Leonard Pitts Jr.: ‘The mouth speaks what the heart is full of’
How about if we let Jesus answer Kellyanne Conway?
Donald Trump’s indefatigable apologist was at it again Monday on CNN, defending her boss against, of all people, Meryl Streep. The 19-time Oscar nominee got under Trump’s famously thin skin with a speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globes.
In it, she chastised him for, among other things, mocking Serge F. Kovaleski, a New York Times reporter who has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that causes abnormal muscle development and severely restricted joint movements. Trump, lying as is his wont, has frequently denied what he did, even though the proof is as near as a Google search.
He denied it again while tweeting about Streep. Conway, appearing on CNN, took umbrage when anchor Chris Cuomo expressed skepticism. “Why don’t you believe him?” she asked. “Why is everything taken at face value? You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this and he’s telling you what was in his heart? You always want to go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”
It bears repeating because even by the standards of Trump World, it’s a humdinger. Don’t listen to what the president-elect says, she says. Go by what’s in his heart.
Jesus saw that one coming 2,000 years ago: “A good man,” he taught, “brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
For those of you playing along at home, that’s Luke 6:45, the Son of God calling BS on the son of Fred, and on Conway’s bizarre insistence that somehow people have — repeatedly — misread his intentions all these months. Sorry, but if the eyes are windows to the soul, then the mouth is its megaphone, and Trump has used his repeatedly and effectively to tell us what sort of person he is.
So it’s funny, but frankly also chilling, to see Conway scurrying around at this late date, in effect asking America to grade Donald Trump on a curve. Don’t go by what comes out of his mouth?
She does know this man is about to president, right? She realizes, doesn’t she, that a president’s words can incite revolution? That they can move the stock market? That they can get people killed?
Yet this woman thinks the problem with Trump’s diarrheal mouth is the fact that we listen to it. In other words, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Is that to be the message our ambassadors give our foreign friends — and foes — for the next four years?
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Mr. Prime Minister. That’s just Donald. He’s just talkin’.”
Yeah. That’s totally not ridiculous.
To hear Conway tell it, some combination of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama has been hiding in plain sight all along, except that somehow, Trump’s unruly mouth failed to properly represent Trump’s saintly heart and it’s all your fault, anyway, for believing words and actions have meaning. The trouble is, inconvenient realities like this one insist on telling a different story. Indeed, the Kovaleski case is the whole tragedy of Donald Trump in microcosm: the scorn, the bullying, the pettiness, the lying, the self-delusion.
In the face of that, Conway’s entreaty to disregard Trump’s mouth and look into Trump’s soul is beyond asinine. Sorry, but Jesus — big surprise — was right. “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Trump’s mouth has made it starkly clear what fills his heart.
And, sadly, what does not.