Fight distractions. Search for the truth.
Sunday, November 27: Trump lied about non-existent voter fraud that supposedly cost him millions of votes. CNN responded with facts proving him a liar. Trump doubled-down, purportedly retweeting a 16-year-old kid who derided CNN’s senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny as a “bad reporter.”
(By the way, Trump had edited the kid’s original tweet. Rather than a verbatim “retweet” — as Trump presented it — the President-elect had added “Sad reporter.” But the kid’s later clarification proves that he remains a true Trump believer nonetheless: “Dishonest @CNN is blaming me for calling @jeffzeleny a “bad reporter”. Donald Trump added that to the end of the tweet, not me. Thank you.”)
Tuesday, November 29 (6:00 am): Trump tweeted that flag burners should spend a year in jail and/or lose their citizenship. Settled U.S. Supreme Court precedent renders his frivolous position unconstitutional.
Late Saturday, November 26: Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, said that Trump had offered him the Secretary of Education position. Falwell turned him down because Trump wanted a four-to-six year commitment. Falwell said he couldn’t afford to work at a Cabinet level job (approximate annual salary $200,000) for more than two years.
As Trump tweeted about flag-burning on Tuesday morning, a front page story in the Wall Street Journal outlined financial conflicts-of-interest relating to Trump’s son-in-law (and transition team key member), Jared Kushner. The conflicts problems plaguing Trump and his immediate family grow daily. He’s counting on Americans to become indifferent to them. Trump apologists, such as Rudy Giuliani, are suggesting that his widespread business interests mean that the normal rules — divestiture and a blind trust — ought not apply.
LIES WORK; BIG LIES WORK BEST
But here’s the thing: far too many people get their news from Twitter and other unreliable social media sources. Much of that so-called news is fake — like Trump’s editing of a supposed verbatim retweet. Donald Trump has now become the nation’s most powerful purveyor of misinformation.
Even worse, Trump knows that once a falsehood begins to circulate — however outrageous it may be and however often actual facts rebut it conclusively — many people will believe it forever. He learned that lesson with his birther claims. According to NBC poll during the summer of 2016, 41 percent of registered Republican believe that President Obama was not born in the United States. Another 31 percent have some doubts about his citizenship.
Big lies are effective; President-elect Trump knows it. When it comes to facts that should inform citizens in a democracy, Trump is the consummate flag-burner.