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Trump's False Facts Grow More Dangerous

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By A.B. Stoddard, Real Clear Politics

This week in presidential falsehoods was epic -- the Latino rapists are back, and so are the "millions" of imaginary illegal voters in California. But those garden-variety conspiracy theories and bonkers statements that have come to define Donald Trump are just more eye-rolling fodder. It's his other latest untruths that are far more destructive.

[post_ads]A baseless broadside against an American company has rattled financial markets, and the incorrect assertion that a "big Caravan" of Hondurans is heading toward our border because of DACA cannot be laughed off, and will have lasting consequences. Trump thinks voters are idiots and will swallow his lies, or he is feverishly spewing untruths he does not comprehend. Perhaps one moment it is the former and the next it is the latter, but neither is acceptable.

Over the holiday weekend, the president simultaneously began ranting about Amazon and the "dangerous" caravan of migrants he learned about while watching "Fox & Friends." He insisted Amazon was benefiting from a scam, paying lower rates to the U.S. Postal Service for its shipments. He also insisted The Washington Post should register as a lobbyist for Amazon since he appears to believe the newspaper is providing public relations support for the online giant because it also happens to be owned by Jeff Bezos. Or something like that.

Friends and advisers of the president have told reporters for Axios, the New York Times and Vanity Fair that Trump rages and obsesses over Bezos, and conflates Amazon with the Post when he doesn't receive the coverage he desires.

Trump lashed out at the post office for becoming "dumber and poorer" over the imaginary shakedown he said is "causing tremendous loss to the U.S." In 2017 the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission determined the contracts with Amazon were profitable. Neither the post office, nor the taxpayer, is subsidizing shipments from Amazon, and the agency defends its rates as fair -- a discounted price any bulk shipper pays when using the USPS. The post office continues to lose money because of a steep reduction in letter mailing and an increasing inability to fulfill its pension commitments for employees. Meanwhile, its business of shipping packages continues to grow.

If he was watching his favorite television channel, Trump may have seen Fox News anchor Shep Smith explain in detail how the scheme Trump has created in Twitter tirades is not actually real. Smith concluded by describing Trump's jumble to White House correspondent John Roberts as "a great deal of confusion or something, because none of that -- none of that was true."

Roberts didn't sugar-coat it. "This can be boiled down into very simple terms," he said. "This is personal. And it's between the president and Jeff Bezos, the guy who created Amazon and who also owns The Washington Post."

But the continuous coverage of these fantastical characterizations didn't sway the president from one of his favorite pastimes -- doubling down on debacles -- so days into the controversy he tweeted, "I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don't have a clue (or do they?)!"

Meanwhile, Amazon's stock price tanked by 5 percent, causing losses of $36 billion in its market value. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a statement saying, "It's inappropriate for government officials to use their position to attack an American company." But as the market flipped out, congressional Republicans -- who during President Obama's two terms perfected their "we don't pick winners and losers in the economy" speech -- continued to cower in silence. People employed to answer questions at the White House had no answers about what the president might do but stated that he had "expressed his concerns."

So it was a good time, while engaging in a tariffs duel with the Chinese that also panicked Wall Street, for Trump to threaten our neighbor and ally in Mexico with more misstatements and B.S.

The news of the journey of asylum seekers towards Mexico, an annual event, plus heat in conservative media stemming from Trump's willingness to sign the last omnibus spending bill, prompted the president's Easter Sunday declarations there would be "NO MORE DACA DEAL" and that "our country is being stolen." He blamed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for the caravan, falsely stating migrants were coming to "take advantage of DACA," a program providing protections only to those who arrived by 2007 and were under the age of 16 at the time.

Trump accused Mexico of "doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S.," and threatened to withdraw from NAFTA. "Must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA," he tweeted. "NEED WALL!"
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Mexican officials didn't take kindly to threats or the accusation they were inviting illegal immigrants into their country, let alone that they were responsible for those entering ours. One even suggested the commander-in-chief broadcasts false information collected during his television viewing. Luis Videgaray Caso, secretary of foreign affairs, tweeted, "Every day Mexico and the U.S. work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect this. An inaccurate new report should not serve to question this strong cooperation. Upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law. Happy Easter."

As a result, someone persuaded Trump to rein in his Mexico bullying, and his subsequent tweets repeatedly noted their strong immigration laws and "their willingness to use them so as not to cause a giant scene at our border." But the damage is done, not only with the government of Mexico but with all the nations around the world that are watching, and that know no word from the U.S. president is good. It's either not true or it won't last.

Yet the absence of credibility, for someone in the most important job in the world, doesn't seem to bother President Trump. We all know he won't quit alternative facts. But they're bad for the nation's health, even the ones that don't threaten our alliances or our economy.

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Trump's False Facts Grow More Dangerous
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