today in black history

May 30, 2024

African American Episcopal Zion (A.M.E.Z.)Bishop James W. Hood, a fierce advocate for Blacks' rights, was born in 1831.

The Man with the Toxic Touch

POSTED: March 16, 2017, 11:30 am

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The nation’s 45th president, the man with bravado and bombast, and the unapologetic arrogance of white male privilege, has established himself as a toxin to just about everything he touches in his presidency.

Beginning with his inauguration, a moment in which the political establishment of Washington DC traditionally casts aside partisanship, President Trump managed to transform what should have been a moment of humility and personal triumph into a childish tirade on comparable crowd size in a bid to outdo his predecessor. He went a step further, not satisfied with his Electoral College victory, the only constitutional standard for election, Trump made the baseless claim that millions of illegal immigrants had cast ballots in the election.

These were early signs of the toxicity of this president. He takes generally benign moments and injects venom that then poisons the discourse and sets in motion a nonsensical debate over obvious lies that great emotional energy is then invested in dismembering. Worse still, he uses his presidential aides to be active carriers, engaging in deception and purposely working to sow dissension and keep the American public in a state of confusion. This president is presenting himself in the image of “spiritual wickedness in high places” as he has us trapped in a sort of civic purgatory. There is a certain element of evil in the repetitiveness of lying that has become standard practice in the Trump administration. It is one thing to offer alternative views but from the leader of the free world we should expect truth, or the closest approximation to truth the president can utter based upon available facts.

As a candidate, Donald Trump railed against the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care policy that has come to be known as “Obamacare” as President Obama’s signature initiative. Without offering any detailed replacement, Trump declared he would repeal Obamacare on “day one” of his tenure. Well, day one came and went, as did weeks, and all this president could continue to do is offer an incoherent string of excuses before finally submitting that health care is “complex.” This foolishness was enjoined by House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose fear of this president is embarrassing, and who finally offered up a Republican plan that the Congressional Budget Office has exposed as policy Pablum that will leave tens of thousands of Americans without health care, harm the poor and working class, and endanger the health of women. In a country where citizens are in dire need of health care and better overall wellness strategies, this president and his spineless Speaker are offering sickness and death.

It gets even worse. While charging well established news organizations as the purveyors of “fake news,” President Trump takes as gospel the idiocy of a right-wing ideologue who claims President Obama wiretapped the president’s apartment in Trump Tower during the campaign. The president then turns around and repeats this idiotic claim and not only disparages his predecessor but maligns the dignity of the Office of the President. It couldn’t just end there. He then has his zombie-like spokesperson Kelly Anne Conway claim that ‘microwaves’ might have been used to eavesdrop despite F.B.I. Director James Comey making it plain that no such surveillance took place.

Trump has also taken an issue, illegal immigration, that most reasonable people can agree is a problem in this country and turned it into a crusade against Muslims and “bad hombres” from Mexico, while putting children in fear that their parents will be deported. He is showing the same disregard for families that was shown toward enslaved Africans, the victims of human trafficking that HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson deemed “immigrants.” As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump boasted that Mexico would pay for the construction of a wall along the southern border of the United States. Now, as president, he claims the United States will recoup from Mexico the cost of building the wall, after we pay for it. While the administration goes on an illegal immigrant hunt, there is no discussion on real immigration reform; nothing but more poison injected into the civic space.

It is becoming more apparent every day in the life of this administration that no matter the policy issue, this president will poison the debate by playing politics in the gutter and enabling his staffers to serve as ministers of mayhem. At some point, responsible Republican voices will have to rise up in dissent or face the destruction of their party. Whatever short-term gains Republicans on the Hill think they can accrue under this administration will be pyrrhic victories. The Republican Party as we know it, as it has been realigned under this president, is on a suicidal path as it drinks from a poisoned well.

Walter Fields is the Executive Editor of

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