I suspect any concession announcement from President Trump’s will mirror one of his most influential—and malicious—political LIES. However, I won’t be surprised if our current president never utters anything acknowledging his defeat or congratulating President-elect Biden.
Citizen Trump was arguably the highest profile “celebrity” to publicly doubt former President Barack Obama’s place of birth. Mr. Trump was a birther. Though there were earlier clues about Trump questioning Obama’s citizenship, his 2011 appearance on Good Morning America represents his flagrant LIE meeting his biggest audience.
Tweets inevitably followed.
When the then New York real estate mogul and former reality TV star came down the Trump Tower elevator to declare his presidential bid in 2015, the LIE was one of his favorite calling cards. Speak or tweet the LIE and reactions followed. Many jeered . . . how wrong and misguided that LIE was. But many, in particular those who were forming his political base, cheered.
Citizen Obama had job interviews, applications to colleges, and campaigned successfully and unsuccessfully for political office. His background was known. Individuals and institutions had endlessly vetted him over the years. Had his citizenship been a question, it would have been questioned early and often. However, there was nothing to question.
But don’t we love malicious, secret lies? And Trump adored his LIE.
When you lie, and you are caught in a lie—in particular one that is hurtfully directed at another person—isn’t apologizing in order?
More than five years after his Good Morning America appearance, candidate Trump indicated that he would use a press conference to give an update on his view of the LIE. Oh, how the press salivated. Finally, Trump would come clean. Trump, now the Republican standard-bearer, would shed this childish deceits.
The day came. September 16, 2016.
[Presidential campaign histories may note that the Friday in mid-September when Trump shared “new news” about his birther views was exactly three weeks before the world heard citizen Trump brag to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush about the powers of his magnetism. So said reality star Trump in 2005: “… When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”]
Candidate Trump, who thought he could do anything, welcomed the press to another shining star in the Trump brand universe: his Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., just a fifteen-minute stroll from the White House. Great spot for a press conference!
Candidate Trump, ever alert to pleasing the crowd, invited military veterans to the event. He spoke highly of them. A number of them, mingling behind them, were a lovely cross-section of America . . . black, white, old, young, men, women. Praise the veterans! Don’t we love ‘em!
He waxed semi-eloquently about the newest digs in the nation’s capital. Stay and play at Trump International!
He fawned over the veterans.
The press waited.
The nation waited.
And then—drum roll, please—the truth about the LIE was revealed. Candidate Trump abruptly, quickly, and blandly said: President Barack Obama was born in the United States – period.
Five and more years of lying and lying and lying. Then, the anticipation of the truth. Then, the fanfare and hoopla. How about this wonderful hotel! How about those great veterans!
It was not his first lie. It probably wasn’t his worst lie. But the LIE put him in the spotlight.
The LIE carried him to September 16, 2016.
The LIE cemented, for citizen Trump and candidate Trump and President Trump, that lies were always an excellent way to build the brand.
Will outgoing President Trump give a concession speech? Will he publicly congratulate President-elect Biden? Will he admit defeat?
Maybe, but I won’t be surprised if it comes while promoting his “next big thing” and perhaps with a few veterans smiling and nodding behind him.
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I am a person of faith. Flawed faith. I carry regrets. I have and will make foolish mistakes. I have and will lie. But, especially with those lies that hurt others, I made an effort to apologize, to heal the relationship. Isn’t that what true strength is about?
One of my many favorite passages in the Gospels is where Jesus refused to help a Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Hey, she is Canaanite . . . she is the other. He basically calls her a dog:
“It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs,” Jesus said.
She replied, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Jesus, who had belittled her, had his mind changed. He acknowledged her faith “was great.”
While it wasn’t Jesus lying, those verses speak to me of the power of truth, of a relationship that is transformed because of open honesty. Jesus insulted someone. The foreign woman gently challenges him. Jesus sees her with new eyes and offers a blessing.
I wish and hope and pray that Mr. Trump could offer a “blessing” to Mr. Biden.
I fear he won’t.
I fear his prefers the LIE.