Neither President Donald Trump nor his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was endorsed by the conservative Wall Street Journal, which has had a longstanding skepticism about Trump's campaign. Now the newspaper's editorial board has published a scathing condemnation of the Republican president.
"If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world?" the Journal's editorial board wrote Tuesday night. "We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods."
After describing Trump's thoroughly refuted claim that he had been wiretapped by former President Barack Obama — which the Journal argued has damaged his relationship with allies like the United Kingdom and his own agency heads like FBI Director James Comey — the editorial board noted, "Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy."
The Journal added, "He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s president, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything."
Many of the Journal's current criticisms of Trump were foreshadowed in its refusal to endorse the Republican candidate in November.
"The strongest argument against Mr. Trump, as Hillary Clinton has recognized, concerns his temperament and political character. His politics is almost entirely personal, not ideological," the paper wrote. "He overreacts to criticism and luxuriates in personal feuds."
The Journal added, "He ignores or twists inconvenient facts, and even when he has a good point his exaggerations make it harder to persuade the public. Yet a president needs the power to persuade."
Trump isn't alone in having his credibility called into question. Press secretary Sean "Spicer shred whatever credibility he may have had left with his remark about Manafort," said Dylan Byers of CNN on Tuesday.
Byers pointed out that Spicer's new claim about Paul Manafort — that he had held a "very limited role" in the presidential campaign of Donald Trump "for a very limited amount of time" — could not be characterized as mere spin. "It was a falsehood. And Spicer knew it was a falsehood when he said it, because he had previously acknowledged that Manafort was 'in charge' of Trump's campaign."
Byers wrote: "When [Paul] Manafort took over Trump's campaign last June, Spicer was unequivocal about his role: 'Paul's in charge,' Spicer, then the Republican National Committee's communications director, told Reuters. Indeed, Manafort had already taken control of the campaign — including its budget, hiring decisions and media strategy — two months earlier."