Serious Question: What Kind Of Person Would Want Someone To Be U.S. President Who Would Consider Something Like This…

…never mind say it out loud?

During a speech to donors in New Orleans, Louisiana a few days ago, Donald Trump actually, really, honest-to-goodness said that maybe the U.S. could trick Moscow and Beijing into fighting each other by disguising its F-22 fighter jets with Chinese flags “and bomb the shit out” out of Russia! “And then we say, China did it, we didn’t do, China did it, and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”

Oooh, good plan!

Was Trump joking? I hope he was joking, but the scary part is that it’s impossible to tell, and anyway, it doesn’t matter. No serious statesman, public figure or potential elected official should “float” a crack-brained idea like that, as a joke or otherwise.

I bet I could write another thousand words explaining what is wrong with Trump making such an irresponsible statement, particularly at this time, but I respect the readers here too much to feel I have to.

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172 thoughts on “Serious Question: What Kind Of Person Would Want Someone To Be U.S. President Who Would Consider Something Like This…

    • I have never, ever EVER wanted Donald Trump to be President.
      But of course I expected that “gotcha!” and the answer is obvious and I made it obvious when I explained my vote. In a binary alternative, one has to make a choice no matter how much one would not make that choice given different options. I voted against the completely predictable disaster that we are witnessing now. Trump is a horrible person and a destructive leader for the US (or any nation), but his four years were not a disaster, far from it, though he (and we) was lucky in some respects, and dastardly treated in others.

      You will recall that Odysseus had to choose between subjecting his ship to Scylla or Charybdis, and chose Scylla (as I would have as well). If he wrote a blog post that was titled, “What kind of person would want to sale into a sea monster who will eat six of his men”? would you really respond the same way?

      I’ll assume a smiley face on your comment, because I know you’re smarter and fairer than that! 🙂

      • Faced with two bad choices, one could (A) sit on his hands or vote for a third-party sure loser, or (B) vote for the less bad candidate. Option A would reduce the size of the ‘mandate’ the eventual winner would claim, while B could result in a ‘better’ winner. We are somewhat conditioned to choose the lesser of two evils, eh? But, I think the ethics between A and B is not clear cut, and I prefer A.

        • I chose A in 2016 (though the third and fourth party candidates were terrible, so I wrote in a vote). By 2020, the Democrats’ conduct made it clear that the party was unfit to govern, and it is.As we have seen.

      • The problem with this logic is that, all policy preferences aside, Biden was clearly a better choice for president than Trump, as was Clinton in 2016, based on any objective standards of leadership and competency. This isn’t saying much for them–both would score very low on both points for me–but it says everything about Trump.

        For example, neither Biden nor Clinton would ever propose something as stupid as what you quoted Trump as saying in this very article. Neither of them would say of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that it’s “genius” without accompanying that with moral condemnation, or that “this is their time” for China to invade Taiwan. Neither would have refused to concede an election loss based on made-up claims of voter fraud, and neither would have refused to attend the inauguration of their successor. And we can go back through years of Trump’s public comments and behavior and find dozens if not hundreds of examples of things that Biden and Clinton would never do or say. Is the opposite true? Can we say that there is anything Biden or Clinton would say or do that Trump would find too ethically abhorrent? I don’t think we can.

        So yes, it was a binary choice. Trump was the wrong one.

        • You are clearly wrong. Joe Biden is in the midst of creeping dementia, and he has been for a couple of years…and he was never bright to begin with. I would have held my nose to vote for him over Trump in 2016 (when I wrote in a name) The Democratic Party’s conduct from the 2016 campaign on showed me that it was actively anti-democratic, and supported speech restrictions, racial discrimination,active weakening of American institutions, and defiance of the law and the Constitution to suit its ends. That, plus the news media’s transformation into a near pure Leftist propaganda arm made any representative of that party (Biden was amazingly less dangerous than others, like Sanders and Warren) an unconscionable choice—as he and his party has proved by any objective standard. Trump says stupid things, and that’s enough for me not to want him as my President, but his four years were largely successful, so the worst case scenarios I imagined in 2016 were less likely with him having 4 years of experience and quite a bit of success. Biden pulling out of Afghanistan, ending new American oil drilling, spending like a drunken sailor, trying to inject racial discrimination into various government programs, encouraging illegal immigrants, pandering to Black Lives Matter—these and more are worse and more damaging than anything Trump did, and nothing a President says can be as harmful as what a President does.

          I am amazed that anyone, even the most blindly loyal Democrat or Trump-hater, can look at the carnage since January 2021 and say, “Boy, I’m sure glad I voted for that guy!”

          • Your comment alludes to so many issues that I hope you will forgive a point-by-point rebuttal. My intention was to keep the focus on ethics rather than policy or partisanship, which is why I hoped you’d answer my question here: “Can we say that there is anything Biden or Clinton would say or do that Trump would find too ethically abhorrent?” Please delete this comment if it goes too far into a political rant, but I do hope you’ll answer my ethical question at some point.

            “Joe Biden is in the midst of creeping dementia…”

            He’s certainly slower than he used to be, but I don’t see much evidence of this. He is certainly a better speaker and thinker than Trump, as evidenced by the Trump quote you based this article on, among many others.

            “The Democratic Party’s conduct from the 2016 campaign on showed me…”

            You don’t vote for a party when you vote for the president, you vote for a leader. To that end, I will not try to dissuade you against your objections to the Democratic Party as a whole, but will focus just on whether your allegations are true of Biden himself.

            “that it was actively anti-democratic,”

            I do not think it is hyperbolic to say that Trump attempted to overturn our democracy last November. He concluded, based on nothing but his own desires, that millions of votes simply were not real. He did the same thing in 2016 when he falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton did not actually get more individual votes than he did. Do you think Trump believes more firmly in democracy than Biden does? What has Biden done that is more deligitimatizing to democracy than what Trump did last year, and continues to do to this day?

            “and supported speech restrictions,”

            Trump suggested that it was illegal for SNL to make fun of him, publicly contemplated banning Twitter, and has a long history of frivolous defamation lawsuits. He repeatedly called for firings of his critics. What has Biden done that is more anti-free-speech than this?

            “racial discrimination,”

            Trump said that a judge could not be trusted to rule on a fraud case against him because that judge was Mexican. He also said that Jeb Bush “has to like Mexican illegals because of his wife.” He told women of color, some of whom were born in the U.S., to go back to their own countries. I am well aware of Biden’s long and problematic racial history, but it’s hard for me to think of anything he’s said in the last decade as maliciously racist as any of this.

            “active weakening of American institutions,”

            See above, re: democracy. I can’t think of anything that weakens American institutions more than convincing a third of the country that votes aren’t real, or that the Vice President can simply declare an election null and void; but if I were to try, I would say discrediting the FBI, siding with foreign dictators over your own intelligence agencies, weakening alliances such as NATO, and calling every news article that is critical of oneself “fake news.” Again, what has Biden done that is close to this?

            “and defiance of the law and the Constitution to suit its ends.”

            See above.

            “That, plus the news media’s transformation into a near pure Leftist propaganda arm”

            You don’t vote for “the media” when you elect a president, either; did you vote for right-wing media when you voted for Trump? If the behavior of, say, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann is a reason to not vote for Biden, then is the behavior of Tucker Carlson, Jim Hoft, and dozens of other right-wing grifters a reason to not vote for Trump?

            “made any representative of that party (Biden was amazingly less dangerous than others, like Sanders and Warren) an unconscionable choice—”

            What you seem to be saying here–and correct me if I’m wrong–is that there is no Democrat you would vote for over any Republican, but I have a hard time believing that. Would you vote for Marjorie Taylor Green over Amy Klobachar? Nick Fuentes over Pete Buttigieg? Surely there must be a Republican too extreme for you to justify supporting over a centrist Democrat?

            “Trump says stupid things,”

            This is quite an understatement, and a minimization of actual things he did that were unconscionable, but I’ll hold back listing them for now–this is getting awfully long.

            “but his four years were largely successful,”

            I hate to keep harping on this one example, but I can’t see how you can describe any administration that ends with the president’s followers storming the Capitol because the president has told them not to accept his election loss as “successful.” That is a failure of the president’s most sacred duty–to protect our democracy. This doesn’t get into various other failures, like Trump’s careless and disastrous Covid response.

            “so the worst case scenarios I imagined in 2016 were less likely with him having 4 years of experience and quite a bit of success.”

            Did even your worst case scenario end with what happened on January 6th? I admit that mine did not.

            “Biden pulling out of Afghanistan,”

            Biden pulled out of Afghanistan on Trump’s timetable, due to an agreement that was signed by Trump.

            “ending new American oil drilling,”

            This has not happened; Biden actually issued more drilling permits in his first year than Trump did.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/01/27/oil-gas-leasing-biden-climate/

            “spending like a drunken sailor,”

            Trump also did this.

            “trying to inject racial discrimination into various government programs,”

            If you’re talking about affirmative action, that’s a legitimate policy dispute, but whichever side you fall on it can’t be enough justification to support Trump, an open racist, over Biden.

            “encouraging illegal immigrants,”

            This one baffles me, because I see no ethical framework that can judge the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of illegal immigration in the family separation and indefinite detention policies less harshly than any such “encouragement” of illegal immigration. Is the overly severe punishment for such a minor infraction really more ethical to you than implementing policies that are less harsh, but have the unintended consequence of more unauthorized immigration?

            “pandering to Black Lives Matter—”

            This brings up too many questions for me to even mention here, so I’m going to skip this one.

            “these and more are worse and more damaging than anything Trump did, and nothing a President says can be as harmful as what a President does.”

            I think, after going through these talking points, I’ve figured out that we have a fundamental disagreement about what the job of a president is. I see his primary purpose as protecting American democracy–something that you must admit Trump failed at completely, and never even attempted. You seem to see the fundamental job of president as promoting conservative policies. In that case, of course you can’t fathom voting for any Democrat over Trump.

            “I am amazed that anyone, even the most blindly loyal Democrat or Trump-hater, can look at the carnage since January 2021 and say, “Boy, I’m sure glad I voted for that guy!””

            Given the alternative? Of course I’m glad I voted for Biden.

            • Let me answer this question immediately before reading the rest: “Can we say that there is anything Biden or Clinton would say or do that Trump would find too ethically abhorrent?”

              No. If you have read the various Trump pieces here at Ethics Alarms, you would find that my assessment is that Trump has no ethics standards at all. None. I would not be surprised at anything he did. Hillary is corrupt, but she has some standards. (Bill is a sociopath.)

            • I think I’ll do this in segments.

              I. “He’s certainly slower than he used to be, but I don’t see much evidence of this. He is certainly a better speaker and thinker than Trump, as evidenced by the Trump quote you based this article on, among many others.”

              “Slower than he used to be” means “declining mentally.” That’s equivocation. The way Biden is protected from extensive questioning and often led away from podiums is a tell. He’s a better speaker than Trump when he’s reading from a script: off script, he says things like “Russia invaded Russia.” Trump says absurd and obnoxious things, and personally I can’t stand listening to him, but he’s an effective communicator: can you imaging Biden trying to handle one of Trump’s rallies?

              I coach speakers: Biden is objectively dead-eyed, low-energy, weak-voiced, and shaky as a speaker. If we are talking style and technique, Trump is far more effective. It’s not even close. He was more effective than Hillary, too.

              • Interesting. I guess my follow-up question is, “Effective for whom, and at what?” It’s hard to imagine Biden doing a Trump-style rally, because it’s hard to imagine *any* other president doing a Trump-style rally. No other president needed that kind of thing, and we’ve had plenty of effective speakers as president. Trump is very effective at whipping up an adoring throng, but did that make him an effective speaker to *the country?* I would argue that not only did it not, it actively interfered with his ability to unite and lead. When he spoke to other audiences he was resentful and often delved into obscure narratives that a general audience could not follow, alluding to abstract chains of conspiracy theories and other nonsense. So no, I can’t take seriously the idea that Trump’s ability to thrive at his rallies–the ultimate safe space for him–means anything about his effectiveness as a communicator, his ability to think clearly, or his overall ability to lead.

            • II. “You don’t vote for a party when you vote for the president, you vote for a leader.”

              What can I say? That’s just factually wrong. The President is the leader of his party. Voting for Biden was a vote to vastly increase the power of Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party. You would have a better argument with Trump, because he wasn’t (and isn’t) Republican or a party loyalist. The Presidency is not a non-partisan office, and never has been, though Washington was close. Biden is especially partisan: he follows his Party’s agenda in lockstep.

              The Democratic Party after 2016 set out to make it impossible for an elected President to govern, pursued a false and vicious conspiracy theory to do it, engaged in two unsupported impeachments (that created a terrible precedent for future President, as Biden will soon discover) and used a bundle of Big Lies to divide the nation. It was the most unethical performance by an opposition party in U.S. history, and it was crucial not to reward it. Doing so was a victory for “the ends justify the means.”

              • “Biden is especially partisan: he follows his Party’s agenda in lockstep.”

                I suppose this depends on how you define the party’s agenda. Much has been made of “Defund the Police,” but Biden opposes this vociferously, and always has. He doesn’t really pander much to the “woke” crowd, especially compared to his primary opponents. There were many times he stood out in the 2020 primary for being the lone moderate. I suppose you could argue that this is where the majority of Democrats are, rather than on the AOC wing of the left–but then you’d have to acknowledge that the Democratic party isn’t as radical overall as you’ve been claiming.

                “The Democratic Party after 2016 set out to make it impossible for an elected President to govern,”

                This has been true of the opposition party since at least 2008.

                “pursued a false and vicious conspiracy theory to do it,”

                …Can you be clear on which one? Was it that Trump was explicitly a Russian agent? Was it that he had inappropriate ties to Russia? Was it that Russia meddled in our election? Was it that Trump was glad to accept their help? Was it that there was explicit coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government? Was it the pee tape?

                Because some of these claims were true and some of them were false. Others were worth investigating. But they often get lumped in together to discredit *everything,* including the Mueller Report and the very existence of the investigation itself, which is ludicrous.

                “engaged in two unsupported impeachments (that created a terrible precedent for future President, as Biden will soon discover)”

                We fundamentally disagree here. Trump did in fact attempt withhold funds authorized to help Ukraine in order to get them to launch a politically motivated investigation into his major political opponent. Whether you think this was in his power or not, it happened, and it was corrupt. I believe this was worthy of impeachment. Why don’t you?

                The second was even more justifiable. The president did refuse to concede that he lost, and his lies about the election inspired an attack on the Capitol. I can’t imagine a more justified impeachment.

                Reminder that Trump was the first president to get impeachment votes from his own party, so the claim that it was simply partisan is not true. Despite most Republicans refusing to support impeachment no matter what Trump had done, this was the most bipartisan impeachment effort in American history.

                “and used a bundle of Big Lies to divide the nation.”

                The biggest “Big Lie” is that Trump won in 2020, and if you didn’t know he would say this when you voted for him regardless of whether he won or not, I don’t know what to tell you. Like I said earlier, I underestimated the extent to which Trump would fight his election loss, how many people he would get on his side, and the violence this lie would cause, but it was obvious that Trump was not going to concede and that he would never show his face at his successor’s inauguration. And if you’re going to insist that we vote for parties when we vote for presidents, nearly his whole party is behind him on this. That alone makes Trump an unacceptable choice.

                • Like I said earlier, I underestimated the extent to which Trump would fight his election loss, how many people he would get on his side, and the violence this lie would cause, but it was obvious that Trump was not going to concede and that he would never show his face at his successor’s inauguration. And if you’re going to insist that we vote for parties when we vote for presidents, nearly his whole party is behind him on this. That alone makes Trump an unacceptable choice.

                  Please explain how this so-called lie caused violence.

                • Flat out false, Katie. Republican leadership overwhelmingly rejected Trump’s assertions that he won the election. Many cabinet members and staff resigned. Mitch McConnell rebuked him. Meanwhile, no such integrity was shown by Democrats during Clinton’s Monica scandal.

            • “I do not think it is hyperbolic to say that Trump attempted to overturn our democracy last November.”

              Point of order: we are talking about the decision to vote for Trump over Biden. Trump’s conduct after the election is irrelevant to that discussion and my decision. But as a matter of record, of course it’s hyperbolic. He had every right to challenge irregularities in the close states, just like Al Gore did. That’s not “over-turning,” that’s fulfilling his oath: he has a duty to ensure that an election is honest and fair. He took no action whatsoever that could have “overturned” the election. He didn’t have that power.

              • You know as well as I did that Trump did a lot more than just “challenge irregularities in close states.” He insisted he won, and he did so for personal, selfish reasons, not because of his “duty to ensure that an election is honest and fair.” In fact, he did everything he could to ensure that the election was no such thing. Whether he had the power to overturn the election is irrelevant to his intent, which was to overturn the election, as he himself admitted in his own words.

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/31/trump-pence-overturned-election/

                And again, it was clear that Trump would not accept a loss when you voted for him. You may, like me, have not predicted the extent of his tantrum; but you’re also not saying “Hey, I didn’t know his supporters would storm the Capitol and he’d still be talking about how Pence should have overturned the election a year later,” like, say, Liz Cheney, who did vote for him in 2020 and now says she regrets it. You just ignored the elephant in the room entirely, and are now minimizing it by essentially saying, “Ok, but an elephant can’t actually fit in a room, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

                • Katie, this is turning into talking points, not argument. I saw columns claiming that Trump wouldn’t accept defeat at the beginning of the 2016 campaign. There was no evidence of that. He implied that he would be suspicious of any Clinton win, and there was good reason, since she cheated her way to the nomination (and we now know she did more than that). As I have explained here, Trump had good reason to feel his Presidency had been stolen from him, since he was robbed of the ceremonial trappings of the job, never received even-handed media coverage, was obstructed by two contrived impeachments, and had to run for re-election with the loosest voting security since the 19th Century.

                  But you are not citing actions, you are citing words, conversations, opinions. His conduct consisted of making legal challenges, which, again, he had every right to do. If they had succeeded, he would have preserved the integrity of elections; since they failed, the official verdict is that he didn’t have a case.

                  Ethics Alarms condemned his accusations as un-presidential and unethical—but it still is irrelevant to this discussion, which was about the choice to vote for Trump over Biden.

                  • I’m the one relying on “talking points?” I’ve said nothing as generalized or partisan as Michael West’s “The world is literally a more dangerous place for everybody when Democrats are elected to power in the United States.” I wouldn’t say anything like that about Republicans as a whole, especially not in this context. Can you see no “right-wing talking points” in the comments to this article?

                    The evidence that Trump would not accept a defeat in 2016 was in his own words. And he confirmed this when he claimed to have won the popular vote. It’s odd to me that you’re judging media figures for making predictions based on Trump’s behavior that turned out to be entirely correct.

                    I’ve already explained why both impeachments were justified. Removal was also justified, in my opinion.

                    “His conduct consisted of making legal challenges, which, again, he had every right to do. If they had succeeded, he would have preserved the integrity of elections; since they failed, the official verdict is that he didn’t have a case.”

                    I’ve also explained that this is not true. His conduct also consisted of trying to get Pence to refuse to certify the votes. Had he succeeded, this would have created a constitutional crisis. What happens if you vote for Trump again in 2024–as you are almost certain to do, based on your comments here–and he wins? This time he’ll make sure to choose a VP who will follow orders. So in 2028, the VP says he just gets to pick the Republican over the Democrat, and damn the facts. Yes, the Supreme Court will step in and resolve this–but how much damage will be done to our democracy and culture in the process? You think this “preserves the integrity of our elections?”

                    All of this of course is relevant to the choice between Trump and Biden, since Biden has never and would never do this.

                    • “This time he’ll make sure to choose a VP who will follow orders. So in 2028, the VP says he just gets to pick the Republican over the Democrat, and damn the facts.”

                      Delusional. Who would be such a VP? [Hint: There isn’t one.] Nor would there be such a crisis: the law simply doesn’t give the VP that power, and he would look like a fool immediately. Your scenario cannot happen, and this is enough for me: I’ve got sock drawers to color-code. You are hysterical, and ignorant regarding how the law government works as well as the individuals you are blathering on about.

                      Furthermore, I and everyone else have more than two years to explain why it would be disastrous to have Trump run again, and not at all clear who, if he does run, he will be running against, what the state of the nation will be, what the issues will be, etc. Unlike you, I don’t vote blindly for a single party or individual, and you have no basis on which to conclude who I might vote for, if I vote at all, in 2024.

                      If anyone else wants to knock down your weak arguments and biased assumptions, they are welcome.

                    • Oh…based on your own statements, there would be no motivation for Trump to try to flip an election to put someone else in the White House. And he wouldn’t, even if he could, and he couldn’t. He’s not a loyal Republican. There would be no upside for him. But you couldn’t bother to consider how the Left’s narrative makes no sense in that scenario, so you just went ahead with it.

                    • I mean, we didn’t think there was a president who would tell his VP to overturn the election, and then it happened. If someone told you it was going to happen in 2016, or even October 2020, you would have likely called this prediction hysterical and biased, and I might have agreed with you!

                      But I can think of quite a few possible VP candidates who would try: Michael Flynn, Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz. All people who criticized Pence for refusing to do what he had no constitutional authority to do. (And even Pence had to be convinced, based on numerous reports.)

                      Trump’s motivation would simply be to reward Republicans who have stood by him. If the 2028 Republican candidate is someone who doesn’t praise Trump to the high heavens, you’re right that he would lack the motivation. But if it’s Josh Hammer? Jim Jordan? Why wouldn’t he try again? And the fact that he tried *the first time* should be disqualiying.

                      Again, I never said such an effort would succeed. I said it would do incalculable damage to our democracy, as the last attempt did. You just don’t seem to notice the wreckage.

                    • Or how about Adam Sandler or Bugs Bunny? None of the three you mention stand a chance of being accepted by a Republican Convention as Trump’s VP. And you say he ignores reality?

                    • Jack: “Or how about Adam Sandler or Bugs Bunny? None of the three you mention stand a chance of being accepted by a Republican Convention as Trump’s VP. And you say he ignores reality.”

                      Did you believe in 2012 that Donald Trump stood a chance of being accepted by a Republican Convention as the presidential nominee? I didn’t.

                      I named three trusted allies of the president, all of whom are extremely popular among the exact same base that Trump depends on. And your response is to compare them to a liberal actor and a fictional character? Even if you are right about the depths of the Democratic Party, I think you are really underestimating the depths of the Republican Party at the moment.

                      Michael: Crossfire Hurricane was the name given to the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 election. While not all parts of this investigation were handled appropriately, the investigation was certainly justified and necessary.

                    • In 2012? He wasn’t. In 2016, he came to the convention with a majority of the delegates committed to him. Vice-Presidential candidates don’t have delegates who are committed to voting for them. You don’t understand how political conventions operate, which is fine; I’m sure there are some things you do understand. Apparently not analogies, however. The point was not that Flynn et al. are like Bugs and Adam except in the sense that there are no scenarios that would allow them to be nominated as VP. I could have just as accurately named you, me, Sirhan Sirhan or Santa Claus.

                    • I remain unconvinced that their chances are that low. As I said before, all three people I named are extremely popular among Trump supporters–much moreso than Pence. Two are members of Congress. One is the top fundraiser in the Republican party at the moment. If Trump announces that any of the three are his VP, who exactly is going to stop him? Who is going to say “No, you can’t?” Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger? Mitt Romney? No one else in the Republican party will care what they have to say.

                    • I gotta hand it to you, you’re stubborn. Green is a pariah and regarded as a white supremacist with some validity. Flynn is not a politician, and brings nothing to the ticket. Trump picked Pence because he carried the evangelical vote. Gaetz may end up in jail, or be censored. He would lose Trump votes. The VP is almost always there to appeal to people the Presidential candidate can’t count on. And the full convention has to approve the VP. The chances of those three are zilch. Zero. It would be like Biden running with a member of The Squad.

                    • We have different understandings of how willing the Republican Party is to tell Donald Trump “no,” and I’ll leave it at that.

                    • No, you have a misconception of the political process and the history of conventions….or Trump. Trump wants to win. The three you mention would gain him nothing. (And your fantasy about Flynn being a pushover for anyone is the opposite of the case.)

                    • I didn’t say Flynn was a pushover. I said he would follow a Trump directive to overturn a Democrat-won election, and he absolutely would. The guy is a legit Qanon conspiracy theorist at this point.

                      Trump calculated that he needed Pence to win in 2016. There is no way such a calculation holds now, or that the guy who wants to pardon the people who chanted “Hang Mike Pence” on January 6th would make such a calculation. Pence is less popular than Flynn among the GOP base right now precisely because he did the right thing on January 6th. What future Trump VP would take that risk?

                      You mention potential embarrassment as a reason for a VP not to try and overturn the election, but this is a party immune to embarrassment right now. Trump doesn’t seem embarrassed; he just says the election was unfairly stolen from him. His next VP can just say the same thing when their attempt to decertify the votes doesn’t magically make the Republican candidate president.

                      Of course my scenario doesn’t make sense if you believe the Republican party will moderate and turn away from Trumpism in the next few years. But that’s a party that doesn’t elect Trump in 2024, making this whole thing moot.

                    • he absolutely would.
                      The guy is a legit Qanon conspiracy theorist at this point.
                      this is a party immune to embarrassment right now.

                      These are pure partisan bias fantasies and show a disengagement from balanced critical thought.There is no “Trumpism”—there is support for Trump. Nobody calls support for Barack Obama “Obamaism.” Trump is one guy whose policies were surprisingly successful and who looks good compared to the pathetic WH occupant now while a lot of voters have buyer’s remorse. You’re just exhibiting symptoms of anti-Trump hysteria, or following the lead of those who have them. Nobody is going to try to ‘overturn” an election, because it can’t be done. Screaming about such nefarious plans is as nuts as some of Trump’s exaggerations.

                      Of course my scenario doesn’t make sense if you believe the Republican party will moderate and turn away from Trumpism in the next few years. But that’s a party that doesn’t elect Trump in 2024, making this whole thing moot.

                    • “There is no “Trumpism”—there is support for Trump. Nobody calls support for Barack Obama “Obamaism.””

                      Obama did not change the entire direction of a political party in the way that Trump did, nor did Obama reduce the office and standards of behavior of public life in the way that Trump did.

                      “Trump is one guy whose policies were surprisingly successful and who looks good compared to the pathetic WH occupant now while a lot of voters have buyer’s remorse.”

                      Wow, and I’m the one filled with partisan bias?

                      “Nobody is going to try to ‘overturn” an election,”

                      But Trump already did try to overturn an election. He said so himself.

                      “”Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”

                      https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/30/politics/trump-pence-2020-election/index.html

                      Again, just because this attempt was not successful does not mean the attempt did not happen, and it is gaslighting to suggest it did not happen. Nor does it mean that such an attempt is not damaging to our democracy.

                      “Screaming about such nefarious plans”

                      I’m not “screaming.” I’ve told you calmly that such plans existed–you can read John Eastman’s memos, among many other pieces of evidence, any time you’d like–and you keep denying them even though those plans were made, in private and in public. They were bad, stupid plans, by bad, stupid people, and a few bad smart people who didn’t have any shame. But they were in fact made, and don’t tell me they won’t be made again if you choose to elect him again.

                    • Obama did not change the entire direction of a political party in the way that Trump did, nor did Obama reduce the office and standards of behavior of public life in the way that Trump did.

                      I quote Jack.

                      https://ethicsalarms.com/2022/03/02/ethics-observations-on-an-unethical-nyt-column-that-should-never-have-been-published-about-a-destructive-movement-that-never-should-have-begun/

                      To the contrary, we know exactly where we are in the life of Black Lives Matter, the end stage of movements good and bad as described by Eric Hoffer: it is now unquestionably a racket. I find it amazing, in light of the complete collapse of whatever organization BLM had, that Blow has the gall to write that sentence now. However, he is correct that the movement changed this country, though greatly for the worse. And it did start with the death of Trayvon Martin, thanks to the lies and manipulation by ethics villains like Barack Obama, The New York Times, and Charles M. Blow.

                    • But Trump already did try to overturn an election. He said so himself.

                      So what?

                      Those who pushed the Russian collusion narrative deserved payback with interest.

                    • All this talk of overturning an election had me thinking about how Republicans often used this phrase to describe the impeachment efforts against Trump, so I did some more homework. Here’s you using that exact phrase to describe the Democrats’ behavior years before either impeachment had even started:

                      “Absolutely. Only one party is actively trying to overturn an election.”

                      https://ethicsalarms.com/2017/07/28/a-white-house-of-assholes-this-post-has-everything-an-ethics-dunce-an-unethical-quote-of-the-month-an-incompetent-elected-official-and-of-course-kaboom/#comment-458505

                      So if I have this right, Trump instructing his Vice President to refuse to certify the votes under the mistaken belief that he could stay in office is not an attempt to “overturn the election,” but the Democrats opposing Trump vigorously in 2017 is?

                      Make it make sense.

                    • Sure. The VP can’t overturn an election. A contrived, partisan impeachment can. One is impossible, the other is an abuse of an important process, now wrecked permanently.

                      It’s pretty simple, actually.

                    • “Sure. The VP can’t overturn an election.”

                      I know this already. Trump doesn’t. That’s why he tried to overturn an election, and will likely try again.

                      You do realize it’s possible to attempt something that you can’t actually do, right?

                      “A contrived, partisan impeachment can.”

                      No, it absolutely cannot. Impeachment does not “overturn an election.” Had Trump been impeached, Pence–who was also elected on the same ticket, with full knowledge (at least, from informed voters) that he would take over if Trump was indisposed. Impeachment does not magically make the opposition party candidate president, as Trump attempted to do on and before January 6th.

                      I find this argument baffling.

                • He insisted he won, and he did so for personal, selfish reasons, not because of his “duty to ensure that an election is honest and fair.” In fact, he did everything he could to ensure that the election was no such thing. Whether he had the power to overturn the election is irrelevant to his intent, which was to overturn the election, as he himself admitted in his own words.

                  Have you ever heard of the concept of payback?

                  This i9s payback for the Russian collusion narrative.

                  And again, it was clear that Trump would not accept a loss when you voted for him.

                  Surely you have heard of the concept of tit for tat, right?

            • See above, re: democracy. I can’t think of anything that weakens American institutions more than convincing a third of the country that votes aren’t real, or that the Vice President can simply declare an election null and void; but if I were to try, I would say discrediting the FBI, siding with foreign dictators over your own intelligence agencies, weakening alliances such as NATO, and calling every news article that is critical of oneself “fake news.” Again, what has Biden done that is close to this?

              The FBI and the intelligence agencies discredited themselves with Crossfire Hurricane.

        • Katie says:
          “Can we say that there is anything Biden or Clinton would say or do that Trump would find too ethically abhorrent? I don’t think we can.”

          As far as I know; Trump prefers adult females.

          • Biden is certainly touchy, in a way I find inappropriate; but I don’t see anything inherently sexual about his touching. Accusing him of pedophilia based on that is a leap.

            And do I really need to go into Trump’s frequent sexualization of his own daughter, which started when she was just a baby? The rape allegations against him by a woman who was 13 at the time? Are these things you just haven’t heard about? And if so, why are your chosen media sources hiding this from you?

            • Interesting response Katie. I do not think you are being objective.
              I didn’t say slo-jo is a pedophile although what he does/says publicly suggests he is.
              I am not here to defend Trump’s behavior with women but to see your reaction to the video.
              On the creepiness scale; Biden is the clear winner.

              I believe the rape allegations by the 13yr old were dropped twice. You will correct me if I’m wrong.
              Indeed, Trumps infatuation with Ivanka is creepy but “started when she was just a baby?”
              I haven’t looked that one up. Who made the allegation?

            • Joe Biden has been credibly accused of raping Tara Reade, yet the democrats voted for him. Ashley Biden’s stolen then leaked diary indicates he has a history of sexually inappropriate behavior with his own daughter.

              Bill Clinton was credibly accused of raping any number of women, but democrats elected him. Then he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a White House intern IN THE OVAL OFFICE, perjured himself lying about it, and democrats re-elected him.

              Hillary spent decades targeting the women her husband had affairs with and/or raped. Democrats voted for her anyways.

              Democrats vote for rapists and pigs on a regular basis, then cry offended when republicans follow the example they set.

              Be honest with yourself. Biden is every bit the pig Trump is.

              • I do not think Tara Reade’s allegations are credible, for a multitude of reasons.

                I can’t speak to Ashley Biden’s diary.

                I do find some of the allegations against Bill Clinton more credible.

                What makes the allegations against Trump more believable to many is that he is an open misogynist who has been caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. This doesn’t mean the allegations against the others aren’t true or shouldn’t be taken seriously. But again, if we’re talking about “binary choices” and the lesser of two evils, the greater evil is clear.

                • I can play the same game. Following your logic, I find none of the allegations against Trump credible. I find the allegations against Biden credible because he cannot stop himself from fondling little girls and sniffing women’s hair even on camera on the campaign trail.
                  Clearly Biden is a misogynist and a sexual predator.

                  You are right, though. The binary choice is clear. Trump started no wars, he ended them. Trump established peace in the Middle East. Under Trump gas prices were at their lowest prices in decades, we were energy independent and not reliant on hostile regimes to get to work. Unemployment was low, wages were rising, expenses were falling and life was good.

                  Under Biden, the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Russia invaded Ukraine, inflation is through the roof, and energy independence is gone. Gas now costs more than at any point in American history, which means the inflation will continue to skyrocket. Housing is now unaffordable, gas is unaffordable and food is unaffordable. Biden laughs at the idea of returning to energy independence, and his cabinet openly mocks the American people. Just buy electric cars, they say. Of course, electric cars cost over 50k$, which almost no one can afford. If everyone actually followed that advice, the energy grid would collapse. Not that enough electric cars actually exist to be purchased in the first place. This administration is a dumpster fire.

                  The American people, and the world, were objectively better off under Trump. I was better off during Trump. So I don’t care that Trump sent mean tweets or said stupid stuff. My life and the lives of the people I love were good under Trump. Under Biden things I actually care about have gone to hell in a hand basket. Absolutely nothing in my life has improved under Biden, and pretty much everything that matters to me has started to suck. Trump wins that binary choice, hands down. I care exactly as much about his misogyny as you do about Biden’s. Zilch. Prosperity and happiness beat misogyny every day of the week.

                  • “Trump established peace in the Middle East.”

                    If you believe this, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s laughable.

                    But I’m not sure you actually do believe it, since you say later that you don’t care about anything other than how the presidency affects you personally.

                    Of course, Biden has not started any wars either. He also pulled out of Afghanistan on Trump’s timetable, based on a deal signed by Trump; if you want to blame him for what happened after, while giving credit to Trump for “peace in the Middle East,” you can do that, but it’s wildly hypocritical. (And I say that as someone who thinks Biden could have handled the transition much better.)

                    You go on to ignore a lot that happened under Trump and give credit and blame to both politicians based on factors that the president truly has little control over, such as gas prices. Current inflation trends started under Trump. The pandemic worsened a lot of conditions. No one could have stopped the pandemic, but Trump handled it exceptionally badly–discouraging mask usage, holding superspreader rallies, and promoting whacko miracle cures were actions that certainly got more people killed than would have otherwise died. He’s right to promote the vaccine now, but he primed his followers to believe so many insane conspiracy theories that now his strongest base won’t accept his advice. If a president can be judged by how well they handled their biggest crisis, then the Trump presidency was a failure.

                    You call for energy independence but ignore that Biden recently banned all Russian oil. You say his administration is telling people to just buy electric, which is not true. Frankly, your comment is just a list of right-wing talking points with little basis in reality.

                    I am sorry your life sucks. I hope it gets better. But scapegoating won’t help.

                    I have said before that the president’s most sacred duty is not to improve our material conditions–again, something they have little control over–but to protect democracy. At that, Trump was an utter failure. That there happened to be economic growth under his administration–up until March 2020, of course–doesn’t change that.

                    • I have said before that the president’s most sacred duty is not to improve our material conditions–again, something they have little control over–but to protect democracy.

                      It didn’t feel quite right the first time you said it, but now that you’ve repeated it, my gut & brain are in agreement. The president’s most sacred duty is to protect and defend the Constitution.
                      President Biden has effectively said and done things to subvert the Constitution, most recently in his attempt to take a person’s livelihood if they refused to take the vaccine. His Chief of Staff called it a work-around, and it was. The thing being worked around was the Constitution – “you know, the thing” he’s sworn to defend.

                    • Under Trump, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan all joined in the Abraham Accords normalization agreements with Israel. That is just a fact. My statement was somewhat hyperbolic, but peace in the Middle East was being progressively achieved under Trump.

                      You have respond to basically everything everyone says here with leftwing talking points. The President has no control over gas prices? That is just false! The President directly sets the policies that affect gas prices. Biden canceled the keystone pipeline, slow walked all drilling permits for the last year, threatened banks that loaned money to fossil fuel companies and canceled oil drilling leases. That is his record, and that record is directly responsible for our countries loss of energy independence. The loss of energy independence is why prices are so high. Biden is directly responsible for the prices at the pump. Your willingness to overlook every consequence of his policy decisions doesn’t make reality cease to exist.

                      Holding government officials accountable for the results of their policies is called accountability, not scapegoating.

                      Biden has not protected our democracy, he has flouted the constitution by passing illegal executive orders and ignoring the law at every turn. From attempting to cancel rent to ignoring immigration law, this President has ignored the laws of this country, undermined the rule of law, and weakened our democracy. You cannot have a democracy when laws are meaningless.

                      Food and shelter are not material possessions, they are life necessities.

                      You can ignore reality all you like, dismiss it as right wing talking points and ignore basic facts. That doesn’t actually make reality disappear. You cannot will the facts away.
                      Facts exist regardless of your acknowledgment of them.

                    • So signing an agreement (the Iran Deal) does nothing, but signing another agreement (the Abraham Accords, which did even less) basically achieved peace in the Middle East? Shelter is a life necessity, but it was wrong for Biden to try and get rent temporarily suspended? Biden is both an authoritarian passing unconstitutional laws while also a weak-willed squish ignoring immigration laws? The one president to ban Russian oil and who gave more permits during his first year than Trump is terrible on energy independence?

                      I’m sorry, how am I supposed to take objections to my “talking points” seriously when no one here calls out any of these contradictions?

                    • The thread capabilities have been exceeded so I will reply here.

                      None of the things you mention are contradictory in terms of authoritarianism. Canceling rent is government seizure of private property. That is authoritarianism. It is also communism, not democracy.

                      Deliberately destroying the economy by crushing industry is also authoritarianism. Ignoring the harm that policies cause is not compassion or empathy. Destroying people’s ability to support themselves is not ameliorated by then forcing those people into dependence on the government. That is authoritarianism.

                      Selectively ignoring laws and preventing them from being enforced for ideological reasons is also authoritarianism.

                      The Iran deal is not a peace deal, and it is not between countries in the Middle East. Green lighting nuclear capabilities to a nation that funds terrorism has no chance of creating peace. It will do nothing but drive death and destruction.

                      You seem to take democrat talking points at face value, without actually considering the consequences of the ideology you support. Refusing to consider the consequences does not remove the consequences from existence. Good intentions do not justify harming people in the name of those good intentions. Some consequences are easily foreseeable. Biden, or the people actually running things, are deliberately ignoring those consequences because of ideology and a desire for power. That is unethical.

                      I don’t know if you are being deliberately obtuse, or if this really is the extent of your logical capabilities. If it is the former, your argument strategy is unethical. If it is the latter, then I worry for the future of our country.

                    • Null Pointer, so many of your claims are imaginary. Biden has not “deliberately crashed the economy.” Deportations are still happening. Suspending rent temporarily during a pandemic is not “seizure of public property.” It is the pandemic, not policies passed to get through it, that has destroyed people’s livelihoods. You live in a world of right-wing fantasy and greivance, and there is no way to communicate with someone so immune to facts.

                    • Oh, and the Iran deal did not “give nuclear capabiltiies” to anyone. Quite the opposite: it increased inspections.

                    • No one could have stopped the pandemic, but Trump handled it exceptionally badly–discouraging mask usage, holding superspreader rallies, and promoting whacko miracle cures were actions that certainly got more people killed than would have otherwise died. He’s right to promote the vaccine now, but he primed his followers to believe so many insane conspiracy theories that now his strongest base won’t accept his advice.

                      More died under FJB’s watch.

                • I do not think Tara Reade’s allegations are credible, for a multitude of reasons.

                  What “reasons” other than you don’t want to believe them? She was willing to attach her name to them:credibility item #1. She was on his staff: #2. The allegations were not “discovered memories”: #3. #4 is that Biden is a proven sexual harasser based on a multiplicity of photographs. I train on that topic. His conduct as recorded is per se sexual harassment.

                  “I can’t speak to Ashley Biden’s diary.”

                  Correct, but it says what it says, and has been published.

                  What makes the allegations against Trump more believable to many is that he is an open misogynist

                  I have no doubts, none, that Trump in the past engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment. He is a misogynist. However, that past conduct as alleged did not take place while in an elected position with the US government or a state government. Nobody has alleged such conduct in the only elected position he has held. That’s a material difference, and yes, sexual harassment in any position of power is bad, but lawmakers breaking the law is worse–a violation of an oath, and unethical conduct by an exemplar. In this category, at least, you have it backwards on the facts: you can’t say Biden is “clearly” the lesser of two evils when he has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct in office, and Trump has not.

                  I do find some of the allegations against Bill Clinton more credible.

                  Well THAT’S a relief, since many of them are documented, and he had a staffer assigned to tamp down his victims’ accusations throughout his terms as governor, Paula Jones is pretty much a given, and Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broddrick have compelling stories that have held up to scrutiny.

                  • Several reasons: her ties to Russian propaganda (she has written for RT and expressed tons of admiration for Putin), her continued support of Biden up until 2020, and her record of dishonesty. You can look all of this up.

                • “I can’t speak to Ashley Biden’s diary.”

                  I’ve tried to avoid commenting so as to not pile on… But this is egregious. The information is out there, readily available, and they didn’t editorialize on it. If you actually want to pretend like you care about sexual impropriety at a presidential level, you should care about this. You should have sought knowledge. Only seeking the knowledge that reinforces your priors is hackery.

                  The short story is that they’re right. In my estimation, the reason that #MeToo hit Democrats disproportionately is because Democrats have disproportionately loose morals. Democrats like to point to closet Republicans, or family values Republicans that got caught with their dick in the nookie jar and pretend that this is some kind of all-encompassing problem, when in reality falling short of your morals does not mean that you don’t have the morals, it means that sometimes principles are hard, and people fall short. Meanwhile; Democrats don’t even pretend they have those morals. The party of “free love” is disproportionately populated by scum like Matt Lauer, who had a button installed on his desk to lock the doors and shutter the blinds of his office, for ease of office sex-dungeoning.

                  I absolutely refused to be lectured to about morals from people who won’t approach the conversation honestly. Physician, heal thyself.

                    • Yeah, the same place you got the information on Trump’s fixation with Ivanka, it’s this new thing called Google.com.

                      Sorry to snark, but I have a recent policy of not spending time doing basic internet searches on readily available information for people too lazy or stupid to run their own search. It came out of a recent tiff over vaccine disinformation.

                    • Ok, I looked up the Ashley Biden diary. It was hard to find a source that actually detailed specific allegations against Joe–most focused on how the diary came to be in the possession of Project Veritas. Obviously, this is evidence of a conspiracy to suppress any damaging info about Biden, case closed, no follow-up questions.

                      But wait! Could there be other reasons? In finally tracking down a conservative source that showed the actual pages of the diary, the extent of the case against Joe is Ashley mentioning, among other memories that trouble her about being “oversexualized” as a child, “showers w/ my dad (probably not appropriate),” and overhearing her parents having sex. From these and other memories, she concludes that she thinks she was molested as a child–but she never says by whom. It also doesn’t say how old she was when these showers took place. I remember (or at least remember remembering) showering with parents, but I couldn’t have been older than five years old when this happened. So this is not very compelling evidence of Joe as a sexual predator.

                      Were I running a newspaper, I would not have published these diary entries, even if Ivanka wrote them. I feel gross having read them. I think you would need much more compelling evidence of abuse from the president to justify making public this person’s innermost thoughts about whether she was abused and how she is dealing with childhood trauma than what is featured here. So my conclusion: good for the MSM for not giving this a lot of attention, and the implication that I’ve somehow failed at being an informed human for not knowing about this virtual non-story is just ridiculous.

                    • Not the issue. The issue is whether such a diary by a daughter of any Republican figure would not be published by the mainstream media. There is no journalism ethics tenet that diaries are off-limits if they are relevant to public matters. Anne Frank’s diary was published. And this diary was published. (I have the link in one post.) Once it’s published, it is news. By definition.

                    • As I said, mainstream news sources have covered the fact that it was published, and gone into the (rather shady) process by which that happened. They did not (at least, in my rather short and rudimentary search) cover the lines about her father that Null Pointer and Humble Talent were alluding to. I think they were too vague to be newsworthy, they seem to think it’s a conspiracy.

            • “Biden is certainly touchy, in a way I find inappropriate; but I don’t see anything inherently sexual about his touching.”

              It’s not just inappropriate: it is per se sexual harassment under the law if it is not consented to and “unwelcome.” The expressions on most of those women’s faces make it clear how much they wanted to be touched.I have the cases: a repeated touch on the shoulder has been enough to find sexual harassment.

              You don’t help your own credibility by defending Biden in this area. His conduct can’t be defended. It’s been “inappropriate” for decades, and recognized in the law and culture as such, and he persisted anyway. Fair and knowledgeable observers should admit it: it is not a partisan issue.

              • I didn’t “defend” Biden from anything but Batman’s allegation that Biden is sexually attracted to minors. Stipulated: Biden’s unwanted touching constitutes sexual harassment, whether that’s his intent or not.

                • Good.

                  No one knows if Biden is sexually attracted to minors, but when one of my uncles kept treating my 12-year-old sister the way Joe treats girls in some of those photos, he told her to stay away from the creep. I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter.

        • “The problem with this logic is that, all policy preferences aside”

          So basically if we throw out 80% of the considerations of who we vote for, then you think Biden is the better choice?

          They are both bumbling dolts when it comes to communication. Only one has the benefit of every news channel ignoring his dumb comments while the other could be guaranteed that every single sideways word would be blared from sea to shining sea.

          • This is an ethics blog. My assumption was that Jack had an ethical case, rather than a policy case, for why Trump was a better choice than Biden or Clinton. Focusing so much on policy indicates to me that such a case cannot be made.

            Trump is pathologically incapable of distinguishing between fiction and reality. If the fiction makes him feel better about himself, that’s what he goes with. This is dangerous; the president has to make life-and-death decisions based on reliable information, and Trump gets his info from the MyPillow guy and Qanon people on Twitter. He is also an anti-democratic thug who admires authoritarian strongmen and wants to be like them. He tried, in his own words, to get his Vice President to overthrow an election. Anyone who cares about democracy, or even the safety of our nation, over partisanship, should see that Biden was the better choice, and should have seen this in 2020. But if you care more about partisanship, sure, Trump is your guy.

            • At some point, policy most certainly is an ethical consideration. Ethical people don’t espouse unethical policy nor do ethical people espouse unethical visions of the world.

              • “Ethical people don’t espouse unethical policy nor do ethical people espouse unethical visions of the world.”

                And yet you voted for Trump.

            • Biden gets his information from CNN and I’m not sure if that’s any better than Qanon.

              “Anyone who cares about democracy, or even the safety of our nation, over partisanship, should see that Biden was the better choice, and should have seen this in 2020.”

              Except that all the grown ups in the room at the time who are now being absolutely proven correct *DID SEE* what was going to happen in giving power back to Democrats.

              • “Biden gets his information from CNN and I’m not sure if that’s any better than Qanon.”

                I’m sorry, but that’s idiotic, and completely undermines your later attempt to claim the mantle of “grownup.”

                • No, you said something stupid, so I replied with something stupid.

                  Trump didn’t get his “intel” as president from Qanon or MyPillow guy.

                  What an abjectly stupid thing to assert.

                    • “This is dangerous; the president has to make life-and-death decisions based on reliable information, and Trump gets his info from the MyPillow guy and Qanon people on Twitter”

                      Then this was just an especially ignorant comment then.

                    • Granted, he was likely not getting foreign policy advice from the MyPillow guy. But the fact that he listens to such people at all, on any matter, means his judgment is untrustworthy. And this was clear in 2016 when he was praising InfoWars. Do you dispute that Trump has no ability to tell reality from fiction?

                    • Of course I dispute that; it is self-evidently false. Your derangement is showing. You do not have the success he has had in the challenging fields of real estate, hotels, and casinos while being unable to distinguish reality from fiction. Trump has many flaws and weaknesses, but that isn’t one. He does have terrible judgment regarding advisors, especially lawyers.

                    • “You do not have the success he has had in the challenging fields of real estate, hotels, and casinos while being unable to distinguish reality from fiction.”

                      He’s had plenty of failures in these areas as well, and he has been found misrepresenting many of his successes. His long record of exaggerating the worth of his properties in some contexts and minimizing them in others actually supports my point about him not caring about outcomes, but rather what he can say about outcomes to help himself. And of course, there is evidence that he too has declined mentally in his old age–it’s perfectly plausible that he was more able to tell reality from fiction in his younger days, but cannot do so now. If he genuinely believes the claims of people like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, that is evidence enough for my assertion.

                    • Deflection and irrelevancy, Katie. Do better. That’s foudering on your part. The fact is that he has been successful in very difficult businesses. The fact that he has not been successful in every case, or has had embarrassments and failures doesn’t address my statement at all. He’s been successful.

                    • Wrong. There is no evidence that Trump is any more or less impulsive, irresponsible or reckless than he was when he was younger. Read any of his books. There is no comparison between Biden’s decline, which is visible and obvious, and Trump.

                      You are increasingly presenting yourself as someone who is so biased you are incapable of accepting realty yourself. I do not waste my time debating such people. The claim that Trump was in some kind of mental declines so the 25th Amendment could be used to remove him was one of the more outrageous Democratic ploys. If you bought that, I don’t know that you can be objective.

                    • “The claim that Trump was in some kind of mental declines so the 25th Amendment could be used to remove him was one of the more outrageous Democratic ploys. If you bought that, I don’t know that you can be objective.”

                      I am pleased to inform you that I did not. The 25th Amendment was never the appropriate way to handle Trump’s conduct.

                  • Of course CNN is a biased and unreliable news source. It’s also one of the best we have. Since we’re talking about “binary choices,” the mainstream media, despite its many, MANY flaws, is of course more reliable than where Trump gets his information.

                  • Trump believing he won the election after inventing a scenerio that the election was rigged and stolen because there was some grand Democratic conspiracy to fake votes and intentuo ally commit voter fraud is proof (out of many) that Trump doesn’t know reality vs fantasy.

                    His inane fantastical comment about dressing up our bombers as Chinese is like example 1478 of why Trump doesn’t know reality from fiction.

                    Can’t believe I’m even saying this to an ethicist.

                    (Also even in this thread you mention how Trump wanted Pence to not count the electoral votes…another example he doesn’t understand reality)

                    • 1. The scenario that the election was “rigged” became a realistic possibility the instant mail-in ballots and relaxed chain of custody standards were allowed.
                      2. Saying he doesn’t know reality from fantasy is just a slur. He had some terrible advice regarding his legal options, and Trump always speaks in exaggerated and extreme terms.Do your homework.
                      3. Based on this comment, I conclude that you don’t understand the difference between being mistaken about the law and embracing crack-brain ideas occasionally and “not understanding reality.”

                    • 1. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in mail-in ballots and there was no “relaxed chain of custody.” And whether something is a “realistic possibility’ does not make it fact, which is Trump’s position on the “rigged election.”

                      The 2020 election is, at this point, the most thoroughly investigated election in our nation’s history, and the investigations have led to not even a .01% rate of fraud. The theories are not “realistically plausible” anymore, if they ever were, and yet Trump still believes them, or pretends to. Either possibility makes him an unacceptable leader.

                      The fact is that Trump lost because he was a historically unpopular president who ran a terrible campaign during a national health crisis that he did not take seriously, then told his own supporters not to vote by mail during said pandemic. Every attempt to take the voter fraud claims seriously is an attempt to deflect from this fact.

                      2. Ok, since you asked, I did some homework. Here you are saying that Trump “doesn’t understand the concept of truth.”

                      https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/09/02/how-can-you-tell-if-hillary-clinton-is-lying-her-lips-are-moving/#comment-403999

                      How, exactly, is that different from our assertions that Trump cannot tell fiction from reality? It seems to me to be just a different way of saying the same thing.

                      3. Trump does not embrace crack-pot ideas “occasionally,” he does so as a matter of course. It defined his presidency. This wasn’t some quirk you can downplay; conspiratorial, paranoid thinking is key to how he sees the world and his place in it, perhaps moreso than even Nixon before him. To deny this is to deny what’s right in front of you.

                    • Stipulated: reasonable suspicion does not constitute fact. This is the same position Bill Barr tried to explain to Trump. However reasonable suspicion is still valid suspicion, particularly in high stakes election, where if there are opportunities to cheat, cheating is likely.

                      Kudos for doing research, though using a comment in a post about Hillary Clinton’s habitual lying is a funny choice for your point. Believing that truth is a flexible concept is the tool of a con artist. Not being able to distinguish fiction from reality is very different. One is a choice, the other isn’t. Choosing to defy reality is a frequent tactic of visionaries and risk takers, and often successful

                      There you go again. describing Trump in such terms is itself at odds with reality. He has shown that he sees many things very clearly. he’s a u8nique hybrid of a fox and a hedgehog, and that’s why he confounds those who under-estimate him—like you do.

                      Mail-in ballots by definition involve chain of custody problems. You are simply wrong. There is no way to be sure the voter filled out the ballot. The post office handles the ballots. The people who recieve the mail then handle it. Then the ballots are opened and recorded. There are multiple hand -offs—that is a security problem.

                      2020 may be the most thoroughly investigated, but that doesn’t mean it has been thoroughly investigated, and it cannot be. The Wisconsin, Arizona ,Georgia and Pennsylvania irregularities that have been identified are sufficient to justify uncertainty and distrust.

                    • The 2020 election is, at this point, the most thoroughly investigated election in our nation’s history, and the investigations have led to not even a .01% rate of fraud. The theories are not “realistically plausible” anymore, if they ever were, and yet Trump still believes them, or pretends to. Either possibility makes him an unacceptable leader.

                      There is probable cause.

                    • “The Dems were behind the Russian collusion myth.”

                      Really? Not Don Jr., whose own emails show him attempting to meet with people who said they were with the Russian government and had dirt on Hillary that they would like to share with him? Not George Papadopolous, who told an agent much the same thing? Not Paul Manafort, who shared internal polling data with Russia? Not Trump himself, who publicly stated that if Russia had anything on Hillary, they should release it? And these are only a few data points of dozens.

                      Stipulated: There was no direct link found between Russia’s proven attempts to meddle in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign. No deal was signed, no promises made. What the Mueller report did find was that Russia meddled in favor of Trump, and that the Trump campaign gladly accepted their help. What we saw was four years of Trump praising Putin, demanding he be let back in to the G8, and doing everything he could to elevate Russia’s influence and reduce the sphere of influence of democratic Western powers. This continues today with Trump praising Putin as a “genius” for invading Ukraine while saying nothing in support of the Ukrainian people or in condemnation of Putin’s aggression. It isn’t crazy to connect these dots, and it would have been an abdication of duty to not investigate some of them.

                    • Ugh. They didn’t “accept the help,” which was, by the way, minuscule.If there was no “collusion” and no quid pro quo, and no coordination, there was no way to accept or reject it.

                      Jesus.

                    • “Ugh. They didn’t “accept the help,” which was, by the way, minuscule.If there was no “collusion” and no quid pro quo, and no coordination, there was no way to accept or reject it.”

                      Factually incorrect. “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer” is an acceptance. “Russia, if you’re listening — I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing” is an acceptance.

                      A rejection would be “Our campaign categorically condemns Russia’s attempts to meddle in our democracy, and any continued attempt to do so will not be tolerated under a Trump administration.”

                      But neither Donald Trump nor anyone in their campaign could bring themselves to say this. Instead, they lied and said it never happened at all.

                  • 1. The scenario that the election was “rigged” became a realistic possibility the instant mail-in ballots and relaxed chain of custody standards were allowed.

                    In what way does a bipartisan law passed years ago in PA that allowed more people to vote (and apparently more fraud) equate to the idea that the election was rigged by democrats in some grand conspiracy to commit voter fraud?

                    Even Barr told Trump all of these “rigged” allegations were bullshit, Trump STILL ignored the reality and expressed these fantasies to the American public…causing wide-spread damage to our democracy.

                    You’re ignoring the part where Trump said “the election was rigged” not “oh PA has these mail in ballots that has a potential for fraud…we better look into that”

                    Trump took that idea further and said there was some country-wide conspiracy againt him to rig the election. And used these examples (with no proof and only speculative) to say that the Dems used these mail in ballots for fraud and rigged the election

                    (As a side note…The idea is also hilarious because if these mail in ballots are so flawed, couldn’t anyone use them to rig and election? Why only the Dems? Doesn’t make any sense of course)

                    • Wrong.The overwhelming majority of mail-in ballots were from Democratic voters, and Democratic officials pushed the mail-in requirements. As for PA, this was the firs Presidential election held under a law found to be unconstitutional.You can’t throw out those votes, but it is not incorrect to say that in that very close state, votes that should not have been allowed may have been decisive. Nobody has done the work, because it’s moot. Nonetheless, a position that Trump might have prevailed in that state with a valid voting requirement isn’t absurd at all. What’s absurd is the certainty.

                    • Recounting the same fraudulent ballots is uninformative.
                      A good audit involves taking a decent sample size of mail-in ballots (close states) and investigating their authenticity.
                      I don’t know if this has been done.

                    • “The overwhelming majority of mail-in ballots were from Democratic voters”

                      Jack, that’s because Trump told his own supporters not to vote by mail!

                      You may have a point about the PA law–which was, as Knowledge Miner points out, widely supported by both parties up until the point that Trump lost–but that is a very, very small part of the conspiracy Trump has alleged. It doesn’t even cover most of what he’s alleged about PA, specifically.

                      https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/trump-washington-rally-pennsylvania-fact-check-20210106.html

                      Knowledge Miner is wrong about only one thing–Trump didn’t just allege a country-wide conspiracy, but a worldwide conspiracy theory involving Venezuelan-hacked voting machines and DNC servers in Ukraine. It’s fair to pick the best argument from someone when you’re evaluating the strength of the argument itself, but in defending the person–or at least his relative suitability for the job as “world’s most powerful old man”–it doesn’t make sense to focus in on the one area where he might have a point and ignore the dozens of other cockamamie ideas he rattles off in between Big Macs.

                    • Even Barr told Trump all of these “rigged” allegations were bullshit, Trump STILL ignored the reality and expressed these fantasies to the American public…causing wide-spread damage to our democracy.

                      Please explain how this damages democracy.

                  • But how does a State passing a bipartisan mail in ballot law years ago equate to a rigged election or evidence that election fraud was committed?

                    This PA law was passed years ago and with bipartisan support.

                    Couldn’t Republicans tell their voters to use the mail in ballots too? I don’t get your point here.

                    Unless there’s some other sort of evidence that the Dems did something specifically during the election that the Republicans can’t do that resulted in a rigged election…your point doesn’t make any sense.

                    Just because mail in ballots make it easier to commit fraud and Dems use them more often, doesn’t mean the election was rigged.

                    The idea that mail in ballots are easier to commit fraud with just makes it easier for ANYONE to commit fraud.

                    NOT just the Dems.

                    And no…telling voters to use mail in ballots is not evidence of a rigged election. Nor is it proof that the Dems could have committed voting fraud…since Republicans can do the same thing. There’s nothing unique about the Dems vs Republicans here.

                    • Doesn’t surprise me a bit…and I also assume he was making a point, not literally saying they should vote twice. The news media always took Trump literally when he was engaging in satire or hyperbole. This is a prime example.

                    • I don’t know how to argue with someone who insists that not only does the president not mean the things he says, but it’s actually unfair and biased of people to believe that he means the things he says. Especially when this is a standard to which you would not hold Biden, or any other politician. It is not your or my job to find the best possible meaning of the president’s words even if that interpretation flies in the face of everything we know about the man. (I mean, really, do you think Trump cares one way or another whether he wins legitimately or illegitimately?)

                      The way Trump has lowered our standards for the office is reason enough to never vote for him, especially against Biden–who has certainly had his unprofessional moments, but is overall a statesman who takes his words seriously.

                    • Your argument is perfectly clear: When Democrats say that they want to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to vote, they mean people should vote illegally. When Trump says people should vote illegally, he’s making a satirical point about Democrats. And it’s partisan to think otherwise.

                  • Agree to disagree.

                    Do you acknowledge that mail ballots apparently being easier to rig an election with just makes it easier for ANYONE to rig an election? Not just the Democrats.

                    I don’t see how Democrats using mail in ballots more than Republicans factor into the fraud or rigged allegations. Machines can be rigged too…Republicans using machines more to vote doesn’t mean past elections were rigged.

                    • Do you acknowledge that mail ballots apparently being easier to rig an election with just makes it easier for ANYONE to rig an election? Not just the Democrats.

                      Of course. But Democrats fought for less secure voting laws…and still are. What does that tell you? In 202o, the so called “enthusiasm” gap was huge: conservatives were more energized and eager to vote. Allowing people to vote with little effort or commitment at all was a big boon to Democratic turn-out.

                    • “In 202o, the so called “enthusiasm” gap was huge: conservatives were more energized and eager to vote.”

                      No, you misunderstood the polling. Trump supporters were more enthusiastic about Trump than Biden supporters were about Biden; BUT, Trump supporters were actually less enthusiastic about voting than Biden supporters were about voting. Some of this can be attributed to negative partisanship (I, like many, voted for Biden because I thought he was the lesser of two evils; this goes double for Hillary), and some can be attributed to Trump souring his supporters on the democratic process with his constant insinuations that their votes wouldn’t matter because it would be rigged anyway. (See also his effect on the Georgia runoffs, where he made this more explicit.)

                      https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2020/07/31/reality-check-trump-biden-enthusiasm-gap

                      https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-say-theyre-fired-up-to-vote-especially-democrats/

                    • Yes, those were the exact same polls that predicted a Biden landslide, and were proven wrong. The polling establishment was completely disgraced in 2020. Literally nobody was enthusiastic about Biden. Without the “vote from an armchair” rules, Biden may well have lost.

                    • Then what are you basing your claim that “conservatives were more energized and eager to vote” in 2020, if not on polls?

                  • “But Democrats fought for less secure voting laws…”

                    So? (I don’t really agree anyway but I’ll pretend I do). The example you’ve been using is about a PA law that was passed by Dems AND Republicans.

                    If the mail in ballots are less secure, how does that benefit the Democrats? Can’t anyone exploit these security issues?

                    How does this argument flow into the idea that Dems rigged the election?

                    Explain that to me.

                    You’re argument is that the Democrats are fighting for mail in ballots, which are less secure, and that means they possibly rigged the election?

                    That doesn’t follow.

    • As someone who voted for Trump, I’d like to draw your attention to a pretty important distinction that I thnk you are missing. I voted for Trump, but I did not want him to be President. Another way of putting it is that I felt that with my two main choices, Trump was better than Biden. This does not mean that Trump isn’t a horrible choice. The 2016 and 2020 elections were just like my old job, Process Engineering. Decide, of the options given, what sucks least and act on if. I don’t actually know anyone who WANTED Trump to be President. I know a great many people who thought that he’d do a better job than Clinton or Biden and voted accordingly, but I don’t know of anyone who he would do a good job at all the requirements of the President.

    • As it turns out, President Trump got to say something idiotic about F-22’s from a position a zero influence. Meanwhile, President Biden…actually, I don’t need to say another word, do I?

      • Zero influence? He’s still the leader of the Republican Party and the frontrunner for 2024.

        And I do need you to say more about Biden. What has he said that comes close to this level of idiocy?

        • Literally telling Putin that we weren’t going to do anything if he entered Ukraine.

          Recall after a whole lot of bluster Biden, true to having a lack of resolve, hedged his bets by saying “And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do,”

          Anyone can quibble about the accuracy and logic of the words, but in the game of geopolitics, those are weak squish words. And Putin knew he had a milquetoast facing him.

          You can even quibble about how the world has clumsily and individually fallen into sanctions against Russia and that now we’ve finally gotten a few sanctions with teeth – but the fact remains – a strong leader whose threats are believable, would have prevented an invasion at all.

          • Do you believe Trump would have prevented this invasion? When his only comment so far on it has been that it’s “genius?”

            • So far, between Obama’s administration, Trump’s and Biden’s – the military under Trump actually killed Russian militants in Syria, Trump actively killed high profile leaders of bad organizations, Trump goaded NATO into taking its military preparedness more seriously, if I recall Obama told Putin to “wait …. then you can do what you want”, Biden told Putin “we might do less for limited incursions”.

              Yeah, I think Trump’s unpredictability and associated killing of bad actors is precisely what gives bad actors pause to think.

              It is, as a matter of fact, “genius” to wait patiently until the American people elect a feckless imbecile to office before making major Geopolitical moves that would require someone with resolve and confidence in American might to oppose.

              • “So far, between Obama’s administration, Trump’s and Biden’s…Trump actively killed high profile leaders of bad organizations,”

                Yeah, Obama never did that! 😉

                “Trump goaded NATO into taking its military preparedness more seriously,”

                This is a very weird way of saying “Constantly badmouthed NATO while praising Russia.”

                “if I recall Obama told Putin to “wait …. then you can do what you want”,”

                You do not recall correctly.

                “Biden told Putin “we might do less for limited incursions”.”

                Ok, and? Putin didn’t take a limited incursion and now we’ve destroyed their economy. It was a stupid thing to say, but pre-Russian invasion is basically a different historical era now; in the era we’re in, Biden’s actions against Russia have been serious, calculated, and effective.

        • Katie says:
          “And I do need you to say more about Biden. What has he said that comes close to this level of idiocy?”

          Well since you asked. Btw, this is but one of the countless vids out there that expose your champion when off his meds.

  1. I don’t know whether letting the Chinese and Russians negotiate the Iranian nuclear deal in which we get nada and we eliminate all sanctions plus give Iran over 7 billion for four American hostages was worse than Trump’s impetuous comment but comparatively speaking one will go into effect as soon as Thursday and the other will not.

    • I mean, one difference is that Trump’s “impetuous comment” is real, and the things you’re saying about the Iran deal are not. We don’t “get nada” from the Iran deal, and it doesn’t eliminate “all sanctions.”

      • We get nothing of consequence out of the Iran deal and the Russians laughed at how easily we were rolled. Tell me what did we get? In ten years they still get nuclear weapon capability all totally legal because every sanction is gone. Iran gets to keep its weapons grade uranium which binds future presidents from pulling out of any deal that gives Iran the ability to get nuclear weapons.

        Now let’s discuss the Biden talking points about oil leases while he negotiates increased production from despots around the world. He claims there are 9000 oil leases available for drilling but he fails to tell you that leases don’t mean oil is present. This administration has cancelled about 50 % of the existing drilling permits for producing wells and his appointee to he Fed is on record stating they will seek to punish banks that lend to fossil fuels developers. That itself prevents financing. In short Biden’s claim that the oil companies are to blame because the are not taking advantage of the leases. Having rights to a plot of ground does not mean it will pay off nor do the policies of the administration give financing institutions that the collateral is valuable. Biden stated today that oil companies are producing more in his first year in office than was produced in Trumps first year. Not a comparison. Compare Trumps last year with Biden’s first year. Trump had to unravel the Obama Biden legacy before his energy policy took hold. Trump may be obnoxious but Biden is willfully deceptive and a profligate liar.

        • To clarify, you do not believe that Trump is willfully deceptive or a profligate liar?

          Or is it just that Biden lies about things you care about, and Trump lies about things you don’t care about?

          • Because I’m voting for a leader, not “Most Ethical,” and my responsibility as a voter is to do what is in the best interests of the nation at a particular moment in history. I believe fervently that character counts most in leaders all else being equal. However, leadership ability and ethical values are not strictly correlated. Herbert Hoover, indeed all of Roosevelt’s Presidential opponents, were more ethical than FDR, who was a stone-cold sociopath. I would have had to vote for FDR at least the first three times. Barry Goldwater was a more ethical man and politician than LBJ, but that was an easy choice too. My choice in 1972 between Nixon, unethical to the core but experienced and competent, and McGovern, a decent man with no leadership abilities at all was to punt: I refused to vote for either. Was Nixon less trustworthy at that point than Trump was in 2020? Close call.

        • Also – every rational nation right now that has the technical ability to begin nuclear programs will now begin them at some rudimentary level. They have no reason to believe that nuclear armed nations will back them against aggressors.

          The world is literally a more dangerous place for everybody when Democrats are elected to power in the United States.

  2. Given the news treatment of Trump’s phone calls after the 2020 election, I wouldn’t be surprised if the story was leaving out vital context that changed the meaning of Trump’s words. Until I hear uncut film or audio, I’ll withhold my judgement on this one.

  3. Katie: Let us start with the fact that several career negotiators quit over the way we were giving away the farm to Iran. It was reported that Iran demanded that US negotiators were not permitted to be in the same room with their representatives. Iran demanded the following to be off the table and we agreed: Ballistic missile development, hostage taking, and the financing of terrorism by the IRGC.

    The other point I wanted to make so I will make it here is that none of us know the context of that comment. What I do know is that plausible deniability requires that the plan remain secret and articulating it out loud publicly vitiates all ability to claim innocence. I believe the writer of the article and his WAPO counterpart look for ways to create the impression that Trump is floating “serious” ideas when in fact he is merely “musing” about something to entertain his audience.

    The entire article is written suggests an anti-Trump bias. It guides the reader to come to the conclusion that he was serious, yet it uses the adjective “muses” to couch the bias. We all muse about things. It is called wishful thinking. The author goes on to surmise that Pence was attacking Trump as a Russian apologist for his statement that he thought Putin’s strategy was genius. You can respect an adversaries tactics without supporting them. Name the only recent US President who has directly sent lethal aid to Ukraine to battle the Russian forces? Trump. Name the President who was roundly mocked for his warning about Europe becoming captive to Russian energy? Trump. Which president recently stated he bears no responsibility for higher energy costs – Biden. Please learn about the factors that go into pricing of oil and unleaded gasoline futures and then tell me if his policies have not harmed the American consumer.

    Trump is obnoxious and a braggart. I would prefer a more polished President, but he is a showman that values outcomes more than style.

    • Trump is obnoxious and a braggart. I would prefer a more polished President, but he is a showman that values outcomes more than style.

      As should we all. In this regard, he is the anti-Obama.

        • No, and you know that’s not what I wrote, because you can read it above your comment. I am saying that style is, while important, not as important as substance. Style is also not “means” as far as policy is concerned—it is “means” regarding effective and competent leadership. Malign stye like Trump’s is an impediment to the “ends” he should be seeking—but he still deserves credit for the ends he achieves. For the most part, Trump’s positive policy accomplishments were in spite of his style, not because of it.

    • “The author goes on to surmise that Pence was attacking Trump as a Russian apologist for his statement that he thought Putin’s strategy was genius. You can respect an adversaries tactics without supporting them.”

      If your only comment about an adversary invading a democracy is that it’s “genius,” and you do not couple this with any moral condemnation, you are supporting them. We all understood this before Trump. It’s why every other former US president has condemned the invasion. Why can’t Trump?

      “Name the only recent US President who has directly sent lethal aid to Ukraine to battle the Russian forces?”

      I can’t, because there are two of them: Trump and Biden. Biden, however, did not try to hold that aid hostage in order to bribe Ukraine into launching an investigation into his top political opponent. Trump did.

      “Name the President who was roundly mocked for his warning about Europe becoming captive to Russian energy? Trump.”

      And Biden has actually banned Russian energy.

      “I would prefer a more polished President, but he is a showman that values outcomes more than style.”

      Trump does not value outcomes, he values what he can say about outcomes. This is an important distinction. See, for instance, his opposition to testing during the pandemic; he wanted to be able to say deaths were low, and didn’t actually care whether they were low. He has a long record of this dating back to his real estate days. He does not care what is real, he only cares about giving himself credit for awesome results, and is more than willing to lie about those results.

      • “Trump does not value outcomes, he values what he can say about outcomes. This is an important distinction. See, for instance, his opposition to testing during the pandemic; he wanted to be able to say deaths were low, and didn’t actually care whether they were low. He has a long record of this dating back to his real estate days. He does not care what is real, he only cares about giving himself credit for awesome results, and is more than willing to lie about those results.”

        Now you are edging into derangement territory. Trump is a narcissist, and values winning and being successful. Saying he doesn’t value outcomes is simple false, and absurd on its face. Indeed, he values outcomes to an unethical extent: he believes that the ends justify the means. I don’t trust leaders like that, but many of our most successful and revered leaders also took that approach. In war, it is usually the approach that wins: see Lincoln, FDR, and Truman.

        • Jack, he doesn’t accept the reality of outcomes if he doesn’t like them. He just lies about them. When you truly care about outcomes, you do everything you can to take advice that will lead to good outcomes, even if you don’t want to hear it. Trump ran just about the worst campaign I’ve ever seen in 2020, in part because he refused to listen to the advice of people telling him to take Covid a little more seriously. A president facing that kind of crisis would have gotten a Bush-after-9/11-style boost by handling the issue with minimum competency; instead, Trump did everything he could to sabotage himself. He even told his own supporters not to vote by mail during the pandemic. Now you can blame the media for Trump not getting this kind of rallying-around-the-flag response to Covid, but that ignores his own responsibility here.

          • If memory serves; Jacks focus in past blog posts highlighted the MSM, social media & censorship, Hollywood, and academia’s, four year 24/7 blistering attacks on all things Trump (and lying) as means of rigging the election along with concealing Hunter Biden’s laptop fiasco until after the election.
            Cannot underestimate the power of propaganda.

            For example: a media research center poll taken in late Nov. of 2020 found that 17% of dems would not have voted for slo-jo if they had learned of just 1 of 8 Hunter Biden censored stories.

            And this: National Public Radio’s public editor, Kelly McBride, explained NPR’s coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop claims by sharing this quote:

            “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR Managing Editor for News Terence Samuel said. “And quite frankly, that’s where we ended up, this was … a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.”

            Imagine if the laptop belonged to Ivanka or Jared.

            https://nypost.com/2020/12/10/how-media-covered-up-the-hunter-biden-story-until-after-the-election/

              • Private companies choosing not to report on a story–especially when that story is unconfirmed or suspicious, as even many at the New York Post thought at the time–does not make an election “stolen.” You could just as easily claim that the 2016 election was “stolen” from Hillary because the FBI did not make it public that they were investigating the Trump campaign until after the election. That is sloppy, partisan language that confuses more than it clarifies.

                • See, Katie, you lose credibility with a comment like this. They are news organizations, and their duty is to report the news. The Biden laptop story was well-sourced; Glenn Greenwald thoroughly confirmed it. Sure, the companies can “choose” to embargo news, can choose to be partisan, can choose to deceive the public. This is an ethics site, and the point is not whether they have a right to be biased and manipulative, but whether they should be, and the damage they do by not being objective as their profession’s ethics require. The NY Post story was as credible as thousands of stories the Times, for example, carries from other sources every month. This one damaged their “guy” so they buried it.

                  Was the MSM’s embargo a conspiracy? It sure looked like one: no source broke ranks.

                  And your investigation analogy is terrible. News of an investigation is pure speculation that is prejudicial: this is why Comey’s announcement that they were looking at Hillary’s email on Weiner’s laptop was so wrong. The Post report wasn’t about an investigation—it included what was found on the laptop, There was no excuse for the other organs hiding the story…except unethical favoritism of one candidate over the other.

                  The position on that here is not partisan or sloppy: I would hold the same if the MSM withheld a damaging story about Trump. But they never have, and never do. That’s one way we know the MSM is untrustworthy.

                  • Glenn Greenwald has been happily promoting Russian propaganda and minimizing their invasion of Ukraine since it started. He bashes the “mainstream media” while being a recurring guest on Tucker Carlson’s show, a program he never criticizes. Ask me how seriously I take his “confirmation” of anything.

                    And you’re changing the subject. Whether the media was ethical to try and suppress this story or not (I think they had legitimate reason to be skeptical; the store owner who claimed to have the laptop had a story that did not seem reasonable at the time, and there was valid concern about Russia planting stories again) has no bearing on whether the election was “stolen;” that’s not what the term means. “Stolen” implies illegality, not just lack of ethics. It strikes me that you are very particular about strict definitions in some contexts (“racism,” for instance) but very much in favor of using far looser definitions of words in others.

                    • He’s on Fox News because the rest consider him a traitor, because he ratted their corrupt bias out. Greenwald is not a conservative nor a Republican, and he’s certainly not a Trump fan. He has always fought government abuses. I don’t agree with his analysis in all things, but he’s honest, and a muckraker on all sides.

              • In what way does a news embargo by private companies justify the claim that there is a nation-wide conspiracy by the Democrats to rig the election by tampering with mail in ballots?

                • You have to start doing better than that if you want to stick around. That’s not what I wrote. I wrote: “The laptop story embargo all by itself justifies Trump’s opinion that the election was “stolen.” The anti-Trump partisans just pretend it never happened.” I did not write, nor do I think, that the unethical and partisan black-out of the story had anything to do with fraud allegations.

                  The campaign was not covered fairly or objectively; Biden was protected by the media, and Trump was slimed (by the phony Russian bounty story, for example.) Trump has some good reasons to feel he was robbed. That doesn’t mean he’s right about all the reasons he may feel he was robbed.

                  • We know what you said…and it doesn’t change my response.

                    Trump didn’t just claim he was treated unfairly by the media and metaphorically “robbed”….you know that.

                    He claimed the there was some nationwide conspiracy by the Democrats and they committed election fraud and rigged the election using mail in ballots and maybe tampering with machines.

                    You’re changing the subject now and retreating to a motte and bailey here.

                  • The underlying issue, brought up by your own article, is Trump believing ridiculous things that aren’t true. If you believe there is some credibility to the idea that the MSM “stole” the election from Trump by being unfair to him, but don’t believe there is any credibility to his beliefs on Venezuelan hackers, Dominion voting machines being rigged, millions of illegal immigrants voting without getting caught, or the Vice President having the authority to decertify an election, then good, he’s got 1 out of these 5 right. That doesn’t solve the problem of the former president and possible-future-president believing ridiculous things that aren’t true.

  4. Let’s give Katie a round of applause for almost single-handedly creating the first single day 100+ comment post in a very long time…and with civility, grit and good spirits too.

  5. Katie says:
    “Trump supporters were more enthusiastic about Trump than Biden supporters were about Biden; BUT, Trump supporters were actually less enthusiastic about voting than Biden supporters were about voting.”

    Indeed, dems were extremely fired up to vote for literally anyone after four years of being propagandized that Trump was literally Hitler and they were dumb enough to believe it. Heck, most dems probably did not even know about Biden’s predilection for fondling little girls and boys.
    Social media censorship played a big role too.
    Now look at the mess we are in.

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