Opinions vs. Facts

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In an interview posted today with CBS anchor John Dickerson, President Trump asserted again that President Obama ordered surveillance of Trump Tower before the election. Dickerson was asking about Trump’s relationship with Obama and Trump himself brought the unsubstantiated wiretapping claims up unprompted.

Here are the two most revealing and telling quotes from the conversation:

  1. “I think our side has been proven very strongly,” President Trump asserted during the interview. There has been, however, no proof provided by any member of the administration and the documents that Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) reviewed at the White House had no bearing on Trump’s assertions.
  2. “I have my own opinions, you can have your own opinions,” Trump claimed as the interview closed and Dickerson pressed for facts to support the wiretapping claims. The truth of Trump’s allegations (opinions) can be verified – like the date of the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the number of people who rode the DC metro on inauguration day. It is incumbent on the president to provide facts to support his allegation; repeating an opinion over and over again does not make something factually true.

President Trump has been critical of the media for not showcasing his administration’s successes – most notably at a raucous rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday evening. Setting aside the debate over how much Trump has actually accomplished in his first 100 days, he would be able to focus the press on topics he wanted them to cover more easily if he committed fewer unforced errors (like the wiretapping claims).

In short, Trump is sabotaging his own coverage and blaming the media.