Donald Trump has now made clear that he has no intention of eliminating his conflicts of interest, saying, in essence, that he is keen to cash in on the “corruption premium.” Meanwhile, the rush by Senate Republicans to confirm Trump’s Cabinet nominees without adequate vetting continues on its shameless path. Trump’s apologists have come up with an amazing defense of this spectacle, which is that people like Trump and his Cabinet of billionaires are too rich to be corrupt. As The New York Times’s Paul Krugman recently pointed out, this argument is completely at odds with the usual conservative line about how rich people think, amounting in fact to a repudiation of the logic of trickle-down economics.
The hypocrisy is rank, and it has me once again thinking about other categories of hypocrisy that flow so readily from the right side of the aisle in American politics.
A few months ago, for example, in “Conservative Word Police,” I described conservatives who deride liberals for so-called political correctness yet are positively obsessed with policing people’s word choices. (Somehow, I failed to mention in that column conservatives’ response to “Black lives matter”—”What, you’re saying that only black lives matter?!”)
Another form of hypocrisy has also recently made its way back into the political conversation. In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, “Why Rural America Voted for Trump,” a liberal journalist from Iowa argued that rural Americans are mostly conservative Christians and that conservative Christians do not believe in weak-kneed liberal nonsense about root causes and all that.