January 15, 2022

Rise of the counter-liars

 Sam Smith - Not getting enough attention is a form of political deceit that has become increasingly common, thanks in no small part to Donald Trump who uses it so commonly. This might be called counter-lying, i.e. saying one thing one day and the exact opposite on another. Unfortunately, the media tends to overlook this outrageous behavior, which is one reason pols are increasingly using it. Current counter-liars include Lindsay Graham, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell.

A striking exception was an article in Politico which in 2016 listed scores of Donald Trump's contradictory statements. It will wear you out if you try to read the whole thing, but it could be one of the most important documents for the 2024 election. As Politico introduced it, "In a world where candidates have lost elections over a single flip-flop, Trump turned the self-contradiction into an art form. To create the definitive archive of Trump’s long argument with himself, Politico mined an almost limitless seam of his radio and TV interviews, newspaper and magazine profiles, books written about him and books written by him, rambling campaign speeches and late-night tweets. Read them together and they reveal a person who may be amazingly good at gauging the moment, but whose principles, beyond simply winning, remain elusive—perhaps even to himself. Has anyone ever disagreed with Donald Trump more than Donald Trump?"

Here are just a few examples from Donald Trump’s Greatest Self-Contradictions

"If I ever ran for office, I'd do better as a Democrat than as a Republican-and that's not because I'd be more liberal, because I'm conservative." (Playboy, March 1990)   
"I'm a registered Republican. I'm a pretty conservative guy. I'm somewhat liberal on social issues, especially health care." (CNN, October 8, 1999) 
"You'd be shocked if I said that in many cases I probably identify more as a Democrat." (CNN, March 21, 2004)
"I've actually been an activist Democrat and Republican." (CNN, October 8, 1999)

"I'm totally pro-choice." (Fox News, October 31, 1999)
"I'm pro-life." (CPAC, February 10, 2011) 
"Look, I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject, but you still-I just believe in choice. … I am strongly for choice, and yet I hate the concept of abortion. … I am pro-choice in every respect … but I just hate it." (NBC News, October 24, 1999)
"I am very, very proud to say that I'm pro-life." (Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015) 

I'm speaking with myself, No. 1, because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things. … My primary consultant is myself.
"I do listen to people. I hire experts. I hire top, top people. And I do listen." (Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016)

"I couldn't be a one-man show …" (Trump: Surviving at the Top, 1990)

"Think of yourself as a one-man army." (Trump: Think Like a Billionaire, 2004)

"I surround myself with good people, and then I give myself the luxury of trusting them." (Trump: Surviving at the Top, 1990)
"My motto is 'Hire the best people, and don't trust them.'" (Trump: Think Big, 2007)
"Surround yourself with people you can trust." (Trump: How to Get Rich, 2004)
"People are too trusting. I'm a very untrusting guy." (Playboy, March 1990)

"Well, I read a lot … and over my life, I've read so much." (The Hugh Hewitt Show, February 25, 2015)
"I don't read much. Mostly I read contracts, but usually my lawyers do most of the work. There are too many pages." (Veja, February 2014)

"You've gotta be nice." (The New Yorker, May 19, 1997)
"I do believe in hate when it's appropriate." (Trump: Surviving at the Top, 1990)
"I think I am a nice person." (New York, June 16, 2015)

"I have learned that entertainment is a very simple business. You can be a horrible human being, you can be a truly terrible person, but if you get ratings, you are a king." (Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, 2011)
"It's fame itself that bends people out of shape. In fact, the more celebrities I meet, the more I realize that fame is a kind of drug, one that is way too powerful for most people to handle." (Trump: Surviving at the Top, 1990)
"I hate people that think they're hot stuff, and they're nothing." (Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2016)

George H.W. Bush is "a great man. He's a man I support." (Washington Post, April 21, 1988)

"Don't talk to me about Bush, I was never a defender or a fan!" (Twitter, April 12, 2013)

"I like John McCain." (Twitter, May 28, 2013)
"I'm not a fan of John McCain." (Facebook, July 18, 2015)

Barack Obama is "a strong guy who really knows what he wants." (Fox News, February 9, 2009)
"He's been a horrible president." (Fox News, April 14, 2011)
"Here's a man that not only got elected, I think he's doing a really good job." (CNN, April 15, 2009)
"Barack Obama has been the worst president ever." (Fox News, April 14, 2011)

"I see NATO as a good thing." (Washington Post, March 21, 2016)
"I think NATO is obsolete." (ABC News, March 27, 2016)

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