On the cusp of Thanksgiving, I know you’re busy. So I’ll just catch you up quickly on the latest antics of Mein Donald.
The other day, I referenced his Big Lie about “thousand and thousands” of Jersey City Muslims cheering the 9/11 attacks (never happened), and his sleight-of-hand demagoguery about setting up government databases to surveil either American Muslims or refugee Muslims (never clear which). Did I also mention his endorsement of waterboarding, and his indifference about whether it actually works? (“If it doesn’t work, they deserved it anyway.”) If not, there you have it.
Anyway, to keep us current, here’s a new trifecta.
In Virginia, on one of his golf courses, Trump has erected a flagpole, and at the base of that flagpole he has installed a Civil War plaque which reads: “Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!”
Turns out, not a single American soldier — great or otherwise, North or South — died on that spot. There were no death casualties, the river didn’t turn red, and it was never known as the River of Blood. That’s the unanimous verdict of the Virginia historians who specialize in that region.
When Trump was asked to explain himself, here’s how the conversation went: “Mr. Trump repeatedly said that ‘numerous historians’ had told him that the golf club site was known as the River of Blood. But he said he did not remember their names. Then he said the historians had spoken not to him but to ‘my people.’ But he refused to identify any underlings who might still possess the historians’ names.”
And when he was informed that the local historians had publicly denounced his plaque as a crock, that no bloodletting had happened, Trump retorted (I love this one): “How would they know that? Were they there?”
You might be tempted to dismiss Trump’s plaque as merely a Little Lie — sort of like when Sarah Palin insisted a few years ago that Paul Revere rode to warn the British — but the bad thing about Little Lies is that, all too often, they presage Big Lies. And we got one of those on Sunday.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that 81 percent of white homicide victims are killed by blacks. In this time of racial tension, that’s quite an incendiary stat — just the kind of thing that could gin up white paranoia. In his tweet, the stat was attributed to something called the Crime Statistics Bureau.
Turns out, natch, that Trump was lying again. Turns out that the Crime Statistics Bureau doesn’t exist. Turns out that the image in his tweet originated in a neo-Nazi Twitter stream over in Britain. Turns out that, according to actual verifiable FBI stats, only 15 percent of whites are killed by blacks. In other words, whites are overwhelmingly killed by other whites, just as blacks are overwhelmingly killed by other blacks, and it’s been that way for decades.
Earlier this week, Trump was asked to explain himself. He said the black-on-white stat was just something he retweeted (this is what’s dangerous about social media; any demagogue with a phone can empower his thumbs). Trump said he got the information “from somebody that was supposedly an expert and it was also a radio show … and other places.” He said, “All it was is a retweet — it wasn’t from me …. Am I going to check every statistic?”
Nah. Because only losers check sources and statistics.
But hey, let’s head to the holiday on a high note. Mein Donald just gave an interview to GQ magazine, and he says that if he becomes president, “I wouldn’t be nuking anybody …. It is highly, highly, highly, highly unlikely that I would ever be using them.”
Something to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving!