Update 8pm ET: It didn’t even take a full day for another lie, a blatant one, to dominate the news cycle. Earlier today, during an address to the CIA, Donald Trump couldn’t help himself and pivoted to the subject of the crowd size at his inauguration yesterday. Put simply, he blamed the media for supposedly distorting the number to make it appear smaller than it really was. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, followed that up with this doozy of a quote during his very first official briefing: “This was the largest audience to witness an inauguration. Period.” Obviously, this is verifiably, demonstrably, unequivocally not true. There’s a great quote from Orwell’s 1984 that applies here: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
Original Post: This has been said before a number of times here and in other regular columns by other writers at the Banter but it’s staggering how it gets proven out day after day after day: The Donald Trump era is going to bring a relentless, almost pitiless barrage of corruption, controversy and jaw-dropping surreality. It’s going to be a deluge, a 24/7 gangbang of incompetence and scandal that’s so massive that it at all times threatens to overwhelm anyone trying to keep track of it. There’s an argument to make that that’s by design — because Trump knows that if malfeasance is constant and omnipresent, it’ll be impossible for anyone to grab on to any one scandal for any length of time to the point where it will do real damage to the administration. We’ll simply become inured to the madness and he’ll get away with all of it.
While right now there’s the ongoing investigation into the Russian influence on Trump, the fact that our government isn’t fully staffed because Trump couldn’t be bothered to, the cabinet full of ineptitude and hostility to the very missions of the agencies being staffed, and of course Trump’s first acts as president, which are moving toward fucking the middle-class and stripping health insurance from millions, there are so many seemingly smaller offenses to fixate on as well. Like, for instance, that bizarre photo he published the other day that purported to show Trump writing his own inaugural address at Mar-a-Lago. It was weird enough already because it was so obviously staged, but now comes the completely 100% not-at-all-surprising revelation that it was, in fact, total horseshit. Of course Trump didn’t write his own inaugural address. Hell, the White House didn’t even bother to try to keep up the ruse, admitting it in a just-published Wall Street Journal article.
According to Trump’s people, that searing, divisive, ridiculously militant speech — the one that made all of America sound like it’s a dystopia on par with the New York City depicted in The Warriors — wasn’t written by Trump but was instead penned, of course, by pencil-necked conservatwerp Stephen Miller and alt-right monster Steve Bannon, two of Trump’s most trusted aides. This is entirely to be expected given that Trump has the attention span of a cocker spaniel and is famously unwilling to spend any time at all on anything that doesn’t interest him (meaning anything not himself, the future of the country absolutely falling into that category). Anyone who knows Miller and especially Bannon could hear their worldview in the address, that of an America subsumed into globalism and consumed by elitists and the violence against the good, white people of the nation they’ve allowed to become normalized. Put simply, Trump is too unfocused and honestly just too plain fucking stupid to have written that kind of speech. It had to come from somewhere else.
So, yeah, Trump lied about writing his own speech. Surprise. While in the great scheme of things this hardly seems like a battle worth picking given that there’s so much else to hang around Trump’s scrotum-like neck at this point, when you take a step back you realize just how much it actually matters. Trump posted a picture that was so obviously a fake, a bullshit PR stunt, in which he said he was writing his own inaugural address. And he was lying. He was lying to America’s face and a) didn’t give a single fuck that he was insulting our intelligence, and b) figured we wouldn’t notice or wouldn’t care anyway. This is important because Trump is a compulsive, serial liar. He lies about things big and small, important and pointless, because he’s constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. We’ve seen so many examples of this for so long now that we’re in serious danger of just coming to accept it. But we damn well shouldn’t. We shouldn’t accept even a tiny lie from him, certainly not anymore.
Think about the kinds of lies he’s told. He never met Putin (he did). He never said global warming was a Chinese hoax (he did). He was always against the U.S. war in Iraq (he wasn’t) . There were “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the attack on the World Trade Center (there weren’t). He never mocked the disability of a reporter who corrected him on that (he did). He saw a video of U.S. money being offloaded to Iran (he didn’t because it didn’t exist). Millions of immigrants voted illegally for Hillary Clinton (they didn’t). President Obama founded ISIS (Jesus Christ, of course he didn’t.) According to Politifact, a whopping 70% of the claims Trump made on the campaign trail were flat-out false or mostly false. He knows the power of the old adage that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth — and the truth is what he says it is at any given moment, even if the new truth contradicts some old truth he once claimed as 100% legit. I mean, just today he told the CIA that his feud with the U.S.’s intelligence agencies was nothing more than a lie made up by the “dishonest” media — when it absolutely wasn’t and you can check Trump’s own words to see that.
But really it’s the way Trump lies, the kind of stunning gaslighting he does at will, the sheer audacity of his willingness to simply disregard the obvious, easily provable truth that’s right there in front of everyone’s eyes, expecting everyone to not notice he’s blatantly lying his ass off. If you look at the bottom of this piece, you’ll see a series of “related articles” and it’s possible that one of them will be a piece from May of this year involving a story that’s so shockingly unbelievable that it’s still difficult to process. This was the story: In the early 90s, Trump used to pose as his own PR guy and talk on the phone to journalists about how “Donald Trump” was dating all the hottest women. He did this assuming they wouldn’t know that they were, in fact, talking to Donald Trump, rather than “John Miller,” the name Trump gave his fake PR guy. The Washington Post published actual recordings of the calls and it’s so obviously Trump on the phone with these reporters that it’s tough for a sane person to imagine Trump thinking he could get away with it.
But here’s the best part: When he was confronted about the revelation on NBC’s Today Show, do you think he copped to it, seconds after all of America heard his unmistakable voice on tape? Of course not. “It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.” That’s the answer he gave to Savannah Guthrie. He lied. He lied when the truth was undeniable, or would have been to, again, someone who wasn’t completely insane. It would have been like Trump pointing to the video of himself talking to Billy Bush about grabbing pussies and saying, “That’s not me, what are you talking about?” Come to think of it, it’s surprising he didn’t do that, so sure is he that he can convince anyone that the nonsense reality he concocts out of thin air again and again is the truth. And, again, we can’t fucking tolerate this. Not anymore. We can’t let him continue to even try to get away with this, because the very least we should expect from our president is that he’s capable of being even somewhat honest. That he knows what the truth is. That he has the ability to be ashamed when he’s not truthful.
Because if we don’t have that, what we have is a sociopath and a narcissist. And that should be utterly terrifying.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.