Houston, Texas, USA: Americans are facing an “epidemic of dishonesty” in Washington, D.C that’s more dangerous than terrorism or communism, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told graduating students during a commencement address at Rice University in Houston, Saturday.
In his commencement address, Bloomberg blamed “extreme partisanship” for the current political climate and warned that “when we tolerate dishonesty, we get criminality,”
“When elected officials speak as though they are above the truth, they will act as though they are above the law.”
In his speech, Bloomberg evoked the nation’s first president, George Washington, who as a boy supposedly said he could not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.
“How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie [George Washington] to politicians who cannot tell the truth?” Bloomberg asked
Bloomberg told graduates and their families that “when we tolerate dishonesty, we get criminality. Sometimes, it’s in the form of corruption. Sometimes, it’s abuse of power. And sometimes, it’s both.”
“The greatest threat to American democracy isn’t communism, jihadism or any other external force or foreign power,” he added. “It’s our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party and in pursuit of power.”
Bloomberg added that he’s never seen such acceptance of dishonesty in Congress and the federal government.
“There is now more tolerance for dishonesty in politics than I have seen in my lifetime,” Bloomberg said. “The only thing more dangerous than dishonest politicians who have no respect for the law is a chorus of enablers who defend their every lie.”
While not mentioning Trump by name, Bloomberg knocked the president’s past claim that climate change is a “Chinese hoax.”
The 76-year-old billionaire said “an endless barrage of lies” and a trend toward “alternate realities” in national politics pose a dire threat to US democracy.
“If 99 percent of scientists whose research has been peer-reviewed reach the same general conclusion about a theory, then we ought to accept it as the best available information — even if it’s not a 100 percent certainty,” Bloomberg said. “That, graduates, is not a Chinese hoax.”
Last month, the former mayor pledged to cut a check for $4.5 million to fulfill America’s commitment to the Paris climate accords.