NBC’s Peter Alexander bluntly asked Donald Trump why Americans should trust their president if he routinely makes assertions that do not match the historical or factual record. “Why should Americans trust you when …you provide information that’s not accurate?” Alexander asked during a press opportunity this afternoon. Specifically, he asked the question in response to Trump’s assertion that his electoral college win was the largest since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 landslide. In fact Trump’s Electoral College win ranks 46th out of 56 recorded wins and both Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush had larger Electoral College margins than Trump.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 16, 2017
Trump responded by saying that he was given the figures and asked Alexander if he would agree if “it was a very substantial victory.”
It might seem to many Americans like Alexander was playing some kind of “gotcha” journalism. And Trump throughout the press conference implied that his troubles were largely a function of a dishonest media pool intent on bringing him down. It’s worth noting, of course, that the media did not encourage General Flynn to speak to the Russian Ambassador and lie about it or make Andy Puzder, Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee, hire an undocumented worker. The media just did their job and reported on mistakes the administration made in selecting and vetting candidates.
The bottom line: Trump promised Americans that he alone could fix what is broken with Washington. One of the things that is broken, as he repeatedly claimed during his campaign rallies, is a culture of elected officials who don’t answer to the American people and protect themselves instead of advocating for their interests.
By being evasive and dishonest with the media and the public, he risks perpetuating what is wrong with Washington instead of promoting a more constructive alternative.