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Trump 88: The elusive statements


In political (and diplomatic) circles there’s a certain amount of slipperiness, lubrication, that goes with the territory. Officials in and representatives of a democracy need a certain amount of space to negotiate and compromise and meld alliances. That doesn’t explain all the dissembling that goes on, and doesn’t excuse all of it either, but it does point to the reality that “telling it like it is” in politics is at best a near matter, not an absolute. Forget about honest George Washington and the cherry tree; George was a spymaster during the revolution, a pretty good one too, and he understood the realities of dealing in a human society.

But there’s such a thing as the occasional necessary lie, and the lying that becomes so constant that memory starts to fail. The toughest thing about lying is keeping the lies straight, remembering what the story is supposed to be. It’s a tough task under the best of circumstances. When the lies pile up (check out the story of an undercover cop sometime, for example), the difficulties can become overwhelming.

That’s a problem Donald Trump has encountered, and his fabrications – which often as not have to do with not just facts but ideas, positions, stances – have come so fast that the conflicts crop up at startling speed. Watch a Trump speech from anywhere in early spring 2016 on, and you’ll probably be able to find easily enough a flat contradiction, if not of fact then of idea. He’s rapidly losing track of his own ideas, what he’s said here and there, even just minutes ago.

Here’s an example.

On July 23, at 3:42 am, Trump tweeted that “Pocahontas [Senator Elizabeth Warren] wanted VP slot so badly but wasn’t chosen because she has done nothing in the Senate. Also, Crooked Hillary hates her!”

Exactly 13 minutes later, Trump tweeted about the Wikileaks email release at the Democratic National Committee and the internal criticisms there of Bernie Sanders which, Trump said disapprovingly, “mock his heritage.”

So he tut-tuts about the heritage mocking of Bernie Sanders exactly 13 minutes after mocking Elizabeth Warren over her heritage.

Presidents need to keep track of what they’re saying. Their words are parsed everywhere, and the kind of daily slips Trump delivers would not go unnoticed. – rs

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