The Assault on Truth – and What to Do About It

A conversation with Cherie Harder, Jonathan Rauch, and Peter Wehner


7:00–8:30 PM

Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall

Washington University in St. Louis


  • The Assault on Truth – And What to Do About It

    A conversation with Peter Wehner, Jonathan Rauch, and Cherie Harder


Americans on all sides of today’s religious and political divides are calling on their leaders to stop telling lies and to tell the truth about the state of our nation. Yet what some deem the truth about democracy, others believe are lies manufactured and spread for power and profit. What damage is this fragmentation doing to us and to our social, religious, and civic institutions? Is it irreversible? Most importantly, what can we do to end the assault on truth?

Please join us for this important conversation and stay for a reception and book signing with the speakers immediately following the presentation. Local bookseller and cultural institution Left Bank Books will be on site for purchase of Mr. Rauch’s book The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth and Mr. Wehner’s book The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

Free and open to all

We appreciate your RSVP to if you plan to join us in person. Zoom link coming soon!

We expect all guests to follow current university public health policies, which can be found here:

You can also join us via Zoom for a livestream of the event. Please register here:

More about the speakers

Cherie Harder serves as President of the Trinity Forum. Prior to joining the Trinity Forum in 2008, Harder served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects for First Lady Laura Bush. Earlier she served as Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, advising the Leader on domestic social issues and serving as liaison and outreach director to outside groups. From 2001 to 2005, she was Senior Counselor to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Prior to that, Harder was the Policy Director for Senator Sam Brownback and also served as Deputy Policy Director at Empower America. She earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in government from Harvard University and a post-graduate diploma in literature from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she was a Rotary Scholar. She is also a Senior Fellow at Cardus, an Editorial Board member of Comment magazine, a board member of the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and Faith and Law, and an advisory board member of the National Museum of American Religion.

Jonathan Rauch is one of the country’s most versatile and original writers on government, public policy, and gay marriage, among other subjects. A senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. and contributing writer of The Atlantic, he is the author of eight books and many articles and has received the magazine industry’s two leading prizes — the National Magazine Award (the industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) and the National Headliner Award. In 2018, he published The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, a lauded account of the surprising relationship between aging and happiness. His latest book, published in 2021, is The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth, a spirited and deep-diving account of how to push back against disinformation, canceling, and other new threats to our fact-based epistemic order. Rauch was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated in 1982 from Yale University. He went on to become a reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina before moving to Washington in 1984. From 1984-89 he covered fiscal and economic policy for National Journal.

Peter Wehner is a Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. He has written for numerous other publications—including Time, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Commentary, National Affairs, and Christianity Today. He has also appeared frequently as a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CBS, PBS, and C-SPAN television. Wehner served in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations, including as Deputy Director of Speechwriting and later Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives for President George W. Bush. He is author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (co-authored with Michael J. Gerson) and Wealth and Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism (co-authored with Arthur C. Brooks). His most recent book is The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.


  • Cherie Harder

  • Jonathan Rauch

  • Peter Wehner