ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM

Trump’s Tactics and Indiscretions Exposed

Don’t let the Latin get in the way. Ad hominem means “to the man” and adds precision to the title of this piece. It means employing a fallacious, argumentative strategy to cloud the subject of a discussion by attacking the character, motive, or any other attribute of the person making the argument. This tactic attempts to move the listener away from the substance of the point, fact or argument. There is also a risk that one could be making things worse in the long run by employing the fallacy of irrelevance.

When Donald Trump was accused of sexual misconduct by more than 17 women right before the Presidential election in 2016, he basically said they were all liars. Trump believes that a man can simply deny to make these cases go away. And when the complainants keep up the pressure, he turns to his argumentum ad hominem routine by discrediting people or buying them off with an NDA, a Non-Disclosure Agreement that keeps another from talking about something or keeping the knowledge of some business matter confidential.

One of the aspects of the #MeToo movement is allowing women who have been sexually harassed or violated, and then forced to sign an NDA, to be unchained from these agreements so they can tell their stories. There is some tradition in U.S. law that if revealing information helps other victims, or prevents future wrongdoings, a court could find that public good outweighs a piece of paper. While Harvey Weinstein probably used power and influence in his industry to keep women quiet, Donald J. Trump simply whips out his checkbook and buys silence. This is a matter of record, therefore a fact.

By attacking the character, motive, or some other attribute of an adversary, Trump attempts to force the viewer’s attention away from any substance that person may be making. By calling Marco Rubio, “Little Marco,” candidate Trump took the focus off any productive plan Rubio might have laid out for America. By continually using the term, “Lyin’ Ted Cruz,” the Donald was able to position the Texas Senator as someone who shouldn’t be believed. Now that Trump is the President of the United States of America, every statement, tweet and comment becomes the policy of the White House. It’s very clear that after a year into this mess, our Great Orange Leader doesn’t care about truth, facts and real policy. If confronted, he will lie.

Today (3-21-2018), Trump is pouting around the White House about leaks from his administration. If the stories in Michael Wolff’s best seller Fire and Fury are true, one of the biggest leakers just might be Trump himself. He spends endless hours watching TV and talking on the phone to people who massage his frail ego.

What might be an uncorroborated rumor that comes up on a late-night phone call with one of his cronies, gets codified by the Commander and Chief. History will show that Trump’s own loose lips were the source of many of the leaked items that piss him off. He’s like a teenage girl gossiping about the day’s events at school.

As more and more journalistic and legal heat is applied to the 45th President, we see more push back and ad hominem from this narcissistic, soulless human being.

Just minutes ago, as the snow came down around the White House, Donald Trump tweeted a quote from Alan Dershowitz: “Special Council is told to find crimes, whether a crime exists or not. I was opposed to the selection of Mueller to be Special Council. I am still opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed because there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!”

Besides being a well-known author on legal matters, Alan Dershowitz was one of the attorneys for O.J. Simpson. He’s a strange person to be supporting Trump. Dershowitz is a Democrat and he supported Hilary Clinton. He is strongly pro-Israel and holds a rare position on the Second Amendment and gun control. Dershowitz says that the right to bear arms has “no place in modern society” and has even supported repealing the amendment.

The interesting opinion that “there was no probable cause” in the attempts to gloss over many facts of the 2016 election is wrong. We now know that Russian operatives attempted to manipulate the opinions and attitudes of voters in America. We know that a company named Cambridge Analytica clipped 50 million Facebook profiles and the Trump campaign used these to push Trump’s narrative. We’re not sure just yet whether laws were broken, but it’s certainly probable cause for an investigation. If we believe Jim Comey, former Director of the FBI, Trump did ask the FBI to “go easy” on his National Security Director, Michael Flynn. I’m not sure what planet Alan Dershowitz is on, but Flynn did plead guilty to charges of lying to the FBI. Does that suggest that appointing Special Counsel was a good idea, or just some frivolous act by a partisan United States Deputy Attorney General?

Is Dershowitz, a TV commentator, planning to pitch for the position of Attorney General if Trump fires Jeff Sessions? Time will tell, but Trump’s attempt to move the listener away from the substance of the point, fact or argument is obvious. Argumentum ad hominem might not be a term Trump has ever heard, but his constant negative putdowns and attacks on America citizens begs this question. When do we get back to a normal president with his or her focus placed on the task of doing the people’s business? Until things change, we have nothing but a large, steaming pile of his business to handle every day.

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