Tuesday, November 28, 2017


CNN's Brian Stelzer quotes Maggie Haberman of The New York Times on President Trump and the Access Hollywood tape:

A couple of days ago, Haberman and two Times colleagues reported on the first two sources for this:
... something deeper has been consuming Mr. Trump. He sees the calls for [Roy] Moore to step aside [in the Alabama Senate race] as a version of the response to the now-famous “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitalia, and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after. He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently.
A year ago, of course, Trump not only acknowledged that the video was genuine but apologized for it.

Is he now forgetting things he once knew? Is this dementia?

I don't think it's dementia. I think it's just that Trump doesn't remember things the way you and I do. He doesn't believe that truth is what you and I think it is.

Trump is a one-man power-of-positive-thinking cult, with himself as both cult leader and eager follower. I think Trump has trained his mind to substitute "what's good for Trump" for "what's true." Last year, when he was persuaded that acknowledging the veracity of the video and apologizing was in his best interests, he conceded that it was genuine. It was Trump having a transactional relationship with the truth: Yes, truth, I need you momentarily to get through this bad patch. Let's make a deal. But the truth, in this case, interferes with Trump's exalted image of himself (not because he believes that being a genital-grabber is a bad thing, but because he got caught and was criticized). He needs to believe he's a uniquely excellent person, and that everyone agrees on that except idiots and losers. So I think he now believes what he wants to believe -- that the whole embarrassing incident was concocted out of whole cloth by resentful, jealous members of the loser class -- and believes it must be the truth because it's preferable to the real truth.

In other words, I think Trump gaslights himself. I think he tells himself that he's never done anything to embarrass himself, and that any setbacks in his life were just traps set sadistically for him by people who resent his success and his brilliance. This isn't dementia. It's a sort of Zen -- he's banished the notion of real truth from his mind in favor of the notion that a superior being can make truth whatever he wants it to be, not just for the suckers but for himself. I think he really believes what he tells himself. And that's terrifying.

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