, as well as the DNC , were, and it was information they had a right to know. If an American had hacked the exact same documents and the media revealed them, as of course they would, the claim that any influence on the election was unfair would have been regarded as laughable. If Hillary Clinton has been elected without the public knowing about the Clinton Foundation’s corrupt maneuvers, the campaign using a CNN contributor to cheat in debates and town meetings, and the sinister sabotage of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the nomination, there would have been a much stronger argument that she was “an illegitimate President’ than any of the claims made about Donald Trump.
The “Illegitimate President” trope seeded all of the “not my President ” demonstrations with a rationalization, though a false one, and justified, also falsely, the effort to try to hijack the Electoral College, argument that the President should be impeached before he was even inaugurated, and the organized attempts to sabotage the Presidents’ inauguration, traditionally a unifying and healing event. I blame Lewis for the latter, as well as Trump’s foolish and typical insults leveled against “the civil rights icon” which gave members of the Congressional Black Caucus what they needed to let them join the boycott.
After that, the “illegitimate” slur gave Democrats, “the resistance” and the media, as well as many unethical professional groups a catalyst to activate various plots to remove him without risking the uncertainty of another election.
I tried to find any serious effort to assemble real evidence for the “illegitimate” claim. As is typical when using Big Lies, most screeds asserting this one just restated the lie. That’s enough to accomplish Goebbels’ goal: make the target and his supporters deny the lie, making it a controversy and keeping the lie before the public. Thank heaven for Old Big Mouth himself, Michael Moore. In January, before the Inauguration, he listed on Facebook his six reasons why Trump was “not a legitimate President.”
He had nothing. Here are the six:
- The Electoral College shouldn’t count. But it does, and that’s the law, you hack.
- Trump “isn’t well.” That’s funny; I don’t think Moore is well. This is, of course, just a proto- Plan E , later resurfacing as the 25th Amendment plot, aided by unprofessional psychiatrists who purported to diagnose someone they had neither examined nor even met. Not only is the claim unsubstantiated, it’s irrelevant. Being “not well” wouldn’t make Trump’s Presidency illegitimate. If the public knowingly elected a certified lunatic as President, the election would still be legitimate. No one can claim the electorate didn’t know Trump’s personality, character and eccentricities by the time they went to the polls.
- The Russian interference. Moore, hilariously, said this unmeasurable factor requires a do-over.
- The FBI chose sides, Moore says. This one is especially funny in retrospect.
- For #5, Moore just splashed around like a wounded cod. The President is illegitimate because he appointed someone Michael Moore doesn’t like (Ex-SOS Rex Tillerson) as Secretary of State. This “reason” actually exposes what the whole Big Lie is about in its entirety. Trump is “illegitimate” because progressives don’t like him or what he wants to do. This clip has never been more appropriate:
6. is ridiculous, and yet it is something we still hear from our “unwell” friends and relatives. “Trump has potentially committed a number of felonies,” The statement isn’t law, it isn’t reason, it’s just “I think he’s a bad guy, and I just know I’m right.”
Big Lie #2 is infantile, and constructed of nothing of substance, just bias and free-floating anger. Yet, as I wrote at the beginning, it, and the false assertions within it, form the foundation of all the Big Lies to come.