The Post-Truth Presidency

“Mama always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.””

This sentence was pronounced by actor Tom Hanks in the film “Forrest Gump.” It could also be used to talk about … Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

If you take a look at it regularly, you already know: We absolutely never know what we’re gonna get.

Even his entourage is occasionally flabbergasted when they consult it. As was the case, it would seem, over the weekend.

“Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower,” Donald Trump wrote, calling his predecessor an “evil person (or sick).”

Barack Obama was quick to deny it. A good number of politicians, experts and members of the intelligence community have suggested that Donald Trump’s allegations do not stand up. Even the director of the FBI seems dismayed.

Where did Donald Trump get this from? His source would be a radio host and conservative militant: Mark Levin. The latter had demanded last fall the impeachment of Hillary Clinton, should she win. Today, he argues that a “silent coup d’etat” is underway against Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the billionaire who has become president is putting forward unverified claims, or that he announces something firmly without having any proof to back up what he is saying. Or even that he recycles prejudices or conspiracy theories.

This trend led three NBC journalists to speak yesterday of a “post-truth presidency.”

Let us remember that the Oxford English Dictionary a few months ago chose “post-truth” as a word of the year. To illustrate how much we live in an era where emotion now often passes before the facts.

Week after week, Donald Trump confirms that the dictionary editors were right.

But how can he manage a country without basing it mainly on facts?

What is certain is that the ordinary citizen can’t make head or tail of it. How can we divide the truth from the false when we listen to the president or read what he writes on Twitter?

The decision-making process, on the other hand, is more complex and does not always produce the expected results. The fate of the presidential decree on immigration, a second version of which was signed yesterday, demonstrates this.

The White House, in this controversial file, goes against the facts. They demonstrate that “citizenship is likely to be an unreliable indicator of the terrorist threat.” This was explained by the secretary of Homeland Security in the White House in a three-page note obtained by the Associated Press.

It reveals that 82 “U.S.-based” people have been convicted or have died as a result of terrorist activities since 2011. Among these criminals, more than one in two was born in the United States.

That’s not all. Those who were not born on American soil came from several different countries. Of the first seven, only one – Somalia – is targeted by the new immigration decree.

Although this decree has been amended, it remains a political and ideological instrument. Unfortunately, this is not the result of evidence-based reflection, which is essential to any effective counter-terrorism strategy.

Such is life in a “post-truth” presidency…

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