Donald Trump lies a lot — so much that the individual falsehoods combine like lie-droplets to form a raging river of mendacity. Calling out every lie Trump tells would be a full-time job, and even people whose job it actually is — the Beltway press — aren’t up to the task.
In the morning thread comments, we briefly discussed a lie Trump told a couple of times yesterday: He claimed that BLM protests included a moment of silence for the cop killer. I’ll admit when I read that, it didn’t strike me as particularly ominous — Trump lies all the time, right? But I think Josh Marshall is right when he calls this a particularly pernicious lie. An excerpt:
Trump claimed that people – “somebody” – called for a moment of silence for mass killer Micah Johnson, the now deceased mass shooter who killed five police officers in Dallas on Thursday night. There is no evidence this ever happened. Searches of the web and social media showed no evidence. Even Trump’s campaign co-chair said today that he can’t come up with any evidence that it happened. As in the case of the celebrations over the fall of the twin towers, even to say there’s ‘no evidence’ understates the matter. This didn’t happen. Trump made it up.
The language is important: “When somebody called for a moment of silence to this maniac that shot the five police, you just see what’s going on. It’s a very, very sad situation.”
Then later at the Indiana rally: “The other night you had 11 cities potentially in a blow-up stage. Marches all over the United States—and tough marches. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac! And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!”
A would-be strong man, an authoritarian personality, isn’t just against disorder and violence. They need disorder and violence. That is their raison d’etre, it is the problem that they are purportedly there to solve. The point bears repeating: authoritarian figures require violence and disorder. Look at the language. “11 cities potentially in a blow up stage” .. “Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac!” … “And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer…”
We’re used to so much nonsense and so many combustible tirades from Trump that we become partly inured to them. We also don’t slow down and look at precisely what he’s saying. What he’s saying here is that millions of African-Americans are on the streets inspired by and protesting on behalf of a mass murderer of white cops… This is not simply false. It is the kind of wild racist incitement that puts whole societies in danger…
Trump’s entire campaign is built on the premise that the country is in the toilet and needs rescuing by…Trump. We certainly have problems, not least of which is a structurally racist justice system.
But crime rates are at historic lows. So what does a “law and order” candidate do if there’s not a real law and order problem — or at least not one of the type that he is proposing to address? Like a private sector firefighter who drums up business via arson, he lies to foment division, distrust and fear.
In the early days after the Dallas shooting, I wondered if someone had muzzled Trump. He didn’t immediately resort to fear-mongering and bigotry as he did after the Orlando shooting. He even acknowledged the pain of the families of Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling. Looks like the muzzle is off.