How Facts Got Off To A Bad Start In Trumpland

It has become fashionable in some circles to suggest that the U.S. has become a “post-truth” or “post-fact” society. That might be an exaggeration, but it’s hard to deny that facts had a bad start to the month.

First there was President Trump’s evidence-free claim that his predecessor had tapped his phone. Then there was last week’s Republican broadside against the Congressional Budget Office over its not-then-released analysis of their health care plan. Finally on Friday, the government released the monthly jobs numbers — finally, actual facts! — only to see the White House respond by accusing (first implicitly, then explicitly) the Obama administration of cooking the books in the past. (There is no evidence that it did so.)

This week, however, facts struck back. The CBO on Monday released its report on the Republican health care plan. As expected, the report predicted that the plan would cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. Less expected was what happened next: People listened. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, said she would oppose the bill because it would leave too many of her constituents uninsured. Her New Jersey colleague Leonard Lance said the CBO report had “modified the dynamics” and that he wouldn’t support a bill that was likely doomed in the Senate in any case. By the middle of the week, the consensus in Washington was that the CBO had seriously weakened the bill’s chances of passage.

Then on Wednesday evening, a federal judge in Hawaii issued an order temporarily blocking Trump’s revised ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. Judge Derrick Watson’s blistering ruling (“The illogic of the government’s contentions is palpable,” read one line) argued that, essentially, Trump couldn’t tell the courts that the ban had nothing to do with religion while his advisers were going around saying the opposite on television. Or, even more succinctly: Facts matter.

Watson’s ruling (and a similar one from a judge in Maryland on Thursday) will no doubt be appealed, and the GOP health care plan is likewise far from dead. But this week suggested that if Trump wants to enact his agenda, he will need facts as well as rhetoric on his side.

Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight.

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Posted by on March 17, 2017. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to How Facts Got Off To A Bad Start In Trumpland

  1. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    March 17, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I’m not usually a gambler, but I’m betting that sometime next week a flock of facts about members of the Trump cabinet taking payments from Russia before and perhaps after Jan 20th will stand up and be counted. I don’t see how Mattis can avoid jail for getting a paycheck from a Russian agency that hacks computers, an airline that’s banned in much of the world for its illegal activities while sitting in on classified security briefings. I suspect Tillerson who has made a fortune for Russia’s state oil company and received a medal for his services is going to wish he hadn’t — and then there’s Trump himself. I think they’ve been digging all this while and I think they have something

    “That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
    “Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
    “Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
    “Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
    “Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!

  2. Bill Formby Reply

    March 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Glynn, I think your are referring to Flynn instead of Mattis. I could be wrong because someone keeps changing the lineup card but I think Mattis may be the only cabinet member who is not a crook.

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