Trump still isn't in the same league with Johnson and Nixon

Wednesday , November 29, 2017 - 4:00 AM3 comments

DON PORTER, special to the Standard-Examiner

What I would really like more than anything else, I must tell you, is to make a speech in front of Navajo code-talkers – you know, the Native American heroes who risked their lives to thwart enemy surveillance during World War II’s Pacific campaign? – during which I would call Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” It’s killer funny, always makes people laugh. I’m sure the Native American veterans would laugh with me. 

Wait. Enough.

I was going to write a column in which I adopted the persona of the current president of the United States, just outright lying about how popular and significant I am, and making racist jokes about people I don’t like. President Donald Trump did both within the past week, claiming that Time magazine wanted to name him its “Person of the Year” for the second year in a row, then mocking Warren’s claims about Native American ancestry.

And that’s just the weird, offensive behavior that got a bit more attention than his continuing attacks on the NFL and its national-anthem-knee-taking athletes.

We live in a bizarre world. But honestly, I can’t really tell if it’s significantly worse than what we’ve been through the past 50 or 75 years, or whether this is just a new kind of wretched.

For example, I’ve recently been watching the PBS documentary series “The Vietnam War” and have been shocked all over again that the U.S. government could do such a thing. I’ve read plenty of books about the war, but to actually hear taped phone conversations in which President Lyndon Johnson admits, early in his presidency, that he knows the war is unwinnable, is staggering.

And members of his Cabinet felt the same way, yet continued to funnel young Americans into the Southeast Asia slaughterhouse, where they and the opposing forces are engaged in daily carnage to … save face? Whatever it is that constitutes evil, that has to be one definition.

As terrifyingly nutty as Trump is, he hasn’t done anything like that. Yet. I’ll grant you, he still has plenty of time to do even worse, but so far it hasn’t happened.

Which brings to mind another fact from “The Vietnam War”: Richard Nixon was treasonous in his effort to scuttle peace talks in the closing days of the 1968 presidential campaign, hoping it would improve his chances for victory. He placed his own political ambition over the possibility, however remote, that peace might be achieved in Vietnam.

When the investigation into the connection between the Trump campaign and Russia is complete, maybe we’ll know a lot more about how truly sinister the current administration is or was. Or, Trump and his people will be exonerated.

We’ll see.

But for now, we know one thing for sure: The president is a boor. He’s surely the worst liar we’ve ever elected, as well, since he’s told at least two people recently that the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape – the one of him bragging about grabbing women’s genitalia and kissing them without their consent – is “not authentic.”

It’s mind-blowing, since he apologized, repeatedly, for the things he said on the tape during the waning days of the 2016 campaign.

Let’s hope he doesn’t have an opportunity to do something even more foolish, like start a war.

You can email Don Porter at and follow him on Twitter @DonPondorter.

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