In the eyes of U.S. President Donald Trump, an American basketball player caught shoplifting in China is a “very big deal,” but accusations of sexual assault against teenage girls by an Alabama Senate candidate don’t mean much.
“Well, he denies it,” said Trump of Republican Roy Moore, adding “and by the way he totally denies it.”
So that’s that.
Case closed, in the eyes of the president.
As the old saying goes, ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’
And when that house is the White House, and the man who occupies it has himself been accused of sexual assault, there isn’t exactly room to come out and condemn such allegations against another man.
After all, if Trump entertained the idea that the Roy Moore accusations might be true, that would open the door to the accusations against him also being true.
But instead of simply staying silent, Trump has decided the Moore scandal is actually rife for political gain.
“We don’t need a liberal person in there,” said Trump of Moore’s opponent, explaining why electing an accused child molester was still preferable to electing a Democrat.
Then he went on to blast Moore’s opponent, a career prosecutor, as “bad on crime.”
In short, the president of the United States just endorsed the candidacy of a man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, because he needs Roy Moore’s vote in the Senate.
Trump did this despite the fact that members of his own Republican Party have urged Moore to withdraw from the race.
He even contradicted the talking points from his own White House press secretary, who spent days saying the administration believed it was up to the voters of Alabama to decide who their next Senator would be.
Roy Moore gets the benefit of the doubt from the highest office in the land. His female accusers get nothing. Yet when accusations of sexual misconduct involve a liberal, like Senator Al Franken, or Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Trump is all too happy to pounce on the accused.
There’s no guiding principle here. This isn’t about morals or values. It’s all about the politics.
This is how Donald Trump has come to operate.
When he thinks a negative story about someone else is good for him he will personally hype it up. When the news might be damaging to him, his party or his interests, he’ll dismiss it all as untrue without a second thought.
Take the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA that Russia interfered in the 2016 American election.
To this day, the president still publically casts doubt those conclusions. He’d rather take the word of the guy accused of sponsoring that meddling.
“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,” said Trump after his recent tête-à-tête with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The idea that an American president would believe an adversarial foreign leader over his own intelligence agencies is astonishing until you remember that accepting the idea that Russian election interference happened might make Trump’s victory seem less legitimate.
After nearly one year in office, the president has made it clear he is often driven by self-preservation and self-interest alone.
It’s as though he has openly declared that the only truth that matters, is the truth that suits him.