POLITICS
05/12/2018 09:40 pm ET

Michael Bloomberg Slams 'Epidemic' Of Political Lies As Danger To Democracy

"How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie to politicians who cannot tell the truth?"

Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out Saturday at the “epidemic of dishonesty” in politics that he said poses “one of the most serious dangers” to American democracy.

During a commencement speech at Rice University in Texas, Bloomberg slammed the “endless barrage of lies” and “alternate realities” in national politics.

“People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts,” he said.

Bloomberg didn’t single out President Donald Trump, though, he has called Trump’s candidacy a “con.” Bloomberg said Saturday that rampant dishonesty in politics is now “bigger than any one person ... than any one party.”

He also held up presidents of the past — George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — as models of honesty. 

“How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie to politicians who cannot tell the truth?” Bloomberg asked. “Today when we look at the city that bears Washington’s name, it’s hard not to wonder, ‘What the hell happened?’”

Bloomberg sharply criticized “enablers” who tolerate and defend lies.

Lies, he said, are only the start of a profound disturbance in U.S. politics.

“When elected officials speak as though they are above the truth, they will act as though they are above the law,” Bloomberg said. That invites “criminality” in the “form of corruption [and] abuse of power.”

“These abuses can erode the institutions that protect and preserve our rights and freedoms and open the door to tyranny and fascism,” he added. 

Watch the rest of the speech is in the video above.

Bloomberg just last month committed $4.5 million to fund the United States’ annual commitment to the Paris climate agreement after Trump announced that the nation is withdrawing from the pact. He also last month criticized Environmental Protection Agency head  Scott Pruitt for “abandoning” the environment “100 percent.

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