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Words from Winterbilt

Trumps Words - are there consequences?

Shannon Bohrer

(10/2017) President Trump is known for speaking in terms that some have said are not presidential. He has been accused of creating stories, telling half-truths, creating alternative truths and even contradicting his own staff. He has created a lot of his own press on this subject with his tweets. There have also been instances where his own version of an event changes, like the purpose of firing the FBI director. Saying he fired him because of a report by the Assist Attorney General and just a day later telling the press he fired him over the Russia investigation.

While the Presidentís words are repeated by the press and well documented, he has supporters that disbelieve the press, in essence believing that President Trump is still moving forward in his quest to "Make America Great" again. Sometimes people really do believe what they want to believe. From my perspective the larger problem is not that people believe him, itís that he may believe himself.

President Trumpsí alternative reality has been evident for good while. We could start with his belief that President Obama was not born in America. He held that belief for over 6 years, repeating the claim on multiple news outlets and interviews. Then, when it was finally debunked, he took credit for finding the truth. Candidate Trump said he saw news reports of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after the 911 attack, which everyone debunked. This was even debunked by the Police Chief in the town where it supposedly occurred. Of course President Trump still insists that he received more votes than Hillary and that his inauguration crowds were larger than President Obamas.

While these "alternative facts" are not true they donít seem to have any consequences. Everyone tells a little fib and we all know that all politicians lie Ė donít they? President Trumpís supporters often bring up the fact that President Obama said "If you like your doctor you can keep him" as an example that President Obama lied. Thatís one lie for President Obama and 1,145 false and misleading statements for President Trump. This number was as of September 8, 2017, with just 232 days in office. The information is from Fact Checkers on going data base, as reported in the Washington Post. Of course, if you only get your news from Facebook, you may not believe this.

I recently heard a quiz show host ask a contestant a true or false question, "President Trump lies or misstates the truth Ė 4 times every day?" The contestant answered "yes" and got it wrong. Apparently President Trump lies or misstates the truth 4.6 times on average per-day. Think about that Ė a quiz show question. Of course the media often counts the same lie several times, but only when the President repeats them. On the positive side President Trump is truthful, on average about twenty percent of the time.

Since the election, the acrimony and rancor has grown between the parties and I also believe that much of this is directly relatable to President Trumpís words. Conversely I donít think that we should ignore the fact that being political often means coloring ones words and meanings. However, in President Trumpís case the misstatements, omissions and alternative facts have not only become the norm, they are expected.

President Trump believes, or at least he said, that he is the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln. I donít believe history will reflect his perspective. President Trump made that statement while speaking to the Boy Scouts of America. While the press was writing about this statement, President Trump was speaking to a law enforcement group, mostly police officers, when he told them "When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in. Rough," and while I consider that deplorable, there were some officers that cheered. He continued saying "Ö Ďplease donít be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you are protecting their head, the way you put your hand [over their head]. Like, donít hit their head, and theyíve just killed somebody, donít hit their head. I said you could take the hand away."

Those words should have consequences and not just for President Trump. A national debate ensued following his comments and there appeared to be two sides to the issue with no middle ground. One side came out forcefully condemning the words, saying that President Trump was basically telling, or suggesting to officers that they break the law. The other side said that they finally had a President that supports law enforcement. On the support side there were a few police union representatives. On the opposition side there were police chiefs and many rank and file officers.

While the president encouraged officers to violate the law he has also criticized Judges for rulings with which he did not agree. That is not supporting the law, that is not supporting the police and that is not supporting the criminal justice system. This is the man who fired the FBI Director Ė for doing his job. That job was to investigate the relationship between the Presidents election team and Russia. What would the President have said if FBI agents roughed up some of his friends while investigating the possible ties of the election team to Russia? If an officer were to arrest one of the Presidentís family members Ė roughing them up in the process, he would be complaining on twitter until his fingers were sore. That is the point, that we are all supposed to be treated equally, and history tells us that we have problems - when we donít.

The police make over 12 million arrest in this country each year and over 99 percent are made with no excessive force, no injuries and no complaints. Remember, persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty. It is my belief that the press often focuses on poor police behavior, which should be brought to light. I also believe that the majority of police and persons in the criminal justice community are not in agreement with the presidents words. How can one protect and serve the public, if you determine who should not be protected?

Having been in law enforcement for over 42 years I found the presidentís word deplorable. Supporting the law means you believe in law and order Ė for everyone. The President often uses words that he believes the crowd will like, not necessarily because he believes them, but to make himself look good. I worry that he believes the presidency is about him Ė not about the country.

I also worry that by the time this article is printed, his words will be so old that they will not be remembered. Alternative facts and un-truths have become so prevalent that we canít keep up.

Read other articles by Shannon Bohrer