The New York Times piece published on Saturday looking into Donald Trump’s repulsive decision to endorse alleged pedophile and sexual predator Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate revealed another truly terrifying insight into the mind of the president.
According to the Times, Trump now believes the audio tape of him boasting about grabbing women “by the pussy” was faked to make him look bad:
Something deeper has been consuming Mr. Trump. He sees the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now-famous “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitalia, and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after. He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently. (In the hours after it was revealed in October 2016, Mr. Trump acknowledged that the voice was his, and he apologized.)
So Mr. Trump has been particularly open to the idea, pushed by Mr. Moore’s defenders, that the candidate is being wrongly accused, even as Mr. McConnell and a parade of other Republicans have said they believe the accusers. When a group of senators gathered with the president in the White House last week to discuss the tax overhaul, it took little to get Mr. Trump onto the topic of Mr. Moore — and he immediately offered up the same it-was-40-years-ago defense, according to officials at the meeting.
There is little point refuting Trump’s ludicrous claim — he admitted it after it was released and publicly apologized. However, it does give frightening insight into the workings of the president’s mind and should be held as yet another example of why he is manifestly unfit to hold office.
Trump now has irrefutable evidence that his supporters will believe anything he says. The onslaught of lies and misinformation Trump’s campaign and presidency has been responsible for has created an adjacent reality in the minds of many Americans that justifies anything the president says or does. When Trump lies and the media reports it, he accuses the media of promoting “Fake News”. When he is accused of behaving atrociously, he points the finger at someone else (usually Hillary Clinton) to evade taking responsibility. His supporters lap it up and his bubble provides enough safety from ever having to deal with reality.
Trump is applying this logic to everything he says or does, and is now attempting to rewrite history in the eyes of his supporters. With the #MeToo movement in full swing and public tolerance for sexual predators at an all time low, Trump clearly believes it is time for him to erase the most embarrassing part of his public life. And why not? When you can say anything, be anything, and deny everything, who wouldn’t dispel the notion that you are a repellant sexual predator? Trump’s supporters will believe the “Access Hollywood” tape was faked because, well, liberals and Hillary Clinton etc, etc.
This brilliant reality hack the president has discovered allows him to support fellow sexual predators like Roy Moore. Despite the mounting evidence that the Alabama Senate candidate is a pedophile and a violent sex attacker, Trump needs Moore in the Senate to further his own agenda, and given he can rewrite history and reality with the power of his own mind, why not make Moore innocent? When you make up the rules, you can create your own reality with little to no short term consequence.
Of course this stores up far more problems than it solves in the long term — a Moore victory would spell sure disaster for the Republicans, and denying the validity of the “Access Hollywood” tape further erodes his credibility as a the most powerful man in the world. But Trump does not think about the long term, he lives in the moment and reacts to the whims of his uncontrollable ego.
This cannot end well, but as long as his base enables him, it unfortunately won’t end any time soon. Americans are subject to the whims of a madman who not only lies without thought, but now appears to understand the power of those lies.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.