Donald Trump still has nothing to say about his deadly failed military operation in Niger, and his subsequent attempted coverup. Instead he woke up this morning and, for the second time this week, quoted a poll which supposedly showed that 46% of Americans believe cable news is reporting negative “fake news” about him in order to make him look bad. The trouble: the poll itself is fake to begin with. The even bigger trouble: Trump’s unhinged approach to the topic is the latest sign that he’s rapidly losing what little might have been left of his mental competence.
Trump tweeted “It is finally sinking through. 46% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS ORGS FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME. FAKE NEWS, even worse! Lost cred.” This came shortly after a Fox News morning host referenced the poll, making clear that Trump was once again wasting his time watching cable news instead of doing his job. Additionally, “sinking through” isn’t a real phrase. Trump seemed to have combined “sinking in” and “getting through” into a new imaginary phrase, as his relationship with the English language continues to deteriorate. The all-caps was also indicative of his unraveling mindset.
But the real problem here is that the poll isn’t real to begin with. After Trump quoted the poll in question, CNN offered up a detailed explanation as to why it was nothing more than an online poll, which can generally be manipulated by repeat voting, targeted voting, and other amateur tactics (link). So this was essentially a fake poll about fake news. Trump’s original reference to the poll may have been even more disconcerting.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump posted another tweet about the same poll: “46% of Americans think the Media is inventing stories about Trump & his Administration. Fox News. It is actually much worse than this!” In this instance Trump’s tweet revealed that he appeared to believe the poll meant that 46% of political news is fake news, as he insisted that it was “much worse.” Then again, with this level of incoherence, Trump’s tweets are now open to interpretation as to what he might have been trying to say.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report