But how do you cover someone who’s just spewing BS nonstop now without amplifying that BS?
Using words like “baseless” or “unproven” don’t really work as synonyms for his most recent kinds of lies. Because there’s at least a little bit of an implication there that there’s a chance, however small, that they still might be “proven” or have some “base” in reality, when they don’t. Not even close.
Trump’s 46-minute harangue on how the election was stolen from him can be distilled down to one statement from that speech:
“It is statistically impossible that the person–me –that led the charge lost.”
In other words, he just can’t believe he lost. With all those people showing up at his rallies, in the middle of a pandemic no less, and with Republicans doing well in other races, how could he possibly have lost? I don’t know? How did the 49ers not win this year’s Super Bowl?
And I think Trump’s loss in the context he frames it can be explained very easily: people were not necessarily against Trump’s messages. Just the crazy they had to deal with on a day-to-day basis with him as the nation’s Chief Executive. And he’s giving more of an example now why they were right.
So then he pretty much declares war on the United States’ government, public servants of both parties, and the majority of the American public. Although still, for now, it’s a very personal, intimate war. It may even be notable that while the White House produced and distributed this video, it appears nowhere in the section of the White House website dedicated to the President’s “remarks.”
To believe Trump now is to believe a vast multi-conspiracy involving politicians of all parties and voters—especially in big cities—and vendors acting in precise coordination. And Venezuela too.
Hey, even as manipulative and skilled an underhanded politician as Dick Cheney was, he never did find a way to make “weapons of mass destruction” actually appear in Iraq. And the lies Trump gripes about as fact are a much much heavier lift than that.
And that’s not all. Because Trump then argues it’s the duty of every Republican elected official at the local and national level to line up behind him, swallow his lies as truth, accept his taking a sledgehammer to Democracy as defense of Democracy, and take dirty actions, which in most cases means throwing out all their citizens’ votes and replacing them with a set of votes that make sure he’s victorious.
Because who but a scoundrel and a traitor in Trump’s eyes would dare have the temerity to suggest that the fact Trump lost because he got many many many fewer votes (both popular and electoral) than Joe Biden means in any way shape or form that he’s not entitled to a second term in office anyway?
Lots of people have spent the last few days on Twitter making fun of the President’s lawyers and the wholly ridiculous witnesses they’ve trotted out for “hearings”, many of which have just been for show, but some of which have actually occurred in state legislative committees.
We understand the need to blow off some steam. But there’s nothing to make fun of there. Because it’s people showing us just how willing they are to throw themselves at an electric fence just to please the President. And they kind of “get it” actually: it’s not about establishing facts, it’s about wearing people down and wearing the truth of what happened down. And even if the possibility that anything will come of any of it is very faint, it’d only take one or two points of fatigue or sudden violence to make this potentially a whole lot more difficult. And that’s just the point.
And Trump’s already plainly shown throughout this year he’s willing for people to die purely for the benefit of his pride and vanity.
All Trump’s trying to find is a weak spot where some official out there actually doing their job buckles, giving a green light to others to follow. And then, he hopes, the dominoes will start to fall. This isn’t an easy thing to make happen. But it’s easier so long as Republican leadership by and large is still silent, weeks beyond Trump’s further descent into madness the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Even if it’s all a put-on. Which I don’t think it is. And especially if it is totally real. My best guess: reality fades in and out and he whips back and forth. Like Trump always does on everything. Still, none of it for no reason gives them any excuse nor any cover.
Even after Michael Flynn, who suggests Trump declare martial law and have the military administer a new election. Which would absolutely be a coup. Because that new election couldn’t happen overnight, and of course Trump would set the rules. So it’d mean this country under military control for months, at least if you bother to think about it in practical terms. All to benefit a President who’s saying all he’s doing is protecting the Constitution.
Flynn is a guy who Trump hired as his first National Security Advisor, despite or maybe because President Obama warned he was a nutcase. Trump then fired him, after which Flynn pled guilty to a federal crime, then tried to take back his plea, then last week was pardoned by Trump. All the “best people”…
Major news organizations are edging toward calling Trump’s lies “lies” more and more now, but they’re still doing it somewhat gingerly. And in some ways it wouldn’t matter, because the people who believe Trump don’t believe them anyway. So far, the AP has come the closest to telling it like it is:
“Increasingly detached from reality, President Donald Trump stood before a White House lectern and delivered a 46-minute diatribe against the election results that produced a win for Democrat Joe Biden, unspooling one misstatement after another to back his baseless claim that he really won.”
Though is he truly off his rocker? Or is he the inventor and curator of yet another set of particularly malignant “alternate facts” because that stuff has worked for him before so why not?