As each exhaustive week wheezes to an end, It’s always tough to single out the unfitpresident’s most pitiable, contemptible, or laughable act. How can we be expected to cherry pick one gem from each week’s cornucopia?
I’m tempted today to highlight Trump’s claim that the latest mendacious kill-Obamacare crusade failed in the Senate because “you can’t do it when somebody is in the hospital” — a blatant lie, given the fact that he never had the votes to begin with, and not a single senator is in the hospital. He uttered that lie six times. And the hilarity was heightened by the senior White House aide who explained the lie by saying that Trump was “just, you know, doing his thing.”
But that episode takes a back seat to the best of them all: Trump’s decision to delete the tweets where he lavished praise on Luther Strange, his chosen candidate in the Alabama Senate primary. Seeking to bond anew with the white-grievance and religious-right Trumpkins who flocked to theocratic loon Roy Moore, Trump proceeded to purge his history. And so, after a series of hastened erasures, it is now official that the Leader never tweeted this:
“Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Alabama. Vote for Senator Luther Strange, tough on crime & border – will never let you down!”
“Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job-vote today for “Big Luther”
“ALABAMA, get out and vote for Luther Strange-he has proven to me that he will never let you down!#MAGA”
Perhaps he’s unaware that what’s posted online lives forever; perhaps he doesn’t care. He just figures, if you make the past disappear, if you wash it clean, then only today’s pronunciamentos count. Trump did not support Luther Strange. Trump never supported Luther Strange. Trump never opposed Roy Moore. Therefore, Trump has always been, is, and always will be, a Winner.
Does any of this sound eerily familiar? Does this perhaps bring to mind Chapter Four of Orwell’s “1984”? Let’s pick up the action as Winston Smith labors to erase the Party’s inconvenient truths:
He crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames … This process of continued alteration was applied to every kind of literature and documentation that might conceivably hold any political or ideologiocal significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as necessary.
Why did the Party insist on erasing the past to fit the present? Because, as Winston realized, the Party wanted to exploit people’s benumbed amnesia so that they’d come to accept whatever the Party said was true in the present moment:
“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it…The very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable?”
In interviews last week, Trump said that Luther Strange was the best candidate because Roy Moore would have a tough time winning the Alabama general election (Moore is a gay-hating extremist who says that “God’s law” supersedes man’s; he was twice booted off the state Supreme Court for refusing to obey man’s law). But presto, the past has been changed! Trump never praised Strange, and he’s now tweeting that Moore is “a really great guy … he will help to #MAGA”!
See how it works?