Incoherence, Lies, Getting Even, and an Apology

Back to items about conservative politics from the last few days.

  • Trump’s incoherent press conference speech, following his New York City conviction;
  • His lie about never saying “Lock her up” and Fox News’ casuistic excuse;
  • The priority of Republicans to get even;
  • The discreditation of Dinesh D’Sousa’s “2000 Mules,” to the point of its publisher apologizing;
  • And items about abortions, lies about Democrats as Confederates, the embarrassment of the Texas Republican Party, complacency and the just-world fallacy, MTG’s nutcase rant against Dr. Fauci, and Republicans at war with the rule of law.

The New Republic, 31 May 2024: Trump Loses It Like Never Before in Wildly Incoherent Press Conference, subtitled “It was nearly impossible to make out what Trump was saying in this press conference about his guilty verdict.”

We actually saw part of this Friday morning; the Today Show cut to it as “breaking news.” As Trump rambled on and on, I wondered how long the network would keep broadcasting it before they cut away. Eventually they did, with the news anchors talking about the Trump and his conviction while showing the speech in a corner of the screen. Who are the people who admire this incoherent man?

At a press conference Friday, Donald Trump ranted and raved about his displeasure at being found guilty of 34 felony charges in his hush-money trial.

Standing in front of a line of flags at Trump Tower in New York, Trump took aim at Michael Cohen, Judge Juan Merchan, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Democrats, and just about anyone who he thinks wronged him, violating his gag order in the process. But his biggest target might have been the English language.

At times, his words were hard to follow, as the first convicted felon former president went off on tangents with sentences with no clear end.

In one bizarre sentence, he demonstrated a profound misunderstanding of the word “literally” by claiming witnesses “for our side” were “literally crucified by this man who looks like an angel, but he’s really a devil,” referring to Merchan.

It was like he couldn’t sustain a single thought long enough to finish a full sentence. He kept changing subjects, ranting about all his usual complaints — he’s always the victim; everyone else is out to get him — and demonstrating he doesn’t understand basic words. “Literally crucified?” Yes, I know, people use “literally” as an intensifier, and not, um, literally; but a public speaker should know better.

This is probably why he didn’t testify at his own trial. I’d love to get a loyal MAGA fan to listen to this speech and tell us exactly what Trump was trying to say. Or is it possible that *all* the MAGA fans are as dimwitted as Trump apparently is?


Then there’s this.

The Atlantic, David A. Graham, 3 Jun 2024: Trump’s Most Audacious Lie Yet, subtitled “The former president is claiming he never said ‘Lock her up.'”

But of course he did. “‘Lock her up’ is right,” he said in October 2016. “For what she did, they should lock her up,” he said at a rally I attended in Greensboro, North Carolina, a few days later. He used other phrasings at other times. In June 2016, for example, he said, “Hillary Clinton has to go to jail. She has to go to jail,” helpfully adding for the historical record: “I said that.” As he noted in the interview, he eased off the demands once he’d won. But in 2020, running for reelection, he went back to playing the hits. “You should lock her up, I’ll tell you,” he said at an Ohio rally.


Joe.My.God (Fox News), 2 Jun 2024: Trump Denies He Ever Said “Lock Her Up” About Hillary

“The world’s most famous gaslighter.”


So this is precious.

Joe.My.God (Fox News), 3 Jun 2024: Fox Host: People Who Say That Trump Did Say “Lock Her Up” Have “Single-Cell Amoeba-Level Intelligence”

Orwellian casuistry. He *did* say it, lots of times.

“What did he say in 2016 is not the point. He didn’t lock her up. You are trying to lock him up.” – Fox host Will Cain.


More generally, about the crazies.

Salon, Heather Digby Parton, 3 Jun 2024: Republicans in Congress find ways to make Americans pay for Trump’s crimes, subtitled “The whole GOP establishment has lined up behind Trump to degrade the jury system and the rule of law”

Trump is all about getting even — primitive tribal morality.

For the record, he said “lock her up” many, many times at his rallies and never once tried to stop his crowds from chanting it.

The Guardian reported that the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington did an exhaustive study of his threats to exact revenge on his political opponents and perceived enemies in law enforcement:

The presumptive Republican nominee has threatened to use the federal government to go after Biden during a second Trump administration 25 times since the start of 2023, the study found. These threats include FBI raids, investigations, indictments and even jail time. He has also threatened or suggested that the FBI and justice department should take action against senators, judges, members of Biden’s family and even non-governmental organisations.

Why would anyone expect anything different from the man who posts, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!


Remember Dinesh?

Washington Post, Philip Bump, 3 Jun 2024: Two years later, obvious misinformation is finally taken down, subtitled “‘2000 Mules’ is a case study in how appealing, lucrative falsehoods endure.”


Joe.My.God (Associated Press), 31 May 2024: Distributor Yanks Dinesh D’Souza’s “Election Fraud” Movie, Apologizes And Settles Defamation Lawsuit

From this link, NPR says:

Though “2,000 Mules” has been widely debunked by law enforcement officials and the media, including NPR, the film and book developed a widespread following among supporters of the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

And Joe notes:

Salem Media owns Hot Air, Twitchy, Red State, Human Events, and Townhall. Its radio station is host to countless prominent right wing nutbags. You may remember that the book version of “2000 Mules” was abruptly recalled a couple of years ago to excise sections that were likely defamatory. Trump has cited “2000 Mules” many times.

Of course he has.


Let’s try to clear out similar items more quickly.

  • Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 3 Jun 2024: Texas professors sue to fail students who seek abortions, subtitled “Men are using abortion bans to control and abuse women in their lives for ‘consensual sexual intercourse'” (More tribal morality: women who have sex for any reason other than procreation must be punished. (But not men.))
  • Joe.My.God (Mark Levin on Fox): Fox News Host: Democrats Are The “New Confederacy” (No: the party positions switched on issues like these, around 1960; it’s not the “same” Democrat party (he means “Democratic”). Surely he knows this; he’s lying.)
  • Washington Post, Karen Tumulty, 3 Jun 2024: Opinion | The Texas Republican Party has gone off the deep end, subtitled “Even before the release of an outrageous new platform, the party had become an embarrassment to itself.”

    Just a few of the platform’s planks: that the Bible should be taught in public schools, with chaplains on hand “to counsel and give guidance from a traditional biblical perspective based on Judeo-Christian principles.” That noncitizens who are legal residents of this country should be deported if they are arrested for participating in a protest that turns violent. That name changes to military bases should be reversed to “publicly honor the southern heroes.” That doctors who perform abortions should be charged with homicide. That the United States should withdraw from the United Nations and that the international organization should be removed from U.S. soil.

    Then there is this audaciously undemocratic provision: To be elected to state office, a candidate must win not only a majority of votes, but also more than half of Texas’s 254 counties. Let me translate what that means. Democrats in Texas are concentrated in a few urban areas, while Republicans are spread across the map. This system would effectively mean Democrats — who, as it is, haven’t won a statewide office since 1994 — would be shut out forever.

  • Washington Post, Max Boot, 3 Jun 2024: Opinion | American complacency is Trump’s secret weapon, subtitled “Popular culture instills the idea that good ultimately triumphs over evil. Real life begs to differ.” (Indeed, life is not ‘fair’; this is the just-world fallacy.)
  • Joe.My.God (The Hill), 3 Jun 2024: MTG Refuses To Address Dr. Fauci As “Doctor” During Hearing: He Doesn’t Deserve Title And “Belongs In Jail”. (Nutcase, maroon, denialist of reality. She has no idea what she’s talking about.)
  • LGBTQNation, John Gallegher, 3 Jun 2024: The Republican party is now at war with the rule of law in America, subtitled “Because of Trump’s conviction, the entire GOP is determined to destroy the law and pave the way for retribution.” (“Republicans no longer believe in the institutions of government. They believe only in power.”)

Already noted, but this next item about “2000 Mules” casts the story as an “apology,” which surely is extremely rare among conservatives, who are typically absolutely certain about what they believe, and like Trump, *never* admit to being wrong, changing their minds, or apologizing.

Boing Boing, Rob Beschizza, 2 Jun 2024: Publisher of right-wing 2000 Mules film apologizes for its lies

The conspiracy flick 2,000 Mules has already been widely debunked as a fraud. But its claims that Democrats stole the 2020 election through vote-stuffing has led to worse consequences for its creators. Salem Media Group, the “Christian” group behind it, has apologized to a voter it falsely claimed had illegally voted and agreed to end distribution of the film and accompanying literature.

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