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Even if you don't like him, get your information right about Trump

Guest Commentary


I read a recent syndicated column blaming President Donald Trump for the recent shooting in the newsroom in Annapolis. Whoa! That is a stretch.

The president has certainly been critical of the national press, but his opinion surely didn’t incite the gunman. Everything I know about the tragedy indicates that the deranged shooter had a personal beef with the paper.

There isn’t any evidence that the gunman was even aware of presidential tweets. To criticize Donald Trump for this catastrophe is unreasonable and is not based on facts. He didn’t influence anyone to randomly shoot reporters.

There is nothing wrong with being critical. I have been critical of the political bias of the national networks. I think it is wrong, both right and left, to deliberately try to influence public opinion in the guise of news. News should be factual, and the public should be left to determine their own position based on unbiased reporting.

I have also been openly critical of our president. He goes out of his way to create chaos and thrives in an ambiguous environment. I don’t like that. I think the most powerful man on earth should have a calming influence.

He seems to enjoy being a bully. His first reaction when dealing with other world leaders is to attack. That is not the image I want presented for my country. He relishes spontaneity.

One-man rule is efficient but seldom finds the best course of action. Most decisions involving our national interests need the input and consideration of a staff of experts. Trump’s style of speaking before thinking makes me uneasy. I didn’t vote for him and probably won’t vote for him if he runs again. But, I think we need to be fair in our criticism.

It isn’t even necessary to get the basic facts correct in order to slam the president. We are so divided that a large and very vocal group chooses “no-Trump” and will disapprove of anything he does or says about any issue any time any where.

The Democratic lawmakers won’t even smile when he embraces one of their positions. If Trump supports something they automatically disapprove. There are “no-Trump” journalists who are so caught up in the frenzy they forget to check their facts. A recent national columnist claimed the president should have accepted the European Union’s offer of a tariff-free market. When I checked, it was President Trump who made the tariff free offer and the European leaders who rejected it. Get it right.

There is a general assumption that Trump is looking for another conservative justice on the Supreme Court in order to overturn Roe vs. Wade. I’m not sure that’s a valid assumption and, therefore, unfair. During Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings in 2016, he repeatedly stated that his personal views on abortion were immaterial. He accepted Roe vs. Wade as the law of the land and vowed to uphold the law. I believe any nominee will share the same opinion.

We have been living with guaranteed abortion rights for 45 years now, and society still functions. But what if the decision were overturned? That wouldn’t be president Trump’s fault, nor would it be the end of the world. It was bad law in the first place. It may or may not be bad policy, but it is bad law.

The decision stretched the Constitution close to the breaking point. The Constitution does not even come close to mentioning abortion, and all things not mentioned in the Constitution are left to the states. Thus, if the ruling were overturned, abortion would revert to the prerogative of the states where it should be. I am sure that our state government would legalize abortion almost immediately. Life would go on.

I sincerely hope our president decides four years of turmoil is enough. If he decides otherwise and stands for reelection, I will side with the opposition. I will be fair and open, however, in my criticism.

Frank Watson is a retired Air Force Colonel and long-time resident of Eastern Washington. He has been a free-lance columnist for over 19 years.


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