Letters to the Editor: June 20, 2018

Letters to the editor

What I’ve learned about Mr. Trump

[Regarding Eric Mink’s June 6 commentary, “What we know about Trump after three years”] I write to suggest that Mink’s lesson be consigned, for the most part, to the list of his prior errors about President Donald Trump, thoughtfully included in his commentary.

By recent presidential standards, Trump does not lie importantly.  As to quantity, The Washington Post may itself have misled us by grouping false and misleading statements in its tally.  Let us call the misleading ones “nuanced” — for whose cleverness we have affectionately applauded several recent presidents. How’re their combined tallies?

As to their seriousness, Trump’s abuse of the facts does not stand up to that of his recent predecessors.  Trump’s problematic statements are almost all of a type.  He is relatively open and straightforward about his goals.  I often disagree with him, but that does not make him a liar — just, of course, wrong. His adventurous reporting is typically of the sort found in sales pitches on the border between assertive and aggressive. If they sufficiently undermine the case, one need not buy. But there has been no perjury under oath and no Watergate type coverup. There has been no lying so far of the magnitude or danger of presidential statements about, for examples, Iran Contra, Manuel Noriega, the war on drugs, Whitewater, red lines in Syria, a trillion dollars for non-existent shovel-ready projects or the possibility of new medical programs without new taxes. The elder Bush led the CIA, a purveyor of lies.  Jimmy Carter may not have lied outright, but many grain farmers felt betrayed by the embargo. The younger Bush achieved ownership of a sports franchise through sweat equity.  And neither Tricky Dick nor Slick Willie, earned his pre-presidential nickname for his honesty.

I am old enough and old-fashioned enough to think that the details of agreements, laws and policies are more important than the rhetoric that accompanies their adoption. I believe that “Trump is a liar liar pants on fire” is a “meme.” If Mink subscribes to it and plays along, all well and good.  However, I do not think it is helpful to us as a demographically identifiable, residentially localized, minority-faithed small minority to be presumed to be on board. As Tonto once said, “What do you mean ‘We,’ kemo sabe?” 

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Warren Handel, Edwardsville, Ill.


Support life-saving legislation

At this time of year, as young people graduate, the world seems full of potential. Unfortunately, it’s not that way for everyone. It’s 2018, and yet 10 children are still dying every minute from treatable causes like diarrhea and pneumonia. 

This is an infuriating problem – but though it might seem too big and overwhelming to fix, it’s not. In fact, it’s one of the few issues that members of Congress from both parties can get behind. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act has the potential to help pave the way for the end of preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035. By making better use of resources we’re already investing, we can save millions more lives. Last year, over half of the House and a third of the Senate cosponsored this bill. This year, I hope to see it become law.

I want to thank Representatives Ann Wagner, Lacy Clay and Blaine Luetkemeyer for signing the Reach Act. I’m now calling on Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt to join them. Together, we can end preventable deaths of moms and kids.

Yara Levin, Town and Country