Richard Mansbach transcript on Trump campaign/lying/behavior (June 20, 2017)
Reporter: “We’re told to expect lies or broken promises on the campaign trail. Is it normal for someone to keep lying?”
Mansbach: In fact, the degree of deceptiveness both in the campaign and since is unprecedented.
Of course there are going to be promises made on the campaign trail, that’s just historically the case, that either will be reversed or can’t be carried out. This is true of every administration. But there has not been in my lifetime the degree of incivility in a campaign. And I’m not talking about primaries, this is before the campaign. I don’t know of anyone, for example, of any occasion, some people say this is true of the Jackson administration and that goes back a long time before me, my association with President Jackson is his face on the 20 dollar bill.
There was a lot of very low politics in the nineteenth century. The campaign for Grover Cleveland for example highlighted the fact that he had in his first term had an illegitimate child. But that has tended to be reduced in the twentieth century and the 21st century.
The most vicious incidents I can think of, I’m sure there are others, during campaigns, during the Johnson-Goldwater campaign a television ad that simply implied that Barry Goldwater was irresponsible enough to cause a war. It was a TV slot where you saw a child in a field and then an explosion.
Some of the stuff that was used, they weren’t lies, but that were used against the Clintons and his campaigns were harsh, because there were legal problems the Clintons had confronted before he was elected.
There were certainly racial undertones to the Obama campaign.
I’ve never seen anything like allegations, for example, that one of Trump’s republication opponents, [Cruz’s] father was involved somehow indirectly with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or comments about another candidates physical – you know, small hands, what have you – this was the most uncivilized and adhominum primary – but it didn’t end.
Nothing ever comes close – I go back to Lyndon Johnson, personally, I go back even further, the thought of General Eisenhower [doing what Trump did], saying something about “Lock her up, lock her up,” leading cheers, encouraging violence, on one occasion saying “I could walk down fifth avenue, shoot somebody and nobody would notice.” These are just vignettes I’m recalling. His comments, recorded, taped, about women, I mean… if I made – I mean, admittedly we’ve become an overly politically-correct society, we’ve lost the ability to make jokes about our own selves – I would be fired immediately from this institution were I to have said 99 percent of the comments he’s made. I’d be fired.
I think the far left has also been intolerant. For example, the instances on college campuses where speakers who didn’t agree with students were physically kept off are invitations to the far right to behave in ways that would be supportive of someone whose most basic messages was political correctness is a bad thing.