Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether Donald Trump is stupid or if he’s exploiting the naivete of his fanboys. I suppose we have to evaluate each blurt and each tweet on its own, whether he’s being a moron or whether he’s feeding viral talking points to his Red Hat army.
Today, as Trump wandered around the north lawn of the White House fielding questions from the “fake news,” there were examples of both.
During the dummy segments of the show, Trump said he flew from “China” to Singapore when, in fact, he flew from Canada to Singapore. He also confused Syria and Ukraine, telling Steve Doocy and others that Obama failed to cross his “red line” in Ukraine (it was Syria with the red line). He also said for the third time in two days that “thousands” of “parents” or “fathers and mothers” of Korean War veterans begged him to bring back the remains of their “sons.” Yep, “thousands” of 101-year-olds were apparently lobbying the president about his North Korea talks.
Likewise, there were several examples of Trump being stupid-like-a-fox — blurting things he had to have known were untrue, yet he intentionally said them anyway because he’s trying to inject disinformation into the bloodstream of the conservative entertainment complex. First, Trump told reporters yet again that a “Democrat law” is the reason for thousands of children ripped from their parents and locked up in internment camps by federal immigration officials. This, of course, is untrue.
REPORTER: Why did Sessions announce the family-separation policy?
TRUMP: He’s following the law.
REPORTER: It’s not a law!
TRUMP: The Democrats gave us the laws. I want the laws to be beautiful.
There’s no “Democrat law.” Separating families is a Trump administration policy, but he wants his people, and perhaps some Hispanic supporters, to believe it’s the Democrats who are being so utterly cruel. His goal is to strong-arm the Democrats to help him fund his wall, using the repeal of the families policy as leverage. Without funding for the wall, Trump won’t roll back the policy.
The most ludicrous example of Trump’s deliberate disinformation campaign aimed at his gullible cult-followers was when he repeatedly said the inspector general’s report from the Justice Department “exonerated” him and proved there wasn’t any “collusion.” The president said at one point, “I did nothing wrong, there was no collusion, no obstruction, the IG Report yesterday went a long way to show that and I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.”
TRUMP: "I did nothing wrong, there was no collusion, no obstruction, the IG Report yesterday went a long way to show that and I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited." (The IG report wasn't about him at all!) pic.twitter.com/ukbG1OkLk5
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 15, 2018
The IG report had nothing to do with Russia or Trump. It was entirely about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Full stop. No gray area here. It’s not fake news. The IG report only mentioned Trump in the context of his opposing campaign for president. Indeed, the report explicitly states the Russia investigation “was not a part of this review.”
None of that matters to Trump who’s more interested in making sure his flying monkeys circulate his desired fake news that the IG report exonerated Trump in the Russia investigation. That’s the entire point. If his loyalists believe he’s been cleared, there’s no chance they’ll abandon him. Instead, they’ll spread the word that “the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited” by the DOJ’s review. That’s the whole point.
Now, it’s possible Trump doesn’t know. It’s possible he’s so addled, stubborn and misinformed that he doesn’t realize the point of the report. But for someone who’s entire life hangs in the balance, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t know the true intention of this report. Hell, Rod Rosenstein briefed him personally about the report’s major findings. He didn’t have to read a word — he was told using spoken words what the report determined.
This disinformation effort is pure Kremlin by way of Roger Stone. It’s both nefarious, shameless and hugely obvious. He’s lying and he doesn’t care who knows it. The people who don’t know it are the ones he’s targeting. No one else matters. We can therefore expect Trump to keep lying about the report, especially during his next campaign screechfest next week. This means we have to be especially diligent in spreading the truth. It’s all right here and, no, you’re not insane. The president is.