Sunday, February 11, 2024


When I go into one of my gloomy rants about the 2024 election, I'm told that voters haven't started paying attention to Donald Trump, and when they do, they'll remember how awful he is and vote for Joe Biden. I hope that's true. If they haven't been paying attention to Trump, this would be a great time for them to start:
Former President Donald Trump delivered an alarming message to U.S. allies during a Saturday rally where he outlined a scenario in which he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to other NATO members.

Speaking to a crowd in Conway, South Carolina, Trump told a story that cast himself as a tough-talking negotiator.

“NATO was busted until I came along,” he began. “I said, ‘Everybody’s going to pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer.”

He rehashed the story a few moments later.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’ He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want,” Trump said.
Quite a few of Trump's supporters are military veterans. Some of them served in NATO countries. They might still have patriotic feelings about that service, despite years of Donald Trump/Tucker Carlson propaganda that depicts committment to international security as "globalist" evil. I hope they're offended.

But I don't agree with this characterization of Trump's story, from Tom Nichols in The Atlantic:
The fact that Trump apparently thinks all of this actually took place is bad enough, and it is evidence that his detachment from reality is getting worse by the day.
But Trump doesn't think all of this actually took place. He's lying, and he knows it. He knows he's lying every time he tells a story that centers on an unnamed person who addresses him as "sir." Fact checkers have been pointing that out for years.

He knows he's lying, but he knows his fan base doesn't -- and the fact that he still understands how easy it is to deploy this trick in order to gull the rubes suggests that his brain is still working more or less the way it has since the 2015 escalator ride.

Trump is lucky that his fans are easily fooled, and that they genuinely believe Trump's "sir" stories give them a glimpse of what really takes place when powerful people congregate. However, Trump probably won't be able to fool them forever. He'll still try to lie brazenly if he reaches a more advanced state of dementia, but he won't stick the landing. For now, though, he's a seasoned liar who still knows how to seem believable to his under-informed voters.

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