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Opinion. Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, where he faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, was rife with liars last week. 

On the witness stand was Michael Cohen, an admitted liar who claims that part of his job was to be Trump’s so-called fixer for years. Now that Cohen turned on his old boss, he is the prosecutor’s key witness. 

Outside of the court, GOP members of Congress  — including the speaker of the House, the third person in line for the presidency — held press conferences with apparent scripted falsehoods. Many were dressed in dark suits, white shirts, and red ties as if they were clones of Trump.

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The week’s events, especially watching and listening to the members of Congress, reminded me of the old idiom “speaking with a forked tongue.” 

It is not clear where the expression originated. Some say it dates back to when the serpent showed up in the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve. Of course, reptiles have split tongues and in this case, Satan speaking through the snake was lying. Others attribute the phrase back to the 1690s when the French invited the Iroquois to a peace conference and then had them slaughtered. Regardless, the line ended up in many Westerns, where the Native Americans would say of the white men, “They speak with forked tongues.”

Writing about the trial events, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote:

“The Manhattan Criminal Courthouse was overflowing with lying liars this week. Inside the courtroom, Cohen testified about all the lies he told for Trump: lying to Congress, lying to the public, lying about Trump’s involvement with Russia, lying about Trump’s alleged trysts and how Trump bought the silence of his accusers. Trump’s lawyers, in their cross-examination, sought to convince the jury that the former Trump fixer is so prolific a liar that he is still lying, as are Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal and anybody who accuses Trump of anything, ever. Trump himself, in statements to the cameras in the hallway outside the courtroom, lies about the terms of the gag order, the “corrupt” judge, the view of “everybody” with legal experience that he committed “no crime” — and whatever else comes to his lips.”

The events are almost laughable, but there is no humor in the fact that the Republican party, the party that wants to project itself as carrying the banner for law and order, shows up to claim the trial is a scam and the justice system is corrupt. They claimed it was all politically motivated while ignoring the fact that Hunter Biden faces trial in June, and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is on trial for corruption charges similar to Trump's. I guess they don’t feel those trials are politically motivated because they never mentioned them. 

The GOP lawmakers seemingly read from the same script, as they all used the same phrases and served as surrogates for Trump, who is under a gag order.

Jurors should beware of those who speak with forked tongues.

As should voters during the 2024 election. This past January, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said it was investigating reports of fake robocall calls that used artificial intelligence to mimic President Joe Biden’s voice and discourage voters in the state from coming to the polls during Tuesday’s primary election.

The calls reached voters just before the New Hampshire primary on January 23. The fake robocalls used Biden’s often-used phrase, “What a bunch of malarkey.” 

The message then told the potential voters to “save your vote for the November election.” 

“Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again,” the robocall mimicking Biden says. “Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.”

These days, political deception is called, “disinformation,” or from the MAGA camp “alternative facts.”  Now, more than ever, the advice the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) gave is vital: “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Beyond Trump’s 34 criminal counts in his New York trial and his congressional entourage, we need to beware of those who speak with forked tongues during the upcoming 2024 presidential election. We must seek truth for ourselves.

Thayék gde nwéndëmen - We are all related.

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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].