One of Donald Trump’s most defining traits is that he lies every time he opens his mouth. He lies so consistently that if he claimed the sun came up this morning, you’d have to go outside and check for yourself before believing him. Another defining trait is that Trump gets obsessively hung up on certain patterns of behavior, and continues with them even after it’s become clear that they’re not working for him. Trump’s latest weird obsession ropes in both these traits.
Donald Trump’s new thing is to spend all day, every day lying about numbers. Yes, Trump has always lied about numbers here and there, whether it be the number of people who attended his inauguration, or the number of special elections he’s won and lost. But these past few days, it’s been all about lying about numbers – and this may give something away about how Trump is operating behind the scenes.
Over the weekend, Trump twice falsely claimed that the stock market reached an all time high on Friday, even though that did not happen. Sure, the NASDAQ and S&P 500 did reach highs. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is widely considered shorthand for the “stock market” in investment circles, is actually down eight hundred points from where it was in January. Trump also ludicrously claimed that his approval rating is now at 52%, a number that isn’t within a mile of where he stands in any poll. Trump also made the utterly bizarre claim over the weekend that he’s now the odds-on favorite to be reelected in 2020, because an online betting site assigned him 3-2 odds of reelection. He spent decades running casinos, so you’d think he would know that “3-2 odds” means he’s being given a 40% chance.
So why has Donald Trump become so obsessed this past week with quoting fake numbers every other time he opens his mouth? He has to be getting this from somewhere – and it’s not all coming from Fox News, because even they’re not pretending he has a 52% approval rating. Trump’s only other source would be the people around him. Are they now feeding him a bunch of fake positive numbers, in an effort to cheer him up as his friends get arrested and convicted? If so, then Trump may be in an even more sullen place that we thought.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report