President Donald Trump's repeated lack of "respect for the truth" puts him in jeopardy of being viewed as "a fake President," The Wall Street Journal editorial board says.
"Two months into his presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump's approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn't show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he's a fake President," reads the editorial, which appeared online Tuesday night.
"This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump's Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill," the editorial said. "These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead, the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director."
While the Journal's editorial board was no friend of Trump during much of the 2016 campaign, the strong language in the editorial is particularly notable given the board's typically conservative outlook and the fact that the Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, with whom Trump has had a long and complicated relationship. Murdoch harshly criticized Trump in the wake of his 2015 putdown of Sen. John McCain but has gradually warmed up to the businessman-turned-President.
The editorial also slammed Trump for refusing to back off his administration's unsubstantiated allegations that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower. Multiple lawmakers, including Republicans, have called on Trump to apologize to Obama for making the claim without providing any evidence.
"He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence," the editorial board wrote. "Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims."
Asked about the editorial on CNN's "New Day" Wednesday morning, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions said Trump's unverified allegations do hurt his credibility.
"It does hurt," he said. "It hurts a lot not only for my party but for people to have a sobering look at what others are saying."[...]