Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump Twitter Fail of the Day: #FakeQuotes

So it wouldn't be the first time.

Yet once again the reading disability is going to be the banana peel on which he slides toward his doom. And his own personal fake news suppliers at Breitbart, perhaps, or Ms. Hicks and her pile of clippings ready for him to circle phrases he likes with his Sharpie [Update: It was Fox News Twitter feed, see Comments.].

If you read Lake's piece on "The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn", as Trump clearly didn't, you'll wonder why the servants allowed him to call attention to it. A couple of points:

1. That Lake calls Trump a liar, with some detailed exemplification—
If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned because he lied about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the vice president....
That sounds about as credible as when the president told CIA employees that the media had invented the story about his enmity toward the spy agency, not even two weeks after he had taken to Twitter to compare the CIA to Nazis. It's about as credible as President Donald Trump's insistence that it didn't rain during his inauguration. Or that millions of people had voted illegally in the election he just won.
The point here is that for a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it's strange that Flynn's "lie" to Pence would get him fired. It doesn't add up.
2. That he calls Trump a coward, in so many words, and predicts that his cowardice will bring him down—
A better explanation here is that Flynn was just thrown under the bus.... In the end, it was Trump's decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition. Nunes told me Monday night that this will not end well. "First it's Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus," he said. Put another way, Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.
3. That the quote Trump uses is fake.

Lake never uses any of the words Trump's tweet puts in quotation marks. He doesn't refer to anything quite like "interfering in our politics". He does lay a lot of stress on how abnormal it is that intelligence professionals should be giving the press access to personal information gathered through surveillance, and he clearly doesn't like it—
Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do. 
But he clearly holds Trump and his particular abnormality responsible for it. All these remarks are tagged "normally", or "in the past", with reference to a world where you could expect that the president would be more or less telling the truth most of the time. That's not the world we're in now.

But Lake did not say that "The NSA & FBI...should not interfere in our politics..." And that leads to the oddest conclusion: That Trump either literally doesn't know what quotation marks and ellipsis dots mean, or that he is fabricating quotes. Or both!

Or there's some saboteur among the people who interact with him when he's still in his bathrobe or non-bathrobe at the petit lever who is trying to get him in trouble.

Not that Lake's piece has a lot of value in its own right, as Steve M points out. It's a piece of Bourbon harrumphing. But it's pretty funny that our orange Napoleon thinks he wants us to read it.

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