We are at the point in Donald Trump’s campaign when it’s difficult to decide whether to focus on his unconstitutional policy proposals or his blatant lies. I mean, this is just from yesterday:
Let’s focus today on Trump’s lies. Trump’s claims about “thousands and thousands of people” in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks have already been debunked by both The Post’s Glenn Kessler and PolitiFact’s Lauren Carroll, so we don’t need to belabor them here. So let’s focus on the lies not covered in the above tweet.
First, there’s this one from Trump’s own Twitter feed:
[W]ouldn’t you know it: It contains a wee racial error. It claims that most whites are killed by blacks, but in 2014, which is the latest full-year homicide data available from the FBI, 82 percent of whites were killed by other whites and only 15 percent were killed by blacks.
Trump’s tweeted graphic swaps the the numbers for the offender’s race — but only for white victims. For black victims, the numbers in the graphic are roughly correct. This makes it look like blacks kill everyone.
The New Republic’s Jeet Heer notes:
By wildly inflating the likelihood of a murderer of a white person to be black (an exaggeration of nearly sixfold), Trump is catering to the worst sort of racism. Perhaps the icing on the cake of this anti-black outburst is that the source of information cited in the tweet — the “Crime Statistics Bureau” of San Francisco — doesn’t seem to exist.
Now we’re at the point in this campaign when Trump’s defense for this — and those of his supporters — will be predictable. Trump was just RTing someone else’s lie, so it’s not really his fault. Trump’s MO on this ever since he’s become a candidate has been a simple five-step plan:
- Say/tweet/retweet outrageous thing;
- Dominate the next news cycle;
- Bully the media that focus on the outrageous statement;
- Backtrack/claim misinterpretation;
- Sustain polling advantage.
Buried in the lies that Trump has told over the past week, however, is a contradictory set of policy positions that he won’t back away from. In Trump’s interview with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board last week, the following exchange took place:
Mr. Gigot noted that “you said in the last debate you’re a 100% free trader but you just don’t like some of the deals that have been negotiated.”
Mr. Trump: “Correct.”
Mr. Gigot: “So is there an example of a deal, trade deal, that we’ve done in the past that you like, that you point to as a model?”
Mr. Trump: “Not many. Nafta was a disaster. Not many. We could have great deals.” He then detours into corporate inversions, made-in-Japan backhoes, currency devaluation, Chinese hotel furniture, the recent GOP debate and the [WSJ] editorial he disliked. For the record, Mr. Trump always knew China wasn’t a party to the Pacific pact.
Mr. Gigot tried again: “But you said you don’t like the big deals, so you like bilaterals. But is there an example of one that the U.S. has negotiated or signed that you like in recent history?”
Mr. Trump: “No.”
Mr. Gigot: “The Colombia deal, the Korea deal, the Australia deal?”
Mr. Trump: “No, I don’t like any of them. I think we’re bad negotiators.”
It’s pretty much impossible to be a “100% free-trader” and not support any trade liberalizing agreement.
The rest of the interview is depressing reading for any trade policy wonk. He proposes threatening a trade war with China to obtain unspecified concessions from Beijing, a policy that would likely be an economic and political disaster. In the interview, Trump demonstrates zero knowledge about the World Trade Organization specifically or international trade in general. All of this is, unfortunately, consistent with Trump’s Big Lie about the global economy.
So to sum up: Trump has lied so many times about so many things during the past week that it’s difficult to keep track of all of them. But it doesn’t matter whether one focuses on Trump’s attitudes about crime or American Muslims or trade policy. He lies about all of these issues. And he will continue to lie as long as it works for him.
That’s what liars do.