In what could set a new standard for cognitive dissonance, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg warned in a commencement speech on Saturday at Texas' Rice University that "an endless barrage of lies" and a trend toward "alternate realities" in national politics pose a dire threat to U.S. democracy.
"This is bigger than any one person. It's bigger than any one party..."
Careful not to call out President Trump specifically - having derided him as "a con" and a "dangerous demagogue" before his election - AP reports the 76-year-old billionaire told the assembled crowd that Americans are facing an "epidemic of dishonesty" in Washington that's more dangerous than terrorism or communism...
"How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie to politicians who cannot tell the truth?"
He blamed "extreme partisanship" for an unprecedented tolerance of dishonesty in U.S. politics. People are committed more to their political tribes than the truth, he said, suggesting that the nation is more divided than any time since the Civil War.
"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."
Bloomberg, who flirted with a potential independent presidential bid in 2016, did take an indirect jab at President Trump with respect to cliemate change...
"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."
As The Hill notes, last month, the former mayor pledged to cut a check for $4.5 million to fulfill the U.S.'s commitment to the Paris Climate Accords, which Trump announced the U.S. would exit last year.
And as Bloomberg's address neared its end, he dipped further into the rabbit hole of doom...
"When elected officials speak as though they are above the truth, they will act as though they are above the law,"
"And 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 continued.
"It's our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party, and in pursuit of power."
Falling just shy of calling for #resistance directly, the billionaire blamed "extreme partisanship" for an unprecedented tolerance of dishonesty in U.S. politics, pointing out that people are committed more to their political tribes than the truth... suggesting that the nation is more divided than any time since the Civil War.