Recent Comments

    The President Can’t Handle the Truth

    By Peter Gallotta–

    Recently I did something that I’m not very proud of. The funny thing is, I can’t quite recall exactly how it happened. But on a recent Saturday afternoon, I found myself, out of nowhere, on my phone, on Twitter, scrolling through … Donald Trump’s tweets.

    @realDonaldTrump is, in every sense, peak American decline. It’s like watching a WWF match in digital form: lots of chest beating, big swipes that don’t really hit their mark, and all while knowing that 99% of what you’re seeing is fake.

    I know what you’re thinking. Peter, where have you been the past 741 days since Trump took office? Of course, Trump’s tweets have been the subject of great media debate and public outrage (by some) even before he was elected. But as a relatively inactive Twitter user (my New Year’s resolution is to try to tweet more), it’s been the kind of dumpster fire that I’ve intentionally stayed miles away from. That is, until a few weeks ago, when I fell victim to a brief scroll through this land of unhinged untruths.

    It’s not just the ludicrousness of his tweets or the grating tone of a five-year-old having a temper tantrum that really gets me. It’s the lies—the unabashed, unchecked lies. The lies that are generating hundreds of thousands of retweets that then, like the old school game of telephone, eventually spread into repeated lies, twisted lies, and worst of all, believable lies.

    After scrolling through the many all caps declarations to “BUILD THE WALL” and repeated mentions of the “Humanitarian, Criminal, and Drug Crisis” at our border and how “WE WILL WIN BIG,” I went deeper into the depths of the surreal, past the climate change denial, past the “Democrats are to blame for the shutdown” denial. I then came to a stop at a video tweeted by the White House, and retweeted by Trump, on January 20th announcing the “historic results of President Donald J. Trump’s first two years in office.” The video, however, mentions not a single one of Trump’s accomplishments while in office. It is, much like his Twitter feed, a pile of hollow rhetoric.

    What is actually historic here is the level of desperate self-mythologizing and lying to cover up the actual truth: this presidency is a complete and utter failure. But the problem is bigger than that fact alone. A lot of what Trump says is never fully refuted by members of his own Party, his staff, or even the media, even when it is blatantly untrue. White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, recently claimed that “God wanted Donald Trump to be President.” Could you imagine if President Obama’s press secretary had said that? It is yet another example of how this administration, and its supporters, have been emboldened and protected by white privilege. It proves that a white male Republican President can say and do anything in this country without much, if any, consequence.

    While Democrats won’t ever win over the die-hard re-tweeting Trump fan base in 2020, we must deal in the currency of truth. Democratic leaders cannot let the Republicans continue to flip the script on Democrats, especially when the President and Mitch McConnell are to blame (e.g. the shutdown). We can’t let Republicans take the mantle of moral superiority or fiscal responsibility as they continue to chip away at core American values while supporting a $5 billion wall and huge tax breaks for the wealthy.

    So, as the pool of Democratic presidential candidates begins to take shape (who isn’t running?), there must be a willingness to present a strong, hard-hitting and honest counterpoint. As California Senator Kamala Harris said at her presidential campaign kick-off in Oakland in January, this is an “inflection point” in our history “and we need to speak that truth so we can deal with it.”

    Let me just say this (and I will surely be elaborating on my thoughts in future columns), I like Kamala Harris. I like Julian Castro. I like Bernie Sanders. If a potted plant were running as a Democrat for President, I’d probably support it at this point. I’ll take any Democrat for President who doesn’t tweet out a daily dumpster fire of self-righteous bile. I may not agree on every vote some of these candidates have taken or past policy positions they’ve held, but I do want to be able to agree with them on one thing: the truth.

    Peter Gallotta is a 30-something LGBT political activist holding on to the city that he loves thanks to rent control and two-for-one happy hour specials. He is a former President of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and currently serves as an appointed member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee and an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party.