An activist friend recently wrote, “Does anyone else see the irony? Right wingers defending Trump’s having to have the name of the USS John McCain covered because he’s so triggered by it, as they tell black people and their allies to stop being snowflakes about Confederate flags and monuments?”
No, I hadn’t seen the irony, and I simultaneously felt as though I should have seen it right away. But then, that’s the whole problem with this fractaled tapestry so rich in ironies called the Trump administration. There are just too many lies and ironies for us to keep up with. Donald Trump, the soon-to-be 73 year old man, positively runs me ragged with his endless stream of lies, hypocritical pronouncements and outrages. The lies alone are too much for us. We are being buried in Donald Trump’s lies, and it is an ironic byproduct of those lies that, if we do not call them out them right away, Trump will co-opt us as supporters of those lies.
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin put it to Anderson Cooper this way: “It’s an interesting question of just what our journalistic obligation is. If he [Trump] tells 35 lies and you correct 18, you still have a lot of lies floating out there in the world.” So forget about parsing the lies Trump tells us into hypocrisies, our work is cut out by simply cataloging and refuting what lies we can handle. It’s the embarrassment of riches of lies that have us overwhelmed. It may be up to history to track the hypocrisies and ironies.
In her commencement address to Harvard, Angela Merkel observed that much damage is done when lies are presented as truth and truths are presented as lies. There can be little doubt that Dr Merkel was thinking of Donald Trump when she said this.
During his seventeen minute press gaggle on Thursday morning, for instance, Trump referred to a “business dispute” he had with Robert Mueller. No, it wasn’t a boardroom battle of two titans hurling thunderbolts at each other in some megalithic takeover bid. In 2011, Mueller resigned his family’s membership with Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, saying in the letter, “We live in the District and are unable to make full use of the club,” and he wanted to know if he’d be entitled to a partial refund of the membership fee.
Trump’s organization sent Mueller a letter saying Mueller would be placed on a waitlist and be refunded on a “first resigned/first refunded basis.” Even Steve Bannon told Trump some time ago to ignore that, because it did not constitute a conflict of interest, and to claim otherwise or make it seem like a huge business dispute would be “ridiculous and petty” according to the Mueller report. But then, “ridiculous and petty” is exactly what Donald Trump does several times a day, every day. It’s getting very hard to keep up with it all.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.