Well of course it’s about lying. It’s well-established now that Moral Trumpitude involves copious, lavish, brazen lying. What is less frequently noted by an exhausted, incredulous public is the array of related techniques Mr. Trump uses to put us off the scent of the truth. He lies, sure, but that’s like saying Ted Nugent writes music: it leaves out crucial details. In Nugent’s case, actual music; in Trump’s case, a rich palette of innuendo, distortion, and dissembling–much more than could ever be conveyed by the flat, simplistic term, “lying.”
So in the interests of science, i.e., abnormal psychology, why not grab an airsickness bag and take a look at a typical case where Trump’s special brand of word goulash will bring up, if not your breakfast, then at least serious questions about his creative use of language.
The following is an exact transcription, excerpted from an interview on June 22, 2017.
Fox News Blonde Barbie Look-alike: Big news today. You said you didn’t tape James Comey. Do you want to explain that? Why did you want him to believe you possibly did that?
Mr. Trump: Well, I didn’t tape him, um, you never know what’s out there, I mean when you see that the Obama administration and perhaps longer than that was doing all of this unmasking, and surveillance and you read all about it and I’ve been reading about it for the last couple of months, about the seriousness of the, and horrible situation with surveillance all over the place, and you’ve been hearing the word unmasking, a word you’ve probably never heard before, so you never know what’s out there, but I didn’t tape, and I don’t have any tapes and I didn’t tape, but when he found out that, um, I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed, I mean we’ll have to take a look at that. Because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events, and my story didn’t change, my story was always the straight story, my story was always the truth. But you’ll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But I did not tape.
At first blush, you might wonder: Did he overshoot on his meds? Or perhaps he’s just speaking in tongues, pandering to his base of hypocritical evangelicals? Beyond fun theorizing, however, lies a certainty: the heart of his ramblings is deceit and obfuscation. This is not a man intent on clarifying or explaining anything. So what’s up?
First, we must note the basic principle of Moral Trumpitude: nothing on earth is more important than Trump’s image and his need to be praised and petted. Lying and dissembling to protect that image go without saying. That said, it is easier to trace the thread of his jabbering to the terrible wound inflicted on his self-image by the intelligence community when they told him the truth about Russia’s pro-Trump interference in the 2016 election. He was and is much less concerned with the hacking/psychological warfare itself, and its potentially catastrophic effects on our nation’s electoral lifeblood, than he is with the fact that its existence might challenge the legitimacy of his presidency.
He is not discrediting James Comey and the intelligence community because of some error they made; he’s just shooting the messenger.
He’s not attempting to discredit intelligence agencies by straightforwardly calling them “fake news”, of course; he does it indirectly, suggesting that the very high level of certainty of the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI concerning the hacking is questionable and open to debate. He repeats this often, to make it “truer.”
Sleazier still are his vague suggestions that intelligence agencies are somehow sinister, and even un-American. He repeatedly says, “you never know what’s out there,” and “who knows?”
The reality of Moral Trumpitiude is this: we now have a president whose priorities are genuinely dangerous. To protect his phony image as a “leader,” he will insinuate anything, insult and demean anyone who threatens it. This agenda takes precedence over the security of the nation and the performance of his actual job. You know: governance.
Trump’s followers lap up this deceitful and adolescent behavior like drunks pounding Bloody Marys on Sunday morning. Hey, if you’ve already looked past Trump University, the Access Hollywood video, and dozens of juvenile, vindictive, stupid tweets, it’s easy to buy into a few more lies and distortions. His people, zombie-like, will continue to deny the true source of the election hack—possibly even until the damage to our electoral system is irrevocable.
Oh, for the days when the nonsense, the blind complicity, was only about Obama’s birth certificate.