Oh Did You Hear Biden Thought Trump Was George Bush, Oh Did You Know It's An Entire Lie?
Donald Trump can't base a compelling argument for his reelection on either his achievements as president or his personal magnetism, so his campaign has resorted to outright lies about Democratic nominee Joe Biden. There's no plausible or even consistent narrative: “Sleepy" Joe Biden is simultaneously the chairman of antifa who will restructure America into a socialist nightmare state, presumably between naps, or he's so out of it mentally that Kamala Harris will secretly run the show while resting her Chuck Taylors on the Resolute desk and laughing maniacally.
Trump doesn't exactly possess an eidetic memory: He's called House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy “Steve," which I personally find annoying but at least my full name is Stephen. Just this month, he repeatedly referred to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz as "Rick Gates," a former aide who Robert Mueller busted during the Russia investigation. He also consistently, as in every time he speaks, calls the military's hypersonic missiles “hydrosonic," as if they operate on water and gently clean the enemy's teeth into submission.
Trump repeatedly brags about the military's "Hydrosonic" missiles. "Hydrosonic" is a brand of toothbrush. Beyond pa… https://t.co/9VtjPlCKnN— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1603578768.0
So, at worst, this election is a contest between two tired old men, sort of like Darth Vader versus Obi-Wan in the original Star Wars. It's not exciting, but clearly you should support the guy who's not a genocidal maniac.
However, Biden didn't actually confuse Trump with someone named “George." I'm sure it's difficult to believe, but Trump and his stooges are lying.
Comedian George (this will be important later) Lopez and Never Trump Republican Ana Navarro hosted the "I Will Vote" event. They interviewed Joe and Jill Biden over Zoom. George (again, this is important) Lopez asked Biden why undecided voters should choose him over President Pandemic.
BIDEN: This is the most consequential — not because I'm running, but because of who I'm running against — this is the most consequential election in a long, long, long time and the character of the country, in my view, is literally on the ballot. What kind of country are we going to be? Four more years of — George, George — we are going to find ourselves in a position where if Trump gets elected, we're going to be in a different world.
Biden stutters, and whenever that happens, Republicans claim this is evidence of his cognitive decline, because they're the worst people ever, even at a Worst People convention. Biden says “George" here because he's talking to someone named “George." If you watch the video, it's obvious Biden didn't confuse the worst president ever with the previous title holder, George W. Bush, who's also not voting for Trump.
It's so obvious, in fact, that the video Guest shared on Twitter was manipulated to exclude Lopez and Navarro. This was almost comically corrupt, the sort of dishonest politics The Simpsons might've satirized in its heyday.
This is a damn lie. But that won’t stop them This is the kind of unethical crap they do to spread false narratives.… https://t.co/w2GQeBtY4E— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas)1603732079.0
What's worse, though, is that the media fell completely for the Trump campaign's bullshit. These aren't people who've earned the benefit of the doubt, yet major outlets ran with the “Did Biden confuse Trump with W?" smear job. You'd expect this from rightwing propaganda pushers such as Fox News or the Federalist. But even the “Today" show eagerly contributed an in-kind donation to the president's reelection effort.
Eric Boehlert comments on the mess at Press Run:
"Biden making headlines overnight after appearing to confuse his opponent's name," NBC reported Monday morning. "It comes as the former Vice President was pressed to respond to the president's claims that Biden is mentally fit to serve."
So not only did the "Today" show get duped by the Trump campaign, it made sure to amplify its claims about Biden not being "mentally fit to serve."
That's some grade-F journalism right there. The mainstream media is so afraid of people thinking they're liberal, they open themselves up to Republicans' constant barrage of bad-faith tactics.
NBC has apologized for its gullibility:
The video of Joe Biden talking about the 2020 election and "four more years of George…" came from an interview that Biden did Sunday with George Lopez. The fact Biden was talking with George Lopez was relevant and helpful context that should have been included in the original report.
The “helpful context" in the original report would've clarified that Trump's campaign spread a doctored video and knowingly lied about the content. It's arguably worse because Republicans aren't trying to misrepresent his policies (this time). No, they're spreading lies about his health.
That is the story the media should spend the final week of the campaign pursuing. It would've been a political killer if Hillary Clinton had done anything similar to Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders, but with Trump, it's just another Tuesday.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."