I keep coming back to this, but it really is astonishing how off-the-mark I was in my pre-inauguration predictions of what we could expect from a Donald Trump presidency. I said it would be a deluge, a daily gangbang of incompetence, scandal, dishonesty, corruption and general surreality. At the time, I questioned whether I was being alarmist or hyperbolic. Now, of course, we know: I was wrong, because the truth is it’s impossible to be alarmist or hyperbolic about what we’re experiencing day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute from this administration — all we’ve endured in just the three full weeks that Trump has been president. It’s been so relentless and unforgiving that with just those three weeks of material to draw from, we’re already seeing surprisingly charitable posts with titles like “The 50 Craziest Things Donald Trump Has Done as President.”
Case in point, or at the very least another one to throw on the pile: This morning, the Trump administration, seemingly concerned that America might be worried there was at least one honest and competent person on this president’s staff, trotted out Stephen Miller to make the rounds on the Sunday talk shows. Miller is Trump’s “senior policy advisor,” a guy who looks and sounds like what would happen if Doug Niedermeyer took a handful of Percocets, and his job was of course to defend his boss’s draconian Muslim country immigration ban and general batshit lunacy over the past few weeks. Given that Miller and human-cockroach hybrid Steve Bannon were the ones who drafted the Muslim ban, Miller’s smug indignation in response to its current state of judicial stasis was predictable.
On Fox News Sunday, Miller practically threw a 12-inch dildo meant to represent Trump’s dick onto the table, saying, “The president’s powers here are beyond question.” He basically slammed a California 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week, which upheld a restraining order on Trump’s ban on refugees and migration from seven largely Muslim countries, as judicial overreach. “One unelected judge in Seattle cannot make laws for the entire country,” he said to John Dickerson on CBS. It should go without saying that the judge who ruled against Trump isn’t making laws. His job, along with the rest of the judicial branch, is to interpret whether laws — or in this case, executive orders — are, you know, legal, and if not, step in. There’s nothing the least bit unusual here, other than the point blank demonization and threats against the judge and the judiciary in general by our Twitter troll president.
Incidentally, Miller summed up his argument to Dickerson with this ominous little gem of a warning, an expansion of what he said on Fox: “The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial, and will not be questioned.” Trump’s power will not be questioned. Let an official statement like that sink in for a moment.
But where things really got good (read: depressing to the point of making suicide seem like a viable option rather than suffer through one more second of this shit) was when the Sunday shows inevitably brought up Trump’s ongoing infatuation with his popular vote loss to Hillary Clinton. In a private meeting with senators on Thursday, Trump again began the conversation by continuing to relitigate the election, this time saying that his loss in New Hampshire occurred because thousands were supposedly bused in from Massachusetts to vote against him. This is, of course, total, utter, unequivocal horseshit. There’s no evidence for it because it never happened. Period. Done. It’s the unhinged fever dream of a fucking mental patient and nothing more.
But to the “alternative facts” presidency, there’s no lie too blatant, shameless or easily contradicted to stand in front of a TV camera and disseminate far and wide. And that’s exactly what Miller did. As the Washington Post Fact Checker notes, Miller used the word “fact” three separate times to bolster an argument that was pure fantasy. “I have actually, having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire, I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. “It’s very real. It’s very serious. This morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence.” Uh-huh. All that evidence you have. Sure thing, you dick.
“But I can tell you this, voter fraud is a serious problem in this country. You have millions of people who are registered in two states or who are dead who are registered to vote,” he continued. “And you have 14 percent of noncitizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote, which is an astonishing statistic.” Astonishing indeed. That’s because it’s well-debunked bullshit. A lie that Miller knows full well is a lie. And that’s the point, really, because as I’ve said before, while Trump is very likely legitimately pathological, a narcissist whose sociopathy is so absolute that he actually believes the reality-free crap that tumbles continuously out of that puckered sphincter in the middle of his bloated orange face, his advisors — people like Miller, Bannon and, of course, Kellyanne Conway — know exactly what they’re doing. They’re lying because it’s beneficial to them and to the administration.
There’s more than the predictable quick-fix reason for this, by the way. Sure, in the short term lying covers their boss’s prodigious ass and allows them to avoid consequences for their actions. If you simply don’t accept things like fact and reality, you can dodge almost any pesky question from the press. But beyond that there’s a larger method to this madness. Granted, it’s difficult to wander into this territory without sounding slightly conspiratorial, but honestly would anything from this bunch of obvious grifters and nefarious scumbags be all that outlandish? The goal seems to be to render the truth meaningless on such a large scale — to get the press and everyone else used to being lied to to their faces — that we simply give up and give in out of sheer frustration and exhaustion.
What’s more, specifically when it comes to the reason for Trump’s continued Commander Queegian obsession with nonexistent voter fraud, the aim would seem to eventually be — as some have already noted — to make these fact-free accusations become culturally accepted “fact” then use the whole thing as an impetus for cracking down on voting rights. The only way the GOP can continue to win elections is, quite frankly, by cheating: gerrymandering districts, excluding the the growing demographic whose politics threaten their continued existence, etc. And once Trump is done immolating the party from the inside, this will be even more true. But if Trump’s administration can find a way to keep the “undesirables” out of the voting booth, that represents a potential reprieve for both Dear Leader Trump and the rest of the Republicans.
Not surprisingly, because this is Trump we’re talking about, the whole thing is a scam. It’s a scam furthered by a lie. Because, really, that’s all the Trump presidency is.
Updated to add more information
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.