This may come as a big shock to you, but… well, Donald Trump lies. I know, I know – you’d never expect it of a shady, blustery megalomaniac with a long history of feathering his own nest at the expense of those under him. And you may be thinking, well, he’s a politician now, or at least he’s trying to be; so of course he’s going to lie – it sort of goes with the territory. But his most recent power grab does not in any way explain the malice and nature of his lies. He goes far beyond the scope of “normal” political prevarication.
This is evident even in his lies about his opponent. It’s certainly not unusual for candidates to distort the facts (sometimes unintentionally) about their rivals. Chances are you’ll catch Hillary doing the same about him (although for what it’s worth, she’s been found to be more honest in this campaign than any of her opponents). But Trump has been recycling the malicious and soundly discredited accusations that Clinton abandoned Americans to die in Benghazi, and caused their deaths, and covered up something or other about the attack; and that she broke the law, compromised national security and/ or was extremely reckless in handling her emails. For good measure, he’s added some wild accusations of his own, such as that she was responsible for the rise of ISIS. He’s even revived the kooky conspiracy theory that she was involved in the “murder” of Vince Foster.
Yet, while these lies may be evil enough, and they certainly will have been harmful if they actually help him worm his way into the White House, they are not the Evil and Dangerous Lies of which we speak. Those are not lies devoted to defaming an individual, but to defaming entire segments of the population. They are lies designed to promote racism, xenophobia and general paranoia, and to enable him to better build the kind of white nationalist police state that his reckless and irresponsible rhetoric portends.
The Crime Deception
Before we look at the 5 Evil and Dangerous Lies, let’s consider something else that technically may not qualify as a lie, since it can’t be tied to an explicit comment, but is certainly a gross misrepresentation that paves the way for those lies. Trump unquestionably strives hard to create the impression that crime in the U.S. is blowing the roof off – and that only he, of course, can stop it. He doesn’t specify exactly how he’ll stop it; like every other problem he addresses, he’ll just solve it by doing it, and you’re supposed to trust that once he gets into office he’ll magically come up with a plan.
In fact, crime in the U.S. has been declining rather steadily for at least 20 years now. It’s currently at the lowest level it’s been since the 1960’s.
The same is true overall of crime worldwide. The world, contrary to what Trump would have you believe, is a safer place for humans to inhabit than it’s ever been in history. Even ISIS, the number one boogie man at the moment, seems to be dying out, and probably will have vanished in a few years even if a marmoset is elected president.
Yet Trump repeatedly singles out a handful of American cities in which violence has had a (probably temporary) swing upward in the past couple of years, and implies that these are symptomatic of the nation as a whole. Coincidentally, these are cities in which a large percentage of the population is not of European extraction.
Evil and Dangerous Lie # 1: Mexican Rapists
One of the few things Trump does have a plan for is dealing with the Brown Menace from south of the border: he’ll build a wall along the border. And how will he pay for it? No problem — he’ll just make the immigrants themselves pay for it. Oh, and he suggests that he’ll deport immigrants who are already here. After they pay for their wall, presumably. To tout the need for such a plan, he has declared:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
In fact, immigrants are less likely to commit crime than the rest of us, especially immigrants from Latin America.
And yes, that applies to undocumented immigrants (commonly called “illegals”) as well. Think about it: if you’d managed to enter a country, without proper documentation, for a chance to better yourself, would you really want to call attention to yourself by engaging in criminal activity?
Take note, white nationalists: the above chart suggests that American culture brings crime to immigrants, rather than vice versa.
Evil and Dangerous Lie # 2: Thousands cheered
Trump is even more suspicious of Muslims than he is of Mexicans.If he ever saw a Mexican Muslim, he’d really soil his pants. Speaking at a rally in Birmingham, he said:
I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.
Moreover, when questioned about this bizarre utterance the following day, he repeated the claim:
There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down.
If he indeed saw such a thing, he must have been on some particularly potent medication that day. Nobody else has reported seeing even one person cheer.
What people did see shortly thereafter, all over the world, were scenes like this:
Trump has proposed barring Muslims from entering the country, which is not only highly impractical but downright unconstitutional. He was reminded of this at the Democratic Convention by Muslim parents of an army officer who died heroically. In what may be the most memorable campaign smackdown since “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”, Khizr Khan, the father of the slain soldier, asked Trump, “have you even read the United States Constitution?” and whipped out his own copy, which he offered to lend.
It was a good question, since Trump has given every indication that not only has he not read the Constitution, he doesn’t even know how many articles it contains. (It isn’t often that a presidential candidate actually campaigns on pledges to violate the Constitution.) Nonetheless, he reacted exactly as you would expect him to react: he protested that Khan had “viciously attacked” him, and suggested, quite ignorantly, that Mrs. Khan didn’t speak because she “wasn’t allowed” to.
Evil and Dangerous Lie # 3: Mourning the killer
Appearing on Fox “News” and discussing the racial divide in the nation in the wake of the Dallas police shootings, Trump declared:
When somebody called for a moment of silence to this maniac that shot the five police, you just see what’s going on. It’s a very, very sad situation.
Again, nobody else had any recollection of such a thing happening, nor did any news source or search engine. And again, the fact that he had been the only person in the galaxy witnessing the event did not keep him from repeating the lie:
The other night you had 11 cities potentially in a blow-up stage. Marches all over the United States—and tough marches. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac! And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!
President Obama, who often is groundlessly accused of stoking the fires of racial tension, assured us after Dallas that “we are not as divided as we seem”. Donald Trump, however, wants you to believe that a racial explosion is building up. There aren’t just demonstrations about senseless killings , there are “tough marches” full of anger and hatred. And he’s quite willing to make up stories to convince you of this — and to convince you that suspicion and distrust of African-Americans is justified.
Evil and Dangerous Lie # 4: Cop killers
“They’re shooting our police in record numbers” Trump has declared, playing on the “civil war” motif that will help him paint himself as a “law and order” candidate. Apparently the “they” is meant to be black thugs or Muslims or Mexicans. He was extrapolating this lie from a very small sample — the fact that more police were killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2016 than in the first half of 2015. Even so, the number of police killed on the job has been declining for over 40 years. There have been occasional temporary spikes, such as the first half of this year — there was a rather large spike in 2001 because of 9-11 (but then those officers weren’t shot), yet the overall downward trend has been unmistakable. And the “record numbers” occurred decades ago.
Evil and Dangerous Lie # 5: Blacks killing whites
After a black protester was punched and kicked by some of his supporters at one of his rallies, Trump tried to justify the animosity and violence toward African-Americans by tweeting the following image:
Most of these numbers, as you might expect, are just a bit off — “just a bit” in this case meaning out of the ballpark. As Politifact reports, here is a more accurate tally:
Not only are Trump’s statistics bogus, the source is bogus. There’s no such thing as the Crime Bureau – San Francisco. His actual source was apparently a British website that posts the motto “We should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little mustache”. No wonder the American Nazi Party is salivating over the “real opportunity” offered by a prospective Trump presidency.
It’s not an exaggeration this time, folks. That really is the kind of source Trump draws his inspiration from. What’s really scary is that millions of voters out there either don’t realize this or just don’t care. They’re too busy being obsessed with the fact that Hillary used a private server like any other Secretary of State.
(NOTE: There was an interesting article in the Washington Post noting that even though Trump lies far more often than Clinton, Americans distrust her more. Huh???
This is true even though Clinton’s fibs are more of a defensive nature, while Trump’s bolder falsehoods tend to be more offensive — in more than one sense ; i.e., they toot his own horn falsely and smear other people or large groups of people. Most people find defensive lies much more excusable, and yet Americans still consider Clinton more dishonest. Huh???
The article theorizes that this double discrepancy is due to the fact that Clinton’s stretchers are more nebulous, more difficult to verify or discredit, which gives some the impression that she may be hiding something. But this explanation is highly suspect; for one thing, it suggests that people consider Trump more honest because it’s easier to prove he’s lying. Huh???
Perhaps a better explanation is simply that Republican operatives and their media enablers have done such a good job of branding Clinton as a lawbreaker, at least among low-information voters. We’ve already seen what a phenomenal hit job they did on Al Gore, whom they successfully and thoroughly branded as a liar without producing even one lie he’d told.)