Richard Vatz’s recent commentary (“The unjustified incredulity of Trump-haters,” June 12) poses an interesting question about President Donald Trump’s supporters: “[W]hy would any sentient being support a president who lies so consistently?” It’s a great question and one that I’ve been pondering ever since Mr. Trump began his presidency by lying about the crowd size at his inauguration.
Most Americans were surprised that President Trump would choose to begin his conversation with the American people with an obvious lie. He knew that his crowd wasn’t bigger, so why lie about this trivial and easily verifiable point? Was it just ego and bluster, or was it a signal to the country that he would now be the arbiter of truth in America? A signal to members of his administration that echoing his false claims was now in their job descriptions to stay employed and in the good graces of the mercurial president?
As an alumni of Dr. Vatz’s public speaking course at Towson University, I expected a better argument than “What about them?" His suggestion that Mr. Trump’s supporters are not repulsed by his blatant lies was because if Joe Biden and Barack Obama lied, how can we hold Mr. Trump accountable for his lies? Dr. Vatz proposes that if only the media was harder on Mr. Trump’s rivals, his supporters would be moved to acknowledge his flaws. He submits that any misstatements that Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama made are equal to the mountain of lies President Trump has spewed.
They aren’t. It wasn’t a perfect phone call. The coronavirus isn’t going to miraculously disappear. George Floyd is not looking down from heaven thinking that it’s a good day for America.
Yes, all politicians lie to us sometimes, and, no, Joe Biden is not perfect. But can we accept four more years of Donald Trump dividing our nation and with his relentless lies? His supporters back him because they want what he says he will get for them — an end to abortion, more conservative judges, lower taxes; and he’ll even build a wall. If that’s what you want, then I understand why you would put up with what Dr. Vatz describes as Mr. Trump’s “vile style and dishonesty." I just have a very hard time respecting anyone for it.
Mr. Trump’s lies are corrosive and strategically crafted to divide our nation for his own personal gain. It is about time that educated people like Dr. Vatz acknowledge that and stop defending him.
Mitch Vitullo, Columbia
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