Heather Wilhelm has the same problem I do: understanding how people can tolerate Donald Trump’s shameless mendacity and still support him.
[In a recent New York Times Trump profile], â€œa kind of unofficial historian at Mar-a-Lago,â€ recalls how Trump, among other various fibs and exaggerations, â€œliked to tell guests that the nursery rhyme-themed tilesâ€ in the childrenâ€™s suite â€œwere made by a young Walt Disney.â€ Senecal, a seemingly normal person, would often correctly protest that this was not true. Trump, in return, would simply laugh and offer a simple reply: â€œWho cares?â€
Who cares, indeed? A significant swath of voters apparently doesnâ€™t. As the 2016 presidential race has unfolded, weâ€™ve seen lies flying around like stray car parts at a low-budget demolition derby â€” with Donald Trump as the fast-and-loose king of blatant untruths, and people so inured to it all that they donâ€™t even bother to flinch or duck.
In just the past few weeks, Trump has told so many lies itâ€™s hard to know which ones to cite. He famously lied about serving Trump steaks at a press conference on national television â€” they were â€œBush Brothersâ€ steaks, hilariously, from a butcher in West Palm Beach. On March 7 and 11, Trump claimed he was â€œnot taking moneyâ€ for his â€œself-fundedâ€ campaign, which might come as a surprise to the individuals from across the country who have donated a reported $7.5 million to his campaign. …
Trump supporters tend to get irritated when confronted with things like the blatantly fake Trump steaks served up in front of a national audience: â€œWho cares?â€ â€” unsurprisingly â€” is a common reply. This is somewhat puzzling, given that many Trump fans claim to like him because he â€œtells it like it is.â€ Itâ€™s also puzzling because if you know anything about life, you likely know this: When someone consistently lies about little, inconsequential things, they tend to lie about big, consequential things too. [Emphasis added]
And so it is that we have Donald Trump telling his Iowa supporters, â€œI promise you, I will pay for the legal feesâ€ if someone decides to â€œknock the crapâ€ out of a protester. More recently, on Meet the Press, Trump told Chuck Todd he had â€œinstructed my people to look intoâ€ paying legal fees for a man who, apparently taking Trumpâ€™s advice, sucker-punched a protester at a rally in North Carolina, then told the press heâ€™d be happy to kill someone for Donald Trump. But wait! Whatâ€™s that? Why, itâ€™s Donald Trump on Good Morning America, claiming he â€œnever saidâ€ he was going to pay legal fees, even though the video of Donald Trump saying just that is captured all over the Internet and easily accessible with a few effortless clicks.
Then thereâ€™s the Donald Trump who, after months and months of claiming that Mexico would pay for his wall, recently told Sean Hannity, â€œPolitically, thatâ€™s not feasible.â€ Oh, and thereâ€™s the Donald Trump who linked to a hoax video that claimed one of his protesters had ties to ISIS: â€œAll I know,â€ he said when asked about the inaccuracy, â€œis whatâ€™s on the Internet.â€ Unfortunately, the various dancing cats and escaped Area 51 aliens and Nigerian princes who reside on the Internet were unavailable to comment for this story.
Politicians have lied for centuries, of course; itâ€™s practically part of the job description. In this, Trump is certainly not alone. … [But, t]raditionally, politicians have at least tried to hide their dishonesty, due to the assumption that voters would care.
They tell me that they want a Revolution, but my reply is: If you want to end the Republic and turn power over to an Emperor, at least take the trouble to make sure he’s an Octavian, and not a Caligula.