Only hardcore Trumpophiles deny Donald Trump lies, regularly, about matters large and small. Recently he claimed album sales of the young singer scheduled for his inauguration have soared since the announcement. The opposite is true. Simultaneously he announced that inaugural after-parties are such a hot ticket that you can’t find a single fancy gown in all of D.C. Calls from reporters showed the claim to be false, by the thousands. Simple observation confirms he WAS mocking that disabled reporter. Like all pathological liars, he doesn’t care, and won’t stop.
The record of Trump’s pronouncements proves truth is not his default setting. About Jackie Evancho and ball gowns, who cares? About mocking the disabled, financial ties to Russia and cahoots with Vladimir Putin, we all should.
In publishing the alleged report on alleged travesties in Russia, Buzzfeed gifted Mr. Trump. So much is salacious, all of it, the public version at least, unsubstantiated, that he could dismiss it and its implications as “fake news.” (Might the barrage of fake news distributed pre-election by Trumpites, including Russia, have been designed not only to tilt the outcome but as future cover for discrediting actual news?) Until proven otherwise, the “report” reminds me of those fake Obama birth certificates touted by rightwing media: unconvincing. That this specific document stinks, though, doesn’t prove there’s no dead rat nearby. But it gave our next president a platform for, yet again, trying to pre-discredit the press and the intelligence community over future revelations.
In college, having studied the Russian language for several years, I traveled in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. From sad personal experience (involving a Soviet citizen, not me) I can confirm that our rooms were bugged. Surely they still are, especially for high-profile visitors like the vulgar, narcissistic, flattery-craving owner of the Miss Universe pageant, a perfect target for gathering compromising data. I don’t much care if the Donald arranged for the defiling of the bed used by the Obamas, per se; I do care if he said or did anything while there that could be used to blackmail him, and so should we all. I do care if he has financial entanglements with and is indebted to powerful forces in Russia, and so should we all. Given his well-established penchant for lying (and his refusal to release tax returns), the last thing we should do is to take his denials at face value.
If it was effective strategy before the election constantly to flood the public with so many lies that it became meaningless to track them all down, for a sitting president it’s kind of a drawback. Or would be, if his voters hadn’t been taught not to care, and if his party’s representatives in Congress weren’t so euphoric over having an ill-informed, incurious occupier of the White House, likely to sign whatever he’s sent, that they’re already looking the other way on a number of outrages.
Eight years ago, as the minority leader, Mitch McConnell sent to the majority leader a list of quite reasonable vetting requirements before holding hearings on President Obama’s nominees. Now, to the surprise of exactly zero sentient beings, he says such scrutiny is not only unnecessary; the very act of suggesting them is childish. Democrats, he said, need to “grow up.” Tax returns? Vetting by the Government Ethics Office? Conflicts of interest? That was then!
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s mouthpiece, an undeniable genius at obfuscating the outrageous, recently chided the media for focusing on what Trump says. “You always want to go by what's come out of his mouth rather than look at what's in his heart," were her exact, bizarre, and anatomically impossible words. I’ve listened to countless hearts stethoscopically, held a few, beating, in my hands. But I don’t know how to discover what’s in non-patients’ hearts other than by what they say. Daily, we’ve learned that Donald Trump’s heart accommodates a plentitude of lies. How can we know when he’s being truthful, about Russia, bribes, or anything else; and isn’t it imperative, despite his threats, to keep trying?
Media professionals have to resist Trump’s intimidations; his supporters must become willing to consider the obvious. Sustaining our democracy depends on it.[Image source]