Saturday, September 23, 2017


President Trump traveled to Alabama last night to campaign on behalf of Luther Strange, who's trying to hold on to his Senate seat. Trump delivered an 85-minute speech that was occasionally about Strange, but often about Trump's usual hobbyhorses -- "Crooked Hillary" and so on. It's hard to say whether that will help Strange in his upcoming Republican runoff against Roy Moore, who's leading in the polls.

Here's something Trump said that was actually about Strange (although you could argue that it was more about himself):
President Donald Trump claimed his branding genius extended to Sen. Luther Strange's "Big Luther" nickname, telling the crowd at Huntsville's Von Braun Center that he was the first person to give the senator that moniker....

Trump made the comments while sharing an anecdote about one of the first times he met Strange.

"I said, That is the tallest human being I've ever seen," the president said. "I'm tall, I never saw something ... like he should be on the New York Knicks they, could use him. That's why i call him 'Big Luther.' Everyone's now calling him Big Luther.'"

Trump returned back to the "Big Luther" nickname later on in his speech.

"Did people call you 'Big Luther before you met Trump? You know, I brand people," he said. Nobody ever called you 'Big Luther? I think it's a great name."
Strange has been using that nickname since his first run for office, which was in 2006. Here's a news story from that 2006 race:

In that race, which Strange lost, he was running against James Folsom, Jr., who was known as "Little Jim," even though he was a six-footer, because he was the son of "Big Jim" Folsom, a former governor of Alabama. You can also watch this ad from Strange's successful 2010 campaign for state attorney general:

Here's what I'm wondering: When Trump makes a claim like this, does he believe it?

My guess is no -- at least not at first. Swaggering into a public situation and claiming ownership of an idea that's not yours is probably a trick he picked up from his father, or from one of his mentors, probably Roy Cohn. I think he regards this as one of the things you need to do if you're serious about being a winner.

But I think, after a while, he probably doesn't remember that his lies are lies. After this election is over, Trump probably won't think about Strange very much -- but if Strange were to become a key player in the Senate, or were to get a job in the administration, Trump would probably continue to say this until he'd convinced himself that it was true.

In Trump's mind, I think that's now the status of his claim that he won the 2016 election in a huge landslide. I can also imagine that he now believes this, which was one of the digressions in his speech:
Trump called the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election "one of the great hoaxes," and said it is an "excuse" for Democrats after they lost the contest.

"Honestly, it's the thing they did best," Trump said of Democrats. "They did a rotten job of running, but they convinced people of this hoax. That was probably the thing that they did best, but it was one great hoax."

He added: "No, Russia did not help me, that I can tell you, OK?"
Is he lying about that, or is he just in denial? I think he believes it now.

Trump also said this:
President Donald Trump told an Alabama crowd Friday night that if "Crooked Hillary" Clinton had won the 2016 election, "you would not have a Second Amendment."

"You'd be handing in your rifles," Trump said. "You'd be turning over your rifles."
But that's a mass delusion. In the same way that I think Trump comes to believe convenient untruths about himself after he's repeated them a few times, the gun crowd has come to believe that every Democratic president wants to conduct mass confiscations -- even though it didn't happen in eight years of a Bill Clinton presidency and eight further years of a Barack Obama presidency.

What else did Trump say?
Trump also said he'd like to see NFL owners respond to players kneeling during the National Anthem by saying: "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired!"

"For a week, (that owner would) be the most popular person in this country," Trump said....
I'm afraid that's true. Among white males in America, I think it's absolutely true.

And while we're on the subject of Trump and sports, I see that this just happened:
President Donald Trump on Saturday said he had withdrawn an invitation for the National Basketball Association champions Golden State Warriors to visit the White House after star player Steph Curry said that given the choice, he would not go.

"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!" Trump wrote on Twitter, the latest in a series of early morning tweets.
I think Trump will now tell himself that he kept Curry out of the White House. I think he'll really believe that about himself.

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