Monday

January 16th, 2017

Insight

Trump vs. CNN: Score One for The Donald

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published June 30, 2016

I see that CNN is calling upon the good offices of Mr. Potato Head to refute Donald Trump's evisceration of Hillary Clinton in his speech last Wednesday. Mr. Potato Head is very indignant that Peter Schweizer has written a book, "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," demonstrating that a pattern of corruption exists in the relationship between The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department. He says that pattern of corruption does not establish the Clintons' guilt. Well, an author can only do so much. Schweizer has written a convincing book about the Clintons' corruption. The rest is left to the courts, which have yet to get the Clintons' case, but my guess is they will have at the Clintons soon enough.

You might recall that Mr. Potato Head, as he was called some 20 years ago by The American Spectator, is David Gergen. Two decades ago he was employed by the Clinton White House, and he apparently still works for them at least part-time. On CNN this past week Gergen looked even more like Mr. Potato Head than he did when he worked in the White House. I remember him calling me some time in the early 1990s and complaining that we did not give him a "heads-up" on our Troopergate stories. He asked me if I would do so in the future. I generously offered to send him subscription information but offered no special rate — not even our student rate. The government of the United States could pay for its subscription to The American Spectator, as it paid for Bill Clinton's subscriptions to "Playboy" and "Hustler." Perhaps it could've paid for two subscriptions!

Mr. Potato Head was in high dudgeon last week over Schweizer's "Clinton Cash," claiming the book had been "discredited." Well, it was used as a source by The New York Times and the Washington Post. They relied on it heavily for stories about the Clintons' corruption, and it has sold quite well.

Mr. Potato Head was working with CNN's posse comitatus to bring down Trump for his revelations about Crooked Hillary, but it is they — the so-called fact-checkers at CNN — who were brought down.

The CNN fact-checkers deemed Trump in error for claiming that the continuing bloodshed in Syria was due to Clinton's support of regime change. But Trump never made that claim. All he charged was that her support for regime change began Syria's descent into a bloody civil war. He did not say that she had a hand in the ongoing bloodshed. There is a significant difference. And, she actually bragged about what she did. "Yes, when I was secretary of state," she boasted, "I did urge along with the Department of Defense and the CIA that we seek out, vet and train and arm Syrian opposition figures so that they could defend themselves against Assad." That quote was actually broadcast during the CNN Democratic presidential debate in April. The Syrian death toll is now well over 250,000.

The CNN fact-checkers assailed Trump again for claiming the U.S. trade deficit with China soared by 40 percent while Clinton was secretary of state. This, the fact-checkers said, is "exaggerated." Unfortunately for them we have at our disposal the U.S. Census Bureau, which in its report "Trade In Goods With China" asseverated that from 2009 to 2012 the trade deficit with China increased by almost $89 billion, or 39 percent. So Trump's exaggeration was off by one percentage point.


Finally, CNN's crack team of fact-checkers rated Trump in error for saying that Clinton's State Department refused all requests for additional security in Benghazi. He said the State Department received "hundreds and hundreds of requests for security. ... Hillary Clinton's State Department refused them all." Well, there were few security personnel on the ground when Ambassador Stevens was murdered in Benghazi. In the felicitously titled Washington Post column "Fact Checker," Glenn Kessler claims that 581 documents have been found that deal with the security situation at Benghazi. The number is likely to climb higher if classified documents are taken into account. I have found six other open-source accounts of lax security in Benghazi, among them one from January 15, 2014 titled "Democrats Join GOP To Blame State In Benghazi." It reported: "Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks after having made requests for more security to the State Department. State has acknowledged that security was not adequate."

After last week's speech, it appears that Donald Trump's charges against Hillary Clinton are absolutely copper-bottomed. CNN's "fact-checkers" should be retired. Like all politicians, Trump may occasionally exaggerate a trivial matter. But Clinton lies repeatedly on things that matter.

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. He's also the author of several books.

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