We've known for a long time that Donald Trump loves to elevate himself to super-human status. We've also known for a long time that words are meaningless to Trump. Very often, his use of words transparently and inadvertently reveal exactly what he's thinking, especially when he doesn't want us to know what he's really thinking. He has to be the world's worst poker player, given his variety of obvious tells -- including tells in which he'd just blurt the cards he's holding.
The other day, Trump was asked by The Daily Caller about his hand-picked acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker. Instead of merely answering the question about Whitaker, Trump instead volunteered that the Russia investigation is a hoax. The problem here is that he wasn't asked about Robert Mueller's office, yet he blurted something about it anyway, revealing exactly his motivation for installing Whitaker.
Likewise, Trump was recording an interview with Fox News Sunday this week when, in a response to a question about Jim Acosta and CNN, he exclaimed, "Nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do." That's right, nobody believes in it more than Trump. Not the ACLU. Not the actual framers of the amendment. Nobody.
You might recall how Trump often uses this form of extreme exaggeration to ridiculously inflate his status as the greatest human in the history of greatness. In fact, these declarative boasts are the exact opposite of the truth. Huge tells. Every time he uses this trope, we should assume the converse is true.
1. April 2016: "Nobody knows the system better than I do."
This is completely untrue. It's doubtful Trump's read the Constitution cover-to-cover. It even more doubtful that he knows how a bill becomes a law. If it wasn't described on Fox News or at Infowars, he probably doesn't know it. Based on his first four weeks in office, he doesn't appear to know anything about the system. He didn't appear to know that "CBC" stands for "Congressional Black Caucus." He thought Obamacare included language covering children who still "live with their parents." Nope. There's language about people under 26 who can stay on their parents' insurance, but it doesn't matter whether they still live with their parents. Trump knows nothing.
2. June 2015: "There's nobody bigger or better at the military than I am."
There's nobody bigger (or better) at the military? What?
3. June 2016: "There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me."
How did he gain this insight? We can assume based on his television viewing habits that he watched footage of Hiroshima on Fox News, thus "nobody" understands nuclear more than him. Bear in mind that Trump didn't know what the nuclear triad is, answering in a debate, "I think – I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me." Uh-huh. And then, last week, Trump said this about uranium: "You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons like lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things."
4. July 2016: "I know more about Cory [Booker] than he knows about himself."
5. October 2016: "Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody. Nobody has more respect."
Clearly this is false. But it was also spoken when Trump was desperately trying to sidestep the now infamous Access Hollywood "pussy grabbing" tape. Also, notice the repeated use of "nobody." As a corollary to our rule here, the more "nobodies" he uses, the bigger the lie.
6. February 2016: "Nobody reads the Bible more than me."
Not only does Trump not read the Bible, obviously, he simply doesn't read. In fact, there's evidence showing he has trouble reading. Nevertheless, it's important to reiterate: words have no meaning to Trump. There are perhaps tens of millions of people around the world, including scholars and theologians, who've read the Bible far more often than Trump who likely isn't very religious at all.
7. January 2017: "There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There’s nobody." He also said about the CIA, "I love you, I respect you, there's nobody I respect more."
Uh-huh. You know how we know he's lying a lot here? He said "nobody" three times, and, days earlier he compared the intelligence community to Nazi Germany while referring to it with scare-quotes around the word "intelligence." And the mass firings have yet to occur, but they will.
It's helpful for the rest of us to recognize this tell in order to understand what the president's really thinking. It's also helpful to know that Trump is taking his supporters for idiots. And perhaps they are, but it's especially cynical of Trump to exploit their stupidity and ignorance to this level, where he thinks they'll blindly accept that nobody reads the Bible more than he does, or that he knows more about Cory Booker than Cory Booker. If George W. Bush was any measure, it's unlikely Trump's base will care at all. They'll just keep on believing provably nonsensical remarks like these.