White House

Own the Full Truth — Before It Owns You

BY Michael Golden

October 2, 2019

Public Affairs Public Relations

There is a decades-old expression in politics: “The cover-up is always worse than the crime.”

This non-partisan principle is not meant in the literal sense. In fact, the crime is very often far worse than the cover-up.

What it really means is that if someone has something that is going to get them into political trouble – especially if it’s illegal – trying to hide it and delay the inevitable almost always makes it worse. And on the big stage where dogged journalists will not back down from getting every last question answered, eventually the truth will come out.

What’s going on right now is a prime example of this maxim playing out in real time.

While we do not know what will ultimately happen to all of the players that have been caught up in this president’s decisions and assigned activities – the ones who keep trying to lie and cover up will end up in worse shape.

It’s how more than one of the president’s associates have already been convicted and placed in prison.

People make mistakes. Even ones they know are mistakes at the time they make them. We often rationalize decisions and actions. We have weaknesses. As another maxim goes, “to err is human.”

But cover-ups kill. Get the truth out there. The faster the better. The American people can be very forgiving when they see an acknowledgment of guilt and sincere remorse.

So can the court system.

Personally, I have sort of an overbearing conscience when it comes to this stuff. When I feel like I’ve really screwed something up, I’ll often admit my mistake even when it’s gone unnoticed.

Yet when I do this, it is the rare case when someone will hold the deed against me. When you get it out there, you’re often also saying that you’re sorry. Willingly.

And in politics, even if it’s not a sincere effort to make things right, the faster you come clean, the better a chance you have to reduce the severity of the consequences.

Over the last 20 months of this presidential administration, lots of people have been pressured to do lots of things that were unethical and/or illegal.

Some came clean under the pressure of the Mueller investigation.

More of them are coming clean right now, as I type, on a whole new set of behaviors in question.

Watch the admissions. And see what happens to them versus the ones holding out hope that their actions won’t be discovered.

Don’t cover up. Be stand-up.


BY Michael Golden

October 2, 2019

Public Affairs Public Relations