How Trump redefined shameless hypocrisy — and made it politically expedient

By RockedBuzz 3 Min Read

How Trump redefined shameless hypocrisy — and made it politically expedient
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How Trump redefined shameless hypocrisy — and made it politically expedient

When George W. Bush announced that the United States had begun military action in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks orchestrated by al-Qaeda, he emphasized that the mission would also focus on providing humanitarian aid to the citizens of Afghanistan. “The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies,” he explained. “As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine, and supplies.” The hypocrisy of a military strike framed as a humanitarian mission was on full display. For those of us who could immediately see through Bush’s hubris and his malignant American exceptionalism, the global war on terror epitomized the toxic nature of America’s culture of political hypocrisy.

It all seems quaint now.

Today we live in a world where chanting “lock her up” at Hillary Clinton for her handling of sensitive documents runs in tandem with outrage over an FBI seizure of classified documents as “un-American;” where unsubstantiated concerns over election fraud are best handled by attempting to overthrow the democratic process; where you chant “Blue Lives Matter” except during the Jan. 6 insurrection or when you attack the FBI; where invoking the Fifth amendment means a person is definitely guilty, except when you do it; where you call for bipartisan unity on one day and then stoke party division the next.

It’s actually kind of exhausting to try to list even the best highlights of Trump-era hypocrisy. As columnist Don Kahle writes, since the election of Trump, “GOP hypocrisy has become strategic.”

For some scholars, the Bush-style hypocrisy of the War on Terror is considered indispensable for the functioning of the world order. In fact, University of Cambridge professor David Runciman argues that politics isn’t possible without hypocrisy. For Machiavelli expert Ruth Grant, hypocrisy is essential to politics because a political life and a moral life are simply incompatible.

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