It seems as if blindness and deafness to the truth has become contagious and has spread to 30 percent of the people of this country. Everyday more and more stories come out about the crime, corruption and cruelty of this administration. And yet there are many who refuse to see the truth, this president and this administration are corrupt to the core. Their belief lies in the propaganda being shouted by the hypocrites at Fox News and the Liar in Chief himself, Donald Trump, a man who has already told over 12,000 provable lies since in office.
There are crimes committed it seems daily that the supporters of this cult of dishonesty deny. At least six of Trump’s cabinet members have resigned or have been investigated for their criminal, unethical or corrupt practices. Scott Pruitt, the former head of the EPA, resigned due to abusing taxpayer funds by using government planes and costly private charters for personal use. This is the same paranoid cabinet member who thought he needed and had built a $25,000 sound proof secure booth for his office. The same Scott Pruitt who felt he needed a 24 hour a day security detail and the right to fly first class or private charter to keep people away from him so he didn’t have to listen to those who funded this lifestyle complain. Fortunately, public outrage ended in his resignation.
Then there is Ryan Zinke, the former head of Interior. The man who appointed oil and coal company executives and lobbyists to his staff to help protect our public lands, the same public lands that the administration has opened up to oil drilling and mining. Just like Pruitt, Zinke thought it appropriate to use taxpayer money to fly around the country in style on private chartered flights to attend events that were personal and had nothing to do with official government business. Fortunately, he also resigned finally.
Then there is the former head of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin. He thought it prudent to guard against waste by sending a memo to all staff in his department that only essential department travel would be allowed in order to save the country money. He and his wife, three department staffers and one of their husbands and six security staffers then proceeded to fly from New York to Copenhagen for 10 days for a meeting in Denmark and London. Only the meetings were on the first day of the 10 day trip and the last day. In between they visited medieval castles, toured Europe, shopped and attended Wimbledon. Shulkin’s wife was reimbursed for her “expenses” with up to as much as $3,600 a day. Some of the staffers did pay for their own personal expenses but the “working” trip still cost the US taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. He eventually stepped down.
Tom Price, former head of Health and Human Services, flew around the world on the government’s dime on private charted flights, even though his net wealth is estimated at around $4 billion dollars. His flights alone are estimated to have cost the government at least $1 million dollars. He resigned.
Then there are those who are still in office. There is Rick Perry, Department of Energy, same thing, private chartered flights when commercial would do spending thousands of dollars. Betsy Devos, Education Secretary, does pay for her own flights but has round the clock protection from the Marshals Service, unprecedented for a Secretary of Education. And Ben Carson trying to buy a $30,000 table for his office.
Then there is the biggest con artist and flim flam man of them all, Donald Trump. This is a man that declared during his run for office he would be too busy to play golf, unlike according to him, Obama. As of the first of July, 2019, Trump has visited his golf properties at least 190 times at a cost of over $105 million dollars. Each time he flies to Mar A Lago, it costs the taxpayers about $3 million dollars. He has been there at least 24 times. And each time he visits one of his golf properties it costs the Secret Service tens of thousands of dollars for room rentals, meals, golf cart rental fee, etc. Oh, by the way, all that money goes in Trump’s businesses and into his own pocket. The same with his DC hotel.
Foreign dignitaries stay there hoping that it will gain them favor with Trump. Republican politicians stay there and book its ballroom, including the Attorney General, William Barr. The Republican National Committee spends millions at his properties in order to keep him happy. When Pence traveled to Ireland he stayed at a Trump hotel 180 miles away from the city of Dublin where the meetings were held with the head of Ireland and helicoptered daily back and forth, wasting thousands more of taxpayer money, all at Trump’s “suggestion”. And I could go on and on about the money grabbing frenzy being carried out by his family. But that would take even more time.
And now we have Trump strong arming a foreign president to help interfere in the 2020 election with the aid of the crazier by the day Rudy Giuliani. This story is slowly evolving and each day we learn more and more how dishonest this man is. He was telling the truth when he said he saw no reason not to take dirt from a foreign country on any of his political opponents as long as it would help him win. He is actively looking for it. Seems we have the best president that money can buy. And his followers, like those of other cults, do not care. For there are none so blind as he who refuses to see.
Steve Creed is a local resident who writes columns for the Record-Herald.