President Donald Trump, in Helsinki, expressed skepticism about the intelligence community's finding that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Within 24 hours, the President walked back his skepticism and said he trusts the intel community and believes their finding that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
But the Helsinki hysteria continued.
Some Trump cable critics pronounced him "treasonous." How dare the President waffle on the intelligence community's definitive conclusion that Russia meddled? It's "treasonous" to be guarded about official government conclusions? We're going to need more prisons to house all the offenders.
After all, this is the same crowd that believed President George W. Bush "lied us into the Iraq war," despite Bush's reliance on the unanimous opinion of our intelligence agencies. A recent Huffington Post/YouGov survey found that 56 percent of Democrats still believe "Bush did ... lie about weapons of mass destruction in order to get the U.S. into the Iraq War." To believe this, Democrats must therefore reject the conclusion of the bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission report, which uncovered deeply flawed intelligence but no intention to deceive.
About Helsinki, CNN's Anderson Cooper called Trump's remarks "one of the most disgraceful moments by an American President on the world stage." Really? And where does Cooper rank the performance of President Barack Obama, who invoked the lie of Ferguson while addressing the United Nations? Before the investigation was concluded, Obama said: "I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri — where a young man was killed. ... So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions." The investigation ultimately concluded that the officer used justifiable force and the suspect did not have his hands up and did not say, "Don't shoot."
Some cable news hosts wondered why Trump's Cabinet members failed to resign in protest over Trump's alleged lack of respect for the intelligence community. Do they mean the way President Bill Clinton's Cabinet reacted after he called them into the Oval Office, told them he did not have an affair with Monica Lewinsky and sent cabinet members like Secretary of State Madeleine Albright out to assert, "We believe the allegations against the President are untrue"? Yet, when the semen-stained blue dress later proved that Clinton lied to and used them, no one resigned!
As for Trump's skepticism about government findings, a 2013 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that most Americans reject the lone-gunman conclusion of the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Even Robert Kennedy reportedly told friends that he doubted the commission's conclusion.
What about racial conspiracy theories believed by otherwise intelligent people?
Missouri's Claire McCaskill, while running for the U.S. Senate, said, "(President) George (W.) Bush let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and because they were black." Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan publicly accused President Bush of intentionally blowing up levees in New Orleans. Filmmaker Spike Lee also helped to peddle that ridiculous narrative. The Washington Post's columnist Eugene Robinson said there were "reasonable, sober people who really believe that (levees were intentionally blown up)."
The so-called "Black Lives Matter" movement is based upon the lie that the police routinely engage in racial profiling against blacks, despite numerous government studies disproving the "racial profiling" narrative vigorously promoted by social justice activists, left-wing cable channels and politicians who want blacks angry so that they vote Democrat.
Despite a House Select Committee's persuasive finding that a lone gunman, James Earl Ray, assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., some King family members disagreed. King's youngest son, Dexter, accepted Ray's claim of innocence, visited him in prison and even shook his hand! Dexter King said to Ray: ''Well, as awkward as this may seem, I want you to know that I believe you and my family believes you, and we are going to do everything in our power to try and make sure that justice will prevail. And while it's at the 11th hour, I've always been a spiritual person and I believe in Providence.''
As to rejecting the conclusions of government reports, during the O.J. Simpson double homicide case, the LAPD was led by Willie Williams, the department's first black police chief. Because of the constant and serious allegations of evidence planting, Chief Williams ordered an investigation. The probe found no evidence of any evidence planting or other intentional acts by cops, criminalists or investigators to compromise the case. Nevertheless, the polls continued to show that most blacks, at the time, believed O.J. Simpson was "innocent." The "free O.J. crowd" could not have cared less about Williams' report.
So add Trump to the list of Americans who are skeptical about some government findings, less so about others. But as for people who still claim "Bush lied, people died" and who still consider O.J. Simpson an innocent man "framed by the racist LAPD" — pray for them, and keep them away from sharp objects.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.