2017: The Year Trump Never Stopped Lying
The scary lady is lying again.
Donald J. Trump was inaugurated on Friday, January 20, 2017. That there is a fact. He didn't have as big a crowd as Barack Obama did for his first inauguration ceremony in 2008. He really did not. So of course, it stands to reason that in Sean Spicer's first briefing as White House press secretary, the evening of January 21, Spicer came out and lied, lied, lied to the world about how Trump's inauguration had “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, PERIOD.” Remember what that looked like? Spicer, we mean. We all know exactly what the two aerial shots of the national mall looked like. Here's Spicey inaugurating his own career as a White House liar:
"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -- period," Trump White House press secretary claims https://t.co/ICcog0Ivxt— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 21, 2017
He was so young and fresh-faced then.
The defenses of Melania Trump's plagiarism are beginning to get a little silly. Imagine that!
Yes, all politicians lie, and all presidential press secretaries spin. And in the case of Donald Trump, the one thing virtually all Americans agree on is that his relationship to the truth is far from monogamous. We knew he was incapable of telling the truth long ago. Politifact gave its 2015 "Lie of the Year" to the blanket category "Donald Trump's campaign misstatements." Even so, seeing the machinery of the federal government swinging into Lie Mode was breathtaking and disturbing. After Spicer's deranged performance that Saturday night, Trump adviser and spokesmarionette Kellyanne Conway went on "Meet the Press" the very next day and set that stage for the rest of the year, in a performance that can only be described as so fucking bizarre that even Chuck Todd was poleaxed:
CONWAY: Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. … You’re saying it’s a falsehood. … Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains–
TODD: Wait a minute– Alternative facts? Alternative facts? Four of the five facts he uttered, the one thing he got right was Zeke Miller. Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.
Fortunately, Conway was far too polite to get into the gutter with the briefly bespined Todd, so she changed the subject and pointed out that if he was going to laugh at her, well then doesn't that just sum up how much contempt the press has for Trump, and for the AMERICAN PEOPLE who chose him to be president? How sad for him.
We wouldn't presume to list all of the administration's forays into alternative fact land, if only because the New York Times already has a very informative list of Donald Trump's overt lies (not including mere "falsehoods" or shadings of the truth) between his inauguration and November 11. The Washington Post, not to be outdone, has put together a database of 1628 "falsehoods and misleading claims" by Trump since the inauguration. It's even searchable by category! Surprising: the most frequently repeated one is not about Russia! It's the claim that "Obamacare is dead" -- which he repeated 60 times.
So rather than attempt even a top 10 list, we're going to make a little use of our dumb degree in rhetoric and try to compile a taxonomy of Trump administration lies, a spotter's guide for when you see them in the wild.
The I Am a Great Man Lie
Probably Trump's favorite kind of lie, where he exaggerates just for the sake of proving to the world what an important guy he is, as if holding one of the most powerful offices in the world didn't already make that point. He didn't just win that office, he won it by a landslide. Here, look at the electoral map. The biggest electoral majority in history. OK, for a Republican. OK, fine, for a Republican who'd never run for anything or been in any public leadership role. He had the biggest inaugural crowd ever. He signed the biggest tax cut in history. We're deporting gang members by the thousands. And Donald Trump knows more about the tax code than the best CPA. And don't you ever forget that he's done more in his first year than any other president in history.
Oh, yes, and Trump would have won the popular vote, too, once you subtract the 5 million illegal immigrant votes nobody has ever documented. Which only makes sense, since they're undocumented immigrants.
Look at this wonderful thing I achieved (that I didn't have anything to do with)
Trump takes credit for stuff he had no real influence on, but he just knows it happened because of him. Even before taking office, he took credit for automakers building cars in American factories that they hadn't planned on moving to Mexico. He falsely claimed that NATO -- which has been fighting terrorism since the '80s -- had done nothing to fight terrorism, then when NATO created a new intelligence office, congratulated himself for goading NATO into doing what it had been planning to do anyway. He also took credit for increased defense spending by NATO members -- following an agreement made in 2014. Trump took credit for cost reductions in the F-35 fighter jet program that were achieved well before he took office.
And every day when the mailman goes away, Donald Trump knows it's because he barked and scratched at the kitchen door.
The pointless self-congratulatory lie
This is a subset of his other bragging, where Trump just plain lies about minor shit to puff himself up in ways that nobody in their right mind would even care about, like his claim during the campaign that he'd shared a green room with Vladimir Putin when they were both on "60 Minutes" -- except the interviews were taped months apart on different continents. Or his insistence that there were "lines that go back six blocks” for one of his appearances, while cameras showed no line at all outside -- not even six people.
Everyone agrees with this thing that only I believe
The granddaddy of them all in this category is Politifact's Lie of the Year for 2017, Trump's insistence that Russia never interfered in the 2016 election and the whole story was made up by sore-loser Democrats -- who have, surprisingly, also admitted that they know his campaign didn't collude with Russia. Only a few malcontents in the media -- plus some very bad people in the FBI -- think there's anything to it.
Along similar lines, nobody's interested in Trump's taxes except reporters, the media all know Charlottesville had very fine people on both sides (and only the Nazis had a permit), and Donald Trump is a great fan of the Bible.
Shades of grey are only for white people
Nazi marches include some very fine people, and were mostly about preserving Confederate statues anyway. Football players protesting police killings hate America because they disrespect our beautiful national anthem and our beautiful flag. Trump didn't want to condemn anyone for Charlottesville until he had all the facts (and then condemned "both sides"). But if he thinks something is terrorism, he's quick to condemn radical Islam (the only kind there is) and insist it's time to toughen the travel ban. Chicago is full of violent thugs, but the Las Vegas and Texas massacres were perpetrated by lone nuts who had mental problems (no we will not expand mental health treatment). Counter-terrorism programs will now focus solely on Islamic terrorism; anti-government or white supremacist terror is no longer anything to take seriously, despite the higher number of incidents.
We already answered that
This is a favorite of both Trump and his press flacks, and has been a mainstay of avoiding questions in the month since Trump tweeted that he had to fire Mike Flynn for lying to the FBI. So when did Trump know Flynn had lied? Sarah Huckabee Sanders never answered that one, telling reporters they'd have to ask Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, who of course would say nothing. When asked again in the following days, Sanders insisted she'd given the only answer she was going to: Go ask Dowd (who continued not to answer). Then when reporters asked Trump himself about it, he got very, very annoyed at having to field that question again, for heaven's sake: "What else is there? You know the answer. How many times has that question been asked?" The scary thing is, maybe he does think he's answered it (No. Here, he's lying, not senile).
See also Sarah Sanders on accusations of sexual harassment/abuse/assault: The voters answered that by electing him. Obviously, he won, so that's been answered. And we've already said all we'll say about those lying women, who are liars. If they were telling the truth, America wouldn't have elected Trump, after all.
Hillary did it
A perennial favorite, and the other central chunk of Trump's lies about Russia. Not only is Russia's election interference a complete fiction, that fiction was all made up by Democrats because Hillary Clinton lost. You want to talk collusion, just look at how Hillary sold America's uranium to Russia. Everyone in the FBI and the Mueller investigation is in the tank for Hillary, who also made up the Dossier. And what about her emails?
Obama did it
Barack Obama did Wire Tapps to Trump Tower, which never happened, but it sure was scandalous. Obamacare caused millions to lose the insurance they liked (more like a million, tops, and mostly it was junk insurance that didn't cover much of anything -- the kind Trump wants to bring back). Obama released dangerous terrorists from Gitmo that George Bush actually released. Obama opened the borders. Obama's EPA regulated puddles as if they were lakes. Obama created or allowed the creation of ISIS, whose roots go back to 2004. Obama gave $150 billions dollars to Iran (or unfroze some of Iran's assets). And of course, Obama never called the families of soldiers killed in our several wars, so all those photos of him standing with families receiving caskets at Dover AFB are photoshopped.
There's also the significant subgenre where things that were terrible and fake under Obama, like the unemployment rate, economic growth, or the stock market, are now proof of what a fantastic job Donald Trump is doing. The unemployment stats were fake during the campaign, but now they're reliable. The stock market was doing OK under Obama, but it was only a bubble, ready to burst at any moment. Now, though, it will never stop going up, no sir. In Trump's mind, he inherited an economy that was in the doldrums, but now, with virtually the same trends continuing, it's roaring back to vitality, which is why corporate America needed a huge tax cut to get out of the doldrums.
The Truth Is Still Out There
Yr Wonkette is still fairly certain there's an objective reality that can be nailed down, even if it's not welcome at the White House. Trump and his 30-something percent share of diehard supporters may live in an alternate reality, and even have an entire cable network to help tell them how to think, but polls keep showing a majority of Americans think he's an untrustworthy liar who acts recklessly. (Even his supporters doubt he'll build that wall, but they're OK with that as long as he keeps up the deportations.) And the more Trump lies, the more the reality-based community calls him out on it -- and yells at mainstream media sources that don't challenge him on the rare occasions when he does a long interview, as we saw when the New York Times let him ramble. News readership and viewership is up -- but no, that doesn't mean the media will endorse Trump in 2020 because he's good for ratings. Large majorities of Americans want Robert Mueller's investigation to continue, so we can get the facts. And for all the lies coming from Trump and Republicans, the tax cut bill and the attempt to kill Obamacare sparked massive resistance.
You might even say Trump has spurred a growth market for reality.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.