Foster: Even Fox News weary of Trump's lies

Folks, if you’ve doubted Donald Trump’s mental stability, look no further than the furor over his fixation on Hurricane Dorian. He spent more than a week defending his crackpot statement that Alabama was in the crosshairs of that storm while saying little about the actual hurricane damage as it ravaged the East Coast.

A few days before Dorian parked off the coast of Florida, Trump said the storm was headed for Alabama. His statement was quickly renounced by the weather service staff in Birmingham. Then the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration bowed to political pressure to support Trump’s statement.

Trump even went so far as to present a map with a black marker line extending the cone of the storm into Alabama. It was such an amateurish fraud that Trump was hounded by reporters about the source of that map. His answer was to say, ”I don’t know” three times, as to wish away the question.

Trump’s habit of exaggeration and outright lying is getting tiresome even for some commentators on his favorite news outlet, Fox News. The latest example comes from Neil Cavuto, a Fox host who called out Trump on his latest round of tariffs aimed at China.

Trump says China’s government or exporting companies will pay a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion in goods imported into the U.S. But the duties are paid by importing companies and most likely passed along to consumers through higher prices.

“But just to be clarifying, China isn’t paying these tariffs. You are,” Cavuto said. “It’s passed along to you through American distributors and their counterparts in the U.S. that buy this stuff from the Chinese. Not the Chinese government or China in particular.”

For example, the price of a high-end Apple iPhone could increase as much as $100 unless Apple absorbs some of the tariff paid to the U.S. government. In addition, nearly two-thirds of all shoes sold in the U.S. are imported from China so your cost of footwear likely will be going up. And the list goes on.

Trump told an outright falsehood when he announced the latest round of tariffs, saying, “The tariffs are not being paid for by our people” but by China because “of devaluation and because they’re pumping money in.”

China has responded to Trump-imposed tariffs in the past by hiking tariffs on American good imported by China. This has devastated American farmers, who lost about 60 percent of their markets for corn and soybeans in China.

Trump wants farmers to believe they are made whole by the multi-billion dollar bailouts passed by Congress, but most of those subsidies went to big corporate farms. The average farmer would be happier if left alone to sell their crops as in the past. Chinese officials astutely targeted American farmers who gave major support to Trump in the 2016 election. He may have a lot of explaining to do during next year’s campaign in the farm belt.

Trump also is catching heat from other Fox News hosts for his racist tweet about four congresswomen of color saying they did not love America so they should “go back and fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The four women are all U.S. citizens. Three were born in the U.S. and the fourth, Ilhan Omar, came to the U.S. as a child from Somalia.

Fox News political analyst Jessica Tarlov compared the tweets with Trump’s promotion of racist “birther” conspiracy theory that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.

“The focus needs to be on the President of the United States of America using racist tropes against people of color in this country and that is why his approval rating can never get past a certain level,” Tarlov said on the Fox news program “America’s Newsroom.”

Brit Hume, a Fox newsman who’s usually a reliable Trump supporter, chimed in that his attacks on the congresswomen were “nativist, xenophobic, counter-factual and politically stupid.”

Trump also earned the enmity of both Democrats and many Republicans in Congress over his character assassination of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. Mueller was reluctant to testify before Congress and only did so after being subpoenaed by two house committees on oversight and intelligence.

Trump has lashed out at Mueller during the past two years of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but Mueller spelled out without a doubt that his report did not clear Trump of obstruction of justice. Even if Trump isn’t impeached, he could face these charges and indictment once he leaves office.

Mueller doesn’t deserve a word of disrespect. He’s a life-long Republican who has served his country as a federal prosecutor and 12 years as director of the FBI. Importantly to me, he’s a fellow Vietnam veteran who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his bravery.

Trump, the draft-dodging bully, isn’t worthy of carrying Mueller’s boots.

— John D. Foster, a Carthage resident and former editor of the Panola Watchman, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum. Email

Today's Bible verse

“The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.”

— Nahum 1:3

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