(This is the follow-up blog to the one published last week. I had planned to separate blogs in the series, but realized there was no practical way to do without creating other problems, including the fact that accessing the most recent pushes the previous one into the archives. For this reason I decided to condense three blogs into one, even if it makes the blog longer than usual. This will also allow comments to be more targeted.)


Because of police television shows, most of us now know what an “accessory after the fact” means. It is someone who withholds relevant information about a crime that has been committed or the person who committed it.

But in the legal system there is also what is known as an “accessory during the fact.” This is someone who witnesses a crime but does not try to prevent it.

This is what the people who put Donald Trump in the White House and want him to stay there are – accessories during the fact – because they are witnesses to a Donald Trump crime, indeed multiple ones, and are doing nothing to stop it.

If anything, they are encouraging it to happen, and, thus, represent a threat to our nation as real as Trump is.

Side Bar:

I could make the many good things people are doing for one another during this time of crisis the subject of this series. These Good Samaritan acts are important stories because they highlight the fact that most Americans are good people.

It is easy to lose sight of that. We don’t need to be great. Good is good enough, good enough, in fact, to deserve a President who is a better man than Donald Trump is or ever will be.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Trump for the fraud he is as a national leader. He is showing his incompetence as President the same way he proved his incompetence in business. Had he not been given millions by his father we would likely not be talking about him now.

We have to, though, because he is President of the United States and, thus, is in a position to do immense harm, as he is doing as I write.

The Crime:

The crime Donald Trump is committing in plain sight every single day of his presidency is not telling the truth.

Psychologists can figure out why he doesn’t tell the truth, but what the rest of us know beyond any shadow of a doubt is that he doesn’t. Worse, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, his not telling the truth is costing American lives.

That is why the modest increase in his approval rating for handling this crisis is a stunning enigma. Do 45% of the American public actually believe minimizing the threat the coronavirus, not taking steps to confront it that health officials were telling him he needed to take, being more concerned with how a falling stock market would affect his re-election chances than the American people, constitute a job well done?

If so, then they are ignoring the facts that prove Donald Trump has blood on his hands because he lied to the American people about the threat we were facing, said in late January his administration had the virus fully contained, that he wasted more than a month to take mitigating steps to limit the spread of the virus, and as late as two weeks ago was suggesting everything would be back to normal by Easter.

Rachel Maddow described Trump’s response to the pandemic we are confronting as trying to “happy talk” himself through it with “made-up nonsense.” That sums up Trump’s leadership perfectly.

The coronavirus cases he said two months ago numbered about 15 and would soon be down to zero are now projected to reach as high as 1 to 2 million by summer, with the goal of limiting deaths from the virus to between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

All of that highlights an astounding fact – that the President of the United States is a man who does not tell the truth.

Let that sink in for a minute.

We are talking about the President of the United States, the President of the most powerful nation on earth, being a person who cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything.

When it became evident from the beginning of his presidency that this is how Trump was going to function in office no one knew quite how to respond.

I fear that after three years we have gotten so used to his lying that it has becomes normalized to the point where we don’t see the threat it is to our form of government. We speak of the documented 16,000 misstatements, exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies he has told since becoming President as if that is normal behavior for a president.

It is not. Trump’s behavior is an aberration in the presidency because Trump is. No president in our history has ever been described as a “pathological” liar, someone who cannot NOT lie, a person who tells a lie when the truth would serve him better.

No one who values the truth can trust Donald Trump’s word on any subject. Americans know it and the world knows it, which is why leaders of other nations do not trust anything he says.

But the COVID-19 crisis has put this egregious problem in stark terms. Trump’s failure to tell the truth has become a verifiable danger to the lives of every American.

Accessory During The Fact:

Donald Trump’s inability to tell the truth has at the very least become a crime against humanity.

The lives he has cost and the many more he is putting in jeopardy, especially the nation’s healthcare professionals, is not solely the result of his incompetency, though he is incompetent.

No, lives have been lost and are being endangered because of an intentional effort by Trump and people around him to cover-up the truth, to divert attention to other subjects, and always to engage in personal attacks on people who challenge Trump on the truth of what he is saying.

Every person who says they approve of his handling of this crisis, and every person who supports his presidency, is now an accessory during the fact by virtue of that approval and that support.

In both instances these people are encouraging Trump to keep refusing to tell the truth, to keep “making-up nonsense” to avoid taking responsibility for what he has failed to do.

These people have convinced him that there are no consequences for not telling the truth.

This is why he boldly and almost gleefully once said that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York and not lose a vote.

But as accessories during the crime, his supporters are not only encouraging him to keep on shooting, they bear as much responsibility as he does for every shot he fires.

What makes their guilt stand out like a neon sign flashing on and off are the conservative Republicans who see Donald Trump for the threat he is and are doing everything they can to help defeat him in November, people like George Conway, Pete Wilson, Bill Kristol, Charles Sykes, Jeff Flake, Bill Weld, George Will, David Jolly, David Brooks, and numerous others.

The Lincoln Project and Conservatives for the Rule of Law are two examples of organizations founded by former Republicans who are now working to defeat Donald Trump and those politicians who support him.

As bad as Trump is, and he is very bad, “accessories during the fact” are just as dangerous and need to be called out for what they are doing to our country.

Bogus Defenses:

Trump “accessories” deny any responsibility for their support and encouragement of someone who simply does not tell the truth.

Some of them even deny that he doesn’t. They listen to corrupt Fix News personalities like Sean Hannity who keep telling them that the 16,000 documented lies that have been verified through multiple fact-checking sources – every one of them – has been fabricated by the “fake” news media. There is nothing to say to them. They will not change their behavior or their allegiance.

Other accessories defend Trump the way he defends himself, by blaming President Obama

Obama lied when he said people could keep their own doctors under Obamacare. Okay, if we accept that he said this, then he is guilty of not telling the truth.

He wasn’t the only president not to. George W. Bush did when he told the nation that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. So did Bill Clinton when he said he didn’t have sex with Monica Lewinski. George H.W. Bush did when he pledged not to raise taxes. Ronald Reagan did when he said he did not secretly supply weapons to Iran in hopes of securing the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah terrorists.

Yes, other presidents have lied to the American public, but none of them did it habitually to the point where he earned the reputation for being a pathological liar, of being someone whose word you cannot trust under any circumstances.

Donald Trump is the only one who has managed to earn this kind of reputation, who has done it to the point where news outlets have fact-check him in real time because he lies so much.

And then there are Trump supporters who defend themselves against the charge of being accessories during the fact by saying they can’t say one way or the other if Trump doesn’t tell the truth.

That defense is called “intentional ignorance.” It’s the line repeated by old Hogan’s Heroes Sargent Schultz, “I see nothing.”

Beyond their bogus defenses, then, lies the truth, that there is no defense for being an accessory to Trump’s crime(s).

The Verdict:

Unfortunately, when it comes to Trump’s supporters, being an accessory is not a prosecutorial crime so there is no clear and unambiguous verdict we can render on Trump’s supporters being “accessories” during his crime (s).

At this critical time, we want and need a President we can trust, who we know will rely on experts instead of making up nonsense, a President who is secure enough in himself not to be threatened by the knowledge of others.

None of us has lived through such a time as this, with the added burden of having Donald Trump in the White House.

It is precisely the gravity of this situation, though, that demands a response from us commensurate with the seriousness of the circumstances.

But what?

In a sense this is where our frustration intensifies because there is nothing we can do about Trump or his supporters directly or quickly.

What is more, that in itself is a danger because it can lead us to underestimate the impact of expressing our views in every way we can.

Personal conversations, Facebook comments, tweets, letters to the editor, and other avenues of public discussion provide us ways to put ourselves on the line in calling out Trump’s supporters for being the accessories during his crime(s) that they are.

Some of them are bold enough to try to defend him openly. When they do we should come down on them with all our weight. Freedom from severe criticism is not part of expressing opinions publicly, as I well know. Every Trump supporter should have to explain how they believe supporting a President who doesn’t tell the truth is a good thing for the country.

That means we cannot afford to play nice with friends or family members who are Trump’s accessories.

I don’t mean attacking them verbally or breaking off relations with them. I mean taking the time to be informed enough to speak specifically of instances when he does not tell the truth and then to push them to explain how they can believe supporting someone who doesn’t tell the truth is good for the country.

The other thing we can do is to let our anger and frustration at them and Trump fuel our determination to defeat them along with Trump in November.

Pete Buttigieg was the one candidate during the Democratic primary campaign who recognized that Trump supporters were as much a danger to the country as Trump himself.

That is why he repeatedly insisted that the November election was not just about defeating Trump, but also about defeating Trumpism.

He saw the threat for what it is, a segment of the population who wants us to think their support for Trump is nothing more than an exercise of their political rights.

He was exactly right when he sounded the alarm that November is not just about defeating Donald Trump, and, thus, is not just about a Democrat running against a Republican.

It is as much about defeating Trumpism as it is about defeating Trump.

We cannot afford to pretend his supporters are not the threat they truly are.