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There’s a horrifying history of leaders saying there’s a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

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(AFP / Brendan Smialowski)

President Donald Trump rang out in an all-caps tweet Monday morning “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!” It was a comment he echoed from his Sunday press conference saying that the U.S. is in the home stretch of the coronavirus crisis. He went on to say that he anticipated the country reopening in a few weeks.

The quote was one that Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty noted was one that many other leaders have used at frightening times.

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“It is difficult to imagine a poorer, more chilling choice of words,” she wrote. “Or one that more illuminates, if inadvertently, the consequences of the mixed-messages that Trump continues to send.”

She recalled that the rejoinder to the quote is generally, “Yeah, it’s a train,” which isn’t exactly the most reassuring.

“As every person of Trump’s generation should know, there is probably no phrase in modern history that so evokes a U.S. government that is not being straight with its people,” wrote Tumulty.

She recalled Gen. William Westmoreland assuring Americans that peace “lies within our grasp” during the Vietnam War.

“Westmoreland, as Trump so often seems to, saw the consequences of this in terms of his own reputation.,” she recalled.

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“There is no way left for me to clear my name, my honor and the honor of the military,” Westmoreland said the day he filed a libel lawsuit against CBS for their 90-minute documentary called “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception.”

During the trial, “lawyer, David Boies, showed the witness a Nov. 26, 1967, cable he had sent during a visit to Washington to his deputy in Saigon, Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, in which the phrase ‘some light at the end of the tunnel’ was bracketed in quotation marks,” the New York Times reported at the time.

Boies asked Westmoreland: “Did you believe that degree of optimism was justified?”

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Westmoreland replied: “I certainly did. I felt it was an accurate important portrayal.”

He eventually dropped the lawsuit.

Tumulty explained that it delivers a vital lesson for the Trump White House. It’s important to keep the country in good spirits, but a president can’t lie.

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Trump, Tumulty said “cannot do that while he is shrugging off what experts recommend, touting unproven medical treatments and casting blame on others.”

“In other words, this is not the time for Trump to be throwing up clouds of dust,” she continued. “Americans, most of them, are smarter than he seems to think they are. As my Post colleague Dan Balz has pointed out, Trump is far from the first president to be caught off guard and unprepared for a crisis. The real test of leadership, the one that will determine Trump’s place in history, is how clear and realistic he is in figuring out how to climb out of it, and then in showing the way.”

She closed by saying that people more educated about history could inform Trump so he might understand. Though it isn’t exactly likely.

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“The one thing that Americans deserve — and will demand in the end — is a leader who levels with them,” she said.

Read the full column at the Washington Post.


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Inside the spread of conspiracies and disinformation by women on social media

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“The QAnon stuff infiltrated Instagram and seeped into the suburban consciousness of American women to a certain extent, and they bought into it,” according to experts.

Originally published by The 19th

Since the internet’s advent, conspiracy theories have acquired followings online. Now, in the era of social media, people use platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread disinformation and misinformation. Instagram, the Facebook-owned image platform where influencers tout luxury, beauty and consumer culture, has also become an online home for conspiracies. And lately, one has been particularly prolific: QAnon.

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2020 Election

More than one dozen Trump officials violated Hatch Act in month before the election

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Although President Donald Trump has tried to undermine the United States' system of checks and balances, watchdogs in Washington, D.C. have been keeping a close eye on him — and according to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 16 members of the Trump Administration committed violations of the Hatch Act in order to promote his reelection campaign in October.

In an article published on CREW's website on Monday, November 2 — the day before the 2020 presidential election — CREW reporters Donald K. Sherman and Linnaea Honl-Stuenkel explain, "during the month of October, at least 16 Trump Administration officials have violated the Hatch Act a total of more than 60 times, in an unprecedented and escalating assault on the rule of law and the democratic process. President Trump has allowed — and encouraged — senior officials to use their government roles to take actions benefiting his reelection effort in its final weeks and days as Americans are casting their ballots."

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2020 Election

GOP congressman gets #StopTheStupid trending big-time against Donald Trump — but there’s a catch

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The hashtag #stopthestupid was trending last night on Twitter thanks to -- of all people -- a conservative Republican congressman from Michigan named Paul Mitchell. But before anyone gets too excited that Republicans are discovering integrity, there’s an asterisk: Mitchell is retiring in January.

Here’s what the exasperated congressman tweeted Sunday night in response to Trump’s lunatic ranting about the election outcome:

https://twitter.com/RepPaulMitchell/status/1333214085341712388?s=20

Sunday night, there were more than 21,000 tweets featuring #stopthestupid, many of them wondering aloud why more Republicans cannot show the spine and integrity displayed by Mitchell. Most presumably don’t realize, however, that he’s leaving Congress after just two terms in office.

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