John MalikJohn Malik
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Republicans Have Become Completely Immoral

Whether defending a known sexual predator, or ignoring unprofessional and dangerous conduct, the Republican party has become morally bankrupt. Republicans can no longer cling to their image as the Christian morality party, as that reputation has been shredded into tatters, given their ongoing support of Donald Trump.
Nov 5, 2020Updated 4 months ago
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Republicans Have Become Completely ImmoralRepublicans Have Become Completely Immoral
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Trump supporters consistently act dumb, feign ignorance, or change the subject when his platform is called into question. If confronted with the foundation of Donald Trump's beliefs—or even the basic facts of current events—Trump fans react in the stupidest possible way. Even when confronted with his past crimes, they willfully defend him.
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His supporters often feign total ignorance of his platform (or are genuinely uninformed about it). His supporters have so little knowledge about his platform that they are frequently speechless when confronted with details of his beliefs. Rather than react genuinely and show concern for holding a foolish position, they pause, laugh awkwardly and change the subject—or continue to hold their ground without reason.
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Trump supporters are so ignorant that they did not even realize they were being asked questions about Nixon's presidency. Bastiaan Slabbers/Getty Images
There are numerous videos, articles, and interviews in which Trump supporters will support him at any cost. They will even defend things he hasn't done. For instance, late night TV show host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Trump supporters about Trump's political record—only the questions weren't based on the president's recent impeachment; they were based on the Watergate scandal and former President Richard Nixon. When asked about Watergate, Trump supporters simply said “I have an opinion about it but I don’t want to speculate.” When the reporter asked one supporter if she thought Trump’s war in Vietnam (a war which took place in the 60s and 70s) was justified she said yes. “I like the guy,” the woman added. Trump supporters simply say there's nothing that he can say or do would change their minds. “No matter what he says or does, I would vote for him," one supporter told Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper. Other supporters continued to regurgitate Trump's lies about former president Barack Obama and the birther controversy. One woman said she continued to believe that Obama was a Muslim terrorist. “Do I have proof? No. Do I have articles? No," she said. Trump's base is not only ignorant about his own record in office; they are willfully dumb about nearly all else related to politics and governance.
Many Trump supporters don't understand the basics of his platform. They resort to feelings or beliefs instead of facts. When quizzed on his actual policies, they are often ignorant of even the most foundational things.
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Truth doesn't matter to Trump supporters. They make their decisions based on empty rhetoric and beliefs. For instance, throughout his first campaign, Trump repeatedly exaggerated or embellished crime statistics to make it seem as if there were a real threat of violence. CNN's Jake Tapper confronted Trump's then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with the falsehood. Tapper noted that FBI statistics showed crime had been declining for decades. “People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” Manafort said, dismissing the data. This tactic is typical of Trump supporters. They will dismiss facts in favor of their own "feelings." They exhibit a similar reaction as soon as they are asked to dig deeper on Trump's plans to carry out campaign promises. For instance, when the Daily Show's Jordan Klepper asked a Trump supporter who was going to pay for Trump's proposed border wall, the man could only reply: “That’s what we’re gonna find out." Because he had no clue. Similarly, when Klepper asked about how the impeachment trial unfolded, they could only respond with vague generalizations such as “It’s bullshit.” Another frequent tactic for deflection of discussing any concrete policies is to simply parrot what Trump has said on a particular issue. For example, surrounding the impeachment trial, Trump repeatedly urged critics to simply read the transcript, saying it would cast aside any doubt of his innocence. Trump supporters similarly repeated: “All you have to do is read the transcript," all while admitting that they themselves had not yet read the transcript.
They focus on slogans over substance. They repeat Trump's catchphrases over and over. This way, they don't have to engage in any real debate on his ideology.
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Trump supporters have taken to the president's slogans like few other supporters of a candidate in recent history. Whether calling his political rivals by their nicknames, or screaming his catchphrases at rallies, Trump's support is built on mimicry. Video footage from rallies shows supporters screaming such slogans as "Make America great again," "Build the wall," "Lock her up," or "Drain the swamp." As are many tactics of Trump supporters, this one is built to allow them to sidestep real debate of Trump's policies or beliefs. They can simply repeat a slogan instead of having a real discussion. One of Trump's most popular slogans during the campaign was "drain the swamp." This was meant to reference what Trump claimed were corrupt, career-politicians whose seats in public office had been paid for by big banks. And yet, when Trump was elected, one of the first people he selected for a cabinet position was Steve Mnuchin to serve as secretary of the treasury. Mnuchin is a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs, the essence of the "swamp" that Trump spoke out so vehemently against. When confronted with this reality, Trump supporters can only offer weak explanations that somehow manage to still incorporate the slogans themselves. For instance, one supporter shrugged and simply said: “There are parts of the swamp that are gonna come in.”
Republicans supporting Trump know that their position can't be justified. Traditional Republicanism is based on principles such as conservatism and family values. Trump’s personal life, public image—and much of his platform—fly in the face of traditional GOP values.
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In many ways, Trump's agenda is not traditionally conservative. In both his personal life and his politics, Trump represents a total lack of family values, Christian morality, and good business-sense, all elements that have been crucial to the Republican agenda in the past half-century. And yet, even old-school Republicans have continued to support him.
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Traditional Conservatism in the U.S. has constituted certain core values, such as respect for American traditions, limited government, support for Christian values, moral universalism, strong national defense, and free trade, among other principles. Trump exhibits almost none of those qualities other than a respect for free trade. That dedication likely only comes from his personal experience, supporting a set of free trade policies that have enhanced his personal wealth. When it comes to Christian values and universal morality, Trump can't make a claim to either. If anything, he is one of the most morally relativist politicians at work today. Trump may have grown up attending Norman Vincent Peale's New York City church, but he is not a man of God. Indeed, many Christian Republicans struggled to support the president during his 2016 campaign, citing his apparent lack of religious character. Many only came around after Trump promised to select an anti-abortion Supreme Court justice. Trump's personal life flouts many of the small-town Christian values that Republicans claim to support. He has been divorced twice and married three times. He has been embroiled in many sex scandals, including upwards of two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct. While Trump may support aspects of the Republicans' economic plans, such as tax cuts and free market capitalism, when it comes to the moral, Conservative core of the party, he is very far from the norm.
Republican party leaders will go to lengths to pretend they didn't see Trump's latest screwup. The words "no comment" or "I didn't see that tweet" may as well be the mantra of Republican leadership. They can only plead ignorance because his actions can't be defended.
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When Trump supporters or Republican leaders are confronted with the facts of what Trump does or says, they quickly unravel. That's because they know much of his behavior is indefensible. Earlier this summer, for instance, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory about Antifa. The same routine took place as often happens following an outlandish tweet: total denial. "I didn't see [the tweet]," Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said. "You're telling me about it. I don't read Twitter. I only write on it." "I'm not going to comment on the President's tweets," said Texas Sen. John Cornyn. Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner simply said he'd rather not look at it. In June 2020, journalists became so exasperated by the same "I didn't see it" responses that some reporters actually printed out copies of one Trump tweet to show Republicans in Congress. Even that failed. "Faced with documentary evidence of the president’s inflammatory remark, most Republicans averted their gaze on Tuesday, declining to comment as they darted through the hallways of Capitol Hill and appearing to wish away what was on paper in front of them," wrote the New York Times.
The reality is they want to hold on to their privilege. Whether for financial gain in the form of tax cuts, or a lack of government interference in the private sector, many Republicans' support for Trump is about personal gain. They're willing to put aside morality and logic for their own bottom line.
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People with an agenda, like many Republican Trump supporters, can't be objective about ideas that threaten their power. They are willfully blind to evidence that challenges their position. Even if changing their behavior or policies could save lives.
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When people benefit from the existing way of doing things, they are naturally reluctant to see it change. It’s human nature to want to preserve things that are helping you, even if those things are morally questionable. People have an unwavering ability to make excuses or simply be slow to understand the reasoning for any argument that will cost them money or power. One example might be an oil executive who struggles to accept that climate change is real. He cites the outlier studies showing it isn’t necessarily human-made. Exxon, it was recently discovered, knew about climate change as early as the 1970s. The oil company employed scientists to study the phenomenon and came up with climate models that showed how damaging carbon dioxide could be. And yet, the company publicly disavowed the entire phenomenon for decades. Another example is the 1970s tobacco executives who wouldn’t accept that smoking caused lung cancer. They found, or paid for, studies that suggested cancer could have other causes. As recently as the 2010s, Philip Morris continued to argue that its top-selling product, Marlboro Gold (formerly known as Marlboro Lights), reduced the risk of cancer. In the corporate environment, business goals and profits have historically superseded doing good for society. The concept of "doing good" was meant for non-profits whereas for-profit companies served shareholders. A threat to profits could ultimately become a threat to the entire company itself. With so many examples and the obvious way of human nature, it's clear that many people can become compromised based on their incentives.
Republicans think tax breaks from Trump are worth giving up their values. Republicans who support Trump use ideology as a cover for something much more base: they make more money under him than they would under a Democratic president. The Trump administration's tax breaks for the wealthy have convinced even conservative Christians that the end validates the means.
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Some Republicans came up with ideological cover for why they voted for Trump. The reality, however, is that many voted with their wallets. Under Trump's tax plan, the wealthiest Americans overwhelmingly paid less in taxes. “Most of the tax cut went to businesses and higher income individuals who are less likely to spend the increases," according to one report. The wealthiest 20% of households saw their income increase by nearly 3% under Trump's tax cuts. Especially for those with incomes in the six-figures or higher, 3% is huge. The New York Times went so far as to call Trump's tax plan a "windfall" for wealthy Americans—including Trump himself. While the plan saved money for many Americans, it disproportionately affected the top percentage of earners. Some said the plan was legitimately good for businesses. “You’re going to get a boost in investment,” William Gale, co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, told NYT. “It’s hard to argue that there won’t be a positive effect.” Underneath the guise of supporting Trump for ideological reasons, some fiscal Conservatives may have voted for him for these tax cuts alone.
They speak out against basic guidelines that would make the world a better place. Their resistance will have a ripple effect. Because of their obstruction now, we could see long-term consequences on public health, societal inequality, and the environment.
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Many support non mask wearing behavior, despite the science. Such disregard for medical evidence can cost lives. So far, more than 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19—and many of those losses were preventable.
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Republicans have been very slow to accept the need to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. President Trump did not accept the necessity of masks for many months. He refused to enforce a nationwide mask mandate. Trump first wore a mask in public in July, several months into the pandemic. After mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask, Trump seemed to come around. "I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place," he said. Some governors have shown a similar about-face after high death totals in their respective states. In Texas, for instance, Gov. Abbott changed his mind after the number of cases and deaths in the state started to soar. It was only then that he ordered Texans to wear masks in public. “Unfortunately it has been heavily politicized by state and federal leaders in Texas and across the country,” one self-identified progressive Texan said. “I hope its effectiveness is not blunted by the severity of the surge that we’re seeing.” Study after study has shown the effectiveness of masks. Scientists say that wearing masks could save nearly 100,000 American lives in the coming months. Republicans' willingness to sacrifice lives in the name of personal freedom is egregious.
Despite persistent racism, many don’t support Black Lives Matter. They voice criticism of the movement, even amid racist violence. That kind of leadership sets the tone for the nation, making it acceptable for average citizens to ignore Black Lives Matter.
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Racist incidents continue despite protests. And they show no sign of slowing down. If anything, developments in technology have only showed the insidiousness of racist violence in the U.S.
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The Cleveland Indians refused to change their name. Even under increased pressure, the Indians name remained unchanged. This is just one symptom of a broader disrespect for Native American tribes.
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For years, there were ongoing protests against the Indians’ team name, mascot, and common game chants. They recently removed their mascot, Chief Wahoo, but they have opposed changing the team name. Despite this, owner Paul Dolan said in 2019: “Not only are we adamant about keeping the name Indians, but the Commissioner (Rob Manfred) is similarly supportive of the name.” In July, Dolan agreed to meet with Native American groups to discuss the name, but he did not make any promises to change the name. Many indigenous people have been pressuring the stakeholders for years to change the name they say is offensive. In August, some 80 businesses and organizations signed a petition asking for a name change. Even with mounting pressure, the Indians have yet to announce an official name change.
Hundreds of Confederate statues remain. They are displayed in 31 states and Washington, D.C. Even states that were never in the Confederacy bear the marks of that uprising.
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There are at least 700 Confederate statues spread across 31 states and Washington, D.C. Other estimates put the number of Confederate memorials as high as more than double that, or nearly 2,000. The statues exist far outside of the former Confederate states themselves. The Confederacy itself was only 11 states. Virginia and Texas continue to have the highest number of Confederate statues of any state. Virginia has well over 100 Confederate statues—with more than 41 dedicated to General Robert E. Lee alone. For every Confederate statue that has come down in the past few months, ten still remain.
The "All Lives Matter" slogan was acceptable for a long time. That slogan was widespread throughout the United States. Even the vice president used it.
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Among certain groups of Americans, saying "all lives matter," or being actively against the Black Lives Matter movement was still acceptable. As recently as June of this year, Vice President Mike Pence refused to say "black lives matter." Instead, he repeated again in a TV interview: "I really believe that all lives matter." "All lives matter" might seem like an innocuous term, but its meaning is ignorant at best and racist at worst. Activists have often used the metaphor of a house on fire: if a neighbor's house is on fire, there's no sense in saying "All houses matter" and spraying water on the house that is not on fire. "No one's saying that your life doesn't matter," blogger Ayanna Lage told CBS news. "What we're saying… is all lives can't matter until black lives matter."
Confederate flags and symbols have continued to be permitted in many places. They adorn everything from private property to public land. They even fly in state houses.
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Confederate iconography continued to be displayed in spite of concerted efforts by protesters. In parts of the South, both in former Confederate states and otherwise, Confederate flags, bumper stickers, and other paraphernalia are ubiquitous. They can be seen flying in front yards or hanging off the back of a truck. Craft sites like Etsy even sell Confederate flag masks and candles. Confederate flags even fly worldwide, as a sign of rebellion, white supremacy, or even just American kitsch. They can be seen in Ireland, Brazil, and Germany, among others.
Yet, many Republicans refuse to support Black Lives Matter. They're being cynical about their base. By refusing to take a stand on racism, they're pandering to the lowest common denominator.
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Only 20% of white Republicans support Black Lives Matter. That number was more than three times higher among white Democrats, with 64% who support Black Lives Matter. The president has frequently made disparaging remarks about the movement. On Twitter, he said that the movement was “a symbol of hate." Other close supporters of the president have echoed those statements. "Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization," former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani told reporters outside of the White House. "Black Lives Matter has been planning to destroy the police for three years," he added. Right-wing hosts on Fox News, such as Tucker Carlson, frequently criticize Black Lives Matter. Carlson in particular stokes fear amongst white Conservatives, calling the protests a “dangerous moment." This refusal to support Black Lives Matter has devolved into downright antagonism. And that comes at a moment when police violence against people of color continues to go unchecked.
Republican policies on climate change are putting future generations of children at risk. This administration's rollbacks of environmental protections are undoing years of vital climate work. And Trump's destruction of the EPA is nothing short of a disaster.
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Climate change tends to be seen as a Democratic issue—and with good reason. Climate change denial has often fallen along partisan lines. Democrats are three times more likely to see climate change as an urgent issue, according to a recent Pew research poll. Some 90% of Democrats say that the federal government is not doing enough to protect the environment, compared to 39% of Republicans, according to the same poll. Trump in particular has made taking aim at environmental protections a top priority. "[The] Trump administration has dismantled most of the major climate and environmental policies the president promised to undo," wrote the New York Times this summer. Trump's administration has already reversed or is in the process of reversing some 100 Obama-era environmental protections. Those include restrictions on carbon emissions, air pollution, and drilling and extraction. The president claims that the protections were unnecessary and stifled industry. Environmentalists say they were vital in slowing the effects of climate change in the next few years. The destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been particularly egregious. Trump appointed a former coal lobbyist to head the agency, essentially making it a farce. The effects of these rollbacks could be huge, especially for future generations. They might lead to dirtier water and air, as well as rising sea levels and drought.
They also underreact or ignore the immoral things Trump has done. This willful blindness reveals their current immorality. Even Trump's most egregious acts don't elicit outrage from the party.
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He wished Ghislaine Maxwell well. Trump's supporters did not decry his support of an alleged sex trafficker. Maxwell is accused of selecting and grooming girls as young as 14 for Jeffrey Epstein.
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Ghislaine Maxwell
During a press briefing about the coronavirus in July, Trump wished Ghislaine Maxwell "well." A journalist asked him about the news that Maxwell, a French socialite and former partner of the late Jeffrey Epstein, had been charged with child sex trafficking. “I haven't really been following it too much,” he said at the time. “I just wish her well, frankly.” Maxwell is now being held without bail in New York City for charges of perjury and the trafficking of minors. It is alleged that she helped find and groom girls as young as 14 for Epstein and his cronies. She could serve as much as 35 years in jail if found guilty. Trump traveled in the same circles as both Maxwell and Epstein in Palm Beach, Florida and New York City. His association with them at all could be suspicious, but he has instead reaffirmed his friendship with the pair. In an interview with Axios later in the summer, Trump doubled down on his comments. “She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well," he said, adding, "I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.” What's stranger than wishing an alleged child sex trafficker well is the total silence on this issue from fellow Republicans. Neither leaders in the party nor average voters seem troubled by his unwavering support for the accused criminal.
Despite mounting rape allegations against Trump himself, his supporters refuse to acknowledge this. Even after more than two dozen women came forward, alleging crimes ranging from groping to rape—Republicans refuse to believe the victims, instead choosing to continue to support the president.
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More than two dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1970s. The accusations range from sexual harassment to rape and date all the way back to the start of his career. The latest alleged victim came forward as recently as September 2020, a former model who accused Trump of groping her outside a bathroom in 1997. "He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And that's when the grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything," she told the Guardian. Trump has categorically denied all of the allegations made against him. Concerning this most recent case, his lawyer called the story "totally false." "We will consider every legal means available to hold The Guardian accountable for its malicious publication of this unsubstantiated story," she said. Republican leadership has alternately ignored and justified Trump in these situations. First, for the ignoring: Republican representatives' refrain of "I haven't read that article" or "I haven't heard of that allegation" have become commonplace. Others have openly supported Trump. After columnist Jean E. Carroll accused Trump of rape, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said “Quite honestly, as somebody who had a front-row seat to the Kavanaugh hearings, we’ve seen allegations that were false...We’ll let the facts go where they are, but I take [Trump’s] statement at face value.” “The accuser and the accused need to be treated with respect and they each need to be afforded due process. Just because you’re accused of something in America doesn’t mean you’re guilty," another Republican senator said at the time.
Trump supported ICE's policy to put immigrant children in cages. And many in the party stood by him. Even the gross mistreatment of children as young as toddlers was not enough for Republicans to turn against Trump.
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In 2018, President Trump instituted a "zero-tolerance" policy at the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants and asylum seekers, many of them fleeing violence in South and Central America, were all to be referred directly to the Department of Justice for prosecution. If those adults were traveling with children, the kids were sent to separate holding facilities, often hundreds of miles away. Some of the holding facilities for children resemble cages, and children as young as toddlers were placed there to await their parents' fate. While the facilities were constructed and first used under the Obama-Biden administration, there was no "zero tolerance policy" in effect. Under Obama, children could wait for their parents' judicial process while living with a relative or friend of the family. Under Trump, that was no longer possible. Several thousand children passed through these detention facilities during Trump's term. And the conditions described by those who visited them were often sparse and unhealthy. Observers described children on bare floors under foil blankets. Access to basic hygiene supplies and medical attention was often limited or non-existent. A rare few Republicans, such as former first lady Laura Bush, spoke out against the policy. Bush compared the facilities to the Japanese internment camps used during World War II. Many, however, said they supported the policy. “You don’t ever want to be separating families, but at least the president focused attention on all the people crossing the border illegally" one Trump supporter in Texas told the New York Times. “It hurts my heart to see it, but the culpable ones are the parents who subject their children to crossing the border, or who send them by themselves,” a Trump campaigner said. The dissonance from the Republican party paled in comparison to the overwhelming support, however reluctant, from the majority of the party.
He disrespected veterans and their families. Trump spoke ill both of John McCain and of the Khan family. In belittling their sacrifices, Trump dishonored all veterans—despite never having served in the armed forces himself.
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At various times throughout his campaign and first term, Trump disrespected the sacrifices made by both veterans and their families. In 2015, during the presidential campaign, Trump enraged many by disparaging the record of veteran Senator John McCain. McCain served in the Vietnam war and was captured as a prisoner of war. He would spend nearly six years as a prisoner in North Vietnam, much of it in solitary confinement. In that time he was tortured and frequently left in filthy conditions. Trump summed up McCain's service by saying: "I like people who weren't captured." The comment drew ire from thousands of Americans, both in and out of the service. Trump, who never served in the armed forces, again denigrated a veteran family. After the parents of a slain Muslim solider spoke out against Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S., Trump made a crack at them on television. "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me," he said to ABC News. While both comments drew ire from Republicans at the time, they have continued to support Trump in spite of his long record of disrespect.
Trump admitted to helping Mohammed bin Salman in death of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After the journalist's murder, Trump helped cover up for the Saudi prince. Trump even bragged about saving his "ass."
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Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and managing editor of Al Arab News, went into the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018. Khashoggi never made it out of the Embassy alive. His body was later discovered to have been dismembered. The journalist had often written critically of the Saudi government and particularly about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as by his initials MBS. Fearing for his life, he left Saudi Arabia and was living in the U.S. at the time of his death. He had gone to the embassy only to obtain paperwork in order to marry his fiancée, who was doing her PhD in Istanbul at the time. Worldwide criticism of MBS and Saudi Arabia was swift, except for people like Donald Trump. The U.S. president told journalist Bob Woodward for his latest book, titled 'Rage,' that he "saved [MBS'] ass" from the ire of Congress and others. Trump and other senior officials have repeatedly said they believed MBS when the prince said he did not have Khashoggi killed, despite the U.S. intelligence community indicating otherwise. Congress wanted to stop supporting Saudi Arabia in its horrific war against Yemen and to block weapons sales to Saudi government. However, the Trump administration circumvented Congress to involve MBS in a deal to sell $8.1 billion worth of weapons within months of Khashoggi's murder.
He has evaded paying even low taxes for years. Trump's tax returns show that the president has only paid a few hundred dollars per year in taxes for the past several years. Many experts have suggested that he's either a terrible businessman—or he's committed serious tax fraud.
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Donald Trump claimed he "pre paid" millions of dollars in federal income tax, however a New York Times investigation showed the president only paid $750 per year for the year before and his first in the White House. Records show he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, according to NYT's look at IRS paperwork. He got away with this by reporting heavy business losses in those years. The president ran his campaign on his reputation as a billionaire, brilliant businessman. It simply is not true according to his tax records. Trump is also in the midst of a tough election and a dispute the past ten years with the IRS over auditing his returns. The agency has doubts about a tax refund of more than $72 million he received, even after he declared losses on businesses. If the IRS wins, the president could owe the government $100 million. The records also show Trump is heavily reliant on income from his businesses that create major conflicts with his duties as president. The president's defenders have often said Trump has paid millions in "personal taxes" but they are likely confusing those payments with income taxes. Trump, like most Americans, has paid social security, Medicare, and taxes for household employees.
CLOSURE
It’s not what they say, it’s what they don’t say—it’s how they refuse to stand up for what is right. As Trump weakens environmental rules, holds rallies, insults veterans, one would expect condemnation. Instead it’s feigning confusion. Acting mysteriously slow to understand. Saying they didn’t notice the tweet and scurrying off.
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