One of the cornerstones of American democracy is the executive branch, led by a democratically elected president who represents the views of the majority of the American electorate. This president leads a vital role in both creating and shaping public policy, and as such, the role necessitates that the president rely on facts to substantiate the decisions that they take. After the conclusion of the 2016 presidential elections, there were numerous allegations that the results of the election had been tampered with, namely by Russia. Seeing as the American electoral system is another cornerstone of American democracy, after President Trump assumed office, a federal investigation committee was created to determine the facts. Did Russia tamper with the American presidential elections?
The answer, according to the US intelligence community, was a resounding yes. The Russian government, led by Vladimir Putin, clearly interfered with the Russian elections. In fact, not only did they tamper with the elections, they also tried to break into numerous inboxes of top American political officials, including former state officials John Kerry, and Colin Powell. The hacking has been called a tremendous effort put forth by Russia, and the scale of the hack has yet to be fully determined. This horrifying news was almost immediately delivered to President Trump, and his response was the following:
““He just — every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth.” (nytimes.com)
This response is one of the most troubling statements released in the history of Trump’s presidency, for a number of factors. Not only does this show Trump’s blatant disregard of the facts, it, more importantly, may show where true allegiances lie.
Many, including myself, consider President Trump’s campaign for the presidency to be populist. Trump pledged to destroy establishmentarianism, which he claimed plagued and slowed down the process of government. He explicitly was anti-pluralist: he not only lampooned his opponents, but illegitimize them in order to make himself seem like the only qualified candidate for the job. His obscure political agenda promised his supporters prosperity, and he was notorious for claiming that if any other candidates won the election, it was rigged. Trump’s current stature exemplifies this: since he, as a populist representative of the people, won the election, he has no reason to believe that the results were tampered with. So what does all of this mean? President Trump’s reaction proves that:
- The president of the United States no longer relies on accurate, factual evidence to substantiate his own personal beliefs. This will inevitably lead to more radicalized, inappropriate policy initiatives.
- The president no longer purely serves the interest of the American public: Trump’s blatant disregard, and distrust of the American intelligence community proves this
These are very dangerous precedents to set for the future of the American presidency- and if misinforming the American public is a cornerstone of the new American presidency, the United States may not be the ideal democracy that many see it to be.
“Opinion | Siding With the Enemy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/12/opinion/trump-putin-russia.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fpolitics.
Press, Associated. “Russian Hacking Went Far beyond US Election, Digital Hitlist Reveals.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/02/russian-hacking-beyond-us-election-digital-hitlist.
Ross Douthat, Daniel Mccarthy And Henry Olsen. “Can Trumpism Survive Trump?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Nov. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/opinion/trump-republicans-douthat.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fpolitics.