Monday, August 7, 2017

Small Lies or Big Delusion?

Once again I’ve been astounded this past week by how fact-challenged Donald Trump is.

First up – the leaked transcript of phone calls. I agree with a lot of people (both Republican and Democrat) that leaking these kinds of presidential phone conversations is not good. But, boy, do they ever reveal some things about Trump.

In one of the calls Trump tells Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that the state of New Hampshire is a “drug-infested den” (no doubt, now the new state motto!) and for this reason Trump won the state.

To be fair to Trump, we can assume that he’s NOT saying that he was especially popular among the addicted-voter segment (though that might explain a lot). Instead, perhaps he meant that the concern over the opioid epidemic was an issue that worked in his favor – though I don’t know if that’s true, either.

The more interesting fact about Trump’s (mis)statement is that he did NOT “win” New Hampshire. Clinton did, though it was very close. You would think Trump would remember this. Someone should set the record straight with Peña Nieto so he doesn’t accidentally embarrass himself by bringing up this impressive “fact” about Trump at, for example, some cocktail party.

“Did you know,” he would say confidently, “That my good friend Donald Trump won New Hampshire?” while his better-informed companions stare into their drinks in awkward silence.

Anyway, perhaps Trump is thinking of his big GOP primary win in New Hampshire, the surprise victory that set him off on his journey to the White House. Maybe that looms so large in his mind that he confuses it with actually winning the state in the general election nine months ago.

The other thing that struck me this week is what Trump said at a campaign rally in West Virginia (a state he actually did win, bigly). Concerning the Department of Justice investigation into Russian meddling in the election, he assured a throng of cheering coal-industry supporters that “The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.” Greatest loss in the history of American politics.

Only, it wasn’t. Trump LOST the popular vote by almost three million votes. He did win the electoral college, but only by 34 votes, the narrowest margin since George W. Bush and in no way a “great win”. (Obama won by 95 and 62 votes.)

It just goes to show that if you repeat an untruth over and over, maybe you start to believe it’s true. Seems to be working for Trump. He’s probably hoping it works for his audience too.

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