Republican candidate and US President Donald Trump is known for speaking whatever comes to his mind, even when it gets him in trouble. As the President, Trump has frequently made false statements in his public speeches and remarks. The statements have been documented by fact-checkers; academics and the media have widely described the phenomenon as unprecedented in American politics. This trait of his was similarly observed when he was a presidential candidate. His falsehoods have also become a distinctive part of his political identity.
Trump uttered “at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days” in office, according to The New York Times and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office, according to the “Fact Checker” political analysis column of The Washington Post. By the Post’s tally, it took Trump 601 days to reach 5,000 false or misleading statements and another 226 days to reach the 10,000 mark. For the seven weeks leading up to the midterm elections, it rose to an average of 30 per day  from 4.9 during his first 100 days in office. The Post’s latest tally is 10,796 as of June 7, 2019. Trump communicated heavily on Twitter during the 2016 election campaign and has continued to use this channel during his presidency. The attention on Trump’s Twitter activity has significantly increased since he was sworn in as the President. As of May 2019, he is in the top 15 for most Twitter followers at over 60 million. Trump has frequently used Twitter as a direct means of communication with the public, sidelining the press. Many of the assertions he tweeted have been proven false so far. So, whatever Trump says is not necessarily true and correct.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told an American news outlet that there will never be a resolution to the Kashmir issue bilaterally and asserted that the US and President Trump can play a “big part” in mediation. He told the Fox News after his meeting with US President Donald Trump during which Trump had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. Donald Trump’s claim has been strongly refuted by India. Imran Khan also claimed that Kashmir is the only reason why India and Pakistan “have not been able to live like “civilised neighbours” since the last 70 years.
Donald Trump’s claim that PM Modi asked him to mediate on Kashmir may hit India-US ties. An influential Democratic Congressman apologised to India’s US envoy for President Donald Trump’s “embarrassing” remarks on Kashmir, while several others came out in support of New Delhi’s established stand against any third-party role on the issue.
For the past 70 years, India has consistently resisted any third-party mediation proposal, and for over a decade now, the US has been reiterating that Kashmir is a bilateral issue. Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that India consistently opposes third-party mediation for Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement was sloppy, delusional, and awkward.
Later in the Tuesday evening, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells in a tweet said that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. “While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist,” she tweeted. Meanwhile, Congressman Eliot L Engel, the Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke with Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla after Donald Trump’s remarks. During the call, Engel “reaffirmed that in order for dialogue to be meaningful, Pakistan must first take concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure” on its soil, the statement said.
In a joint statement, Congressman George Holding and Congressman Brad Sherman, who are Co-Chairs of Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, asserted that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. The Democratic-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee also issued a fact check. “The Indians confirm they never asked Trump to mediate on Kashmir,” the powerful Congressional committee tweeted. I personally feel that Trump needs to mind his statements. He is in controversies time and again.
Meanwhile, India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together. Early this year, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. Since then India and Prime Minister Modi are not in a mood to buy any lies or pardon Pakistan for its terror attacks. In such a scenario, the President of the most powerful country should maintain his dignity and his country’s pride.
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