Big Big Lies

(Before I begin: it’s not my intention to go three or four days at a stretch without posting something, but I had a busy week and it’s not like anything was going on in American politics or culture. Slow news week, right?)

This blog is mainly “about the relationship between Danish and American culture, politics, and media, with focus on the misunderstandings (and misrepresentations) on both sides.” Sometimes the misunderstandings and misrepresentations within America are so acute that it’s hard to fault the Danish media for messing things up.

There are right now four lies in particular that desperately need killing.


First, the Lie of the Century: the utterly debunked and entirely malicious notion that Trump called neo-Nazis and white supremacists “fine people” in Charlottesville.

Here’s the complete transcript of Trump’s remarks on Charlottesville.

Here’s the full video:

It is impossible to read the full transcript or watch the full video and still say that Donald Trump called neo-Nazis or white supremacists “very fine people.”

It’s a lie, and most of the people perpetuating it know it’s a lie.

(Interestingly, however, he also asked whether the tearing down of statues of Confederate General Robert E. Lee would eventually lead to the tearing down of statues of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. He was, I recall, mocked for the mere suggestion, and yet just a few years later we saw statues of Jefferson and Washington (and Gandhi!) coming down.)

Also, remember when Chris Wallace asked Trump to disavow white supremacists during the debate, and he did? I mean the debate in 2016:


The Hodge Twins have compiled an even more comprehensive supercut of Trump’s disavowals and condemnations of racism as part of their debate coverage (bonus: watching the disgraced Matt Lauer bristle with moral righteousness):

He’s So Racist He Called Mexicans Rapists and Murderers

Another lie that’s parroted without regard to its accuracy, another one of those things that “everyone knows,” is that Trump called all Mexicans rapists and murderers.

That’s based on a statement he made when launching his campaign 2015:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. 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. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.

One could argue that that Trump did not make it sufficiently clear that he was speaking of illegal immigration here.

But that’s actually irrelevant: the lie is that he called all Mexicans rapists and murderers because that’s what he thinks of Mexicans because he’s a racist.

But look at that first paragraph: “they’re not sending their best,” he says. The obvious implication is that there are better people than those that are coming over the border.

In the second paragraph he says “they’re sending us not the right people,” which clearly implies there are “right people” to send, and those coming into America are not them.

The statement is certainly garbled and sloppy, but it’s entirely clear that at no point is he referring to all Mexicans, or all “South and Latin Americans,” or all Middle Easterners, but rather a subset of them.

He was saying, with truth and statistics on his side (and syntax and grammar against him), that the people coming across our southern border (illegally, but I’ll waive that because he doesn’t say so explicitly and he should have) are not all the best and the brightest that the rest of the world has to offer, and are in fact bringing in a lot of problems, including crime, rape, and drugs.

He makes a hash of it, as he so often does–in fact, if you take him literally, then “some, I assume, are good people” is actually referring to the bringers of drugs, crime, and rape. But this was journalist Selena Zito’s point when she observed in 2016 that Trump’s critics take him literally but not seriously, while his supporters take him seriously but not literally.

To extend a metaphor I’ve used before on the immigration debate: you can support shopping without supporting shoplifting, but your opposition to shoplifting doesn’t mean you can’t feel compassion for shoplifters. And your compassion for some shoplifters doesn’t mean you can’t be strongly opposed to armed robbery.

That much said, Democrats and the establishment media have themselves been been deliberately muddling the difference between legal and illegal immigration for years.

They used to allow for the distinction. Here’s Bill Clinton getting a standing ovation from Congress in 1995 (at his SOTU address) for a smoother and better argued delivery of the same basic message:

Racist xenophobe gets standing ovation.

Grabbing Women by the Pussy

(It’s a coincidence that this heading appears below a video of Bill Clinton, but it’s an entertaining coincidence so I’m not going to change it.)

The quote that launched a thousand pussy hats was (my emphasis): “And when you’re a star, they let you do it [kiss them]. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

I get the disgust at this whole episode. He’s bragging about how hard he tried to seduce a married woman, and he’s doing so in pretty crude language. (I say “pretty crude,” because I’ve been a man my whole life, and have spoken to many other men, and have heard many a man say many crude things.)

But what he’s saying is not “I want to run around grabbing women’s crotches.” He’s saying, and I think you have to be particularly chowder-headed not to get this, “When you’re a star, you can get away with things that other people can’t.”


Another way of phrasing that might be, “Bad behavior that wouldn’t normally be tolerated is tolerated when you’re a celebrity.”

Who disagrees with that?

The context in this case is crude, but the point he was making requires the assumption that grabbing a woman’s pussy is not, as the fancy people say, comme il faut. It’s not something one does. It is something, in fact, so obviously over-the-top wrong that he is using it as an example of just how much you can get away with as a star.

That’s how hyperbole works. Here’s a quick refresher on the concept:

Not hyperbole: “They’ll let you do anything if you’re a star. Anything. You could put onions on their pizza and they’d still eat it.”

Hyperbole: “They’ll let you do anything if you’re a star. You could piss in their beer and they’d still drink it.”

See the difference? Many, many people will eat onions on their pizzas even if those pizzas were prepared by the alcoholic prep-cook at the pizza joint down the street. Very few people will drink beer that someone has pissed in. Thus we infer that it is an advantage to be a celebrity in that people let you do things they would never let you do otherwise.

It’s entirely fair to dislike the crude character of Trump’s remarks here. It’s dishonest to pretend he was advocating the grabbing of pussies, or expressing a desire to do so.

He Won’t Leave Office

This is the most recent Big Lie–the thing that “everybody knows” so nobody needs to prove–but in many ways it’s the most dangerous.

Here’s just one example, from Nate Silver’s website FiveThirtyEight. These are the opening paragraphs, but you can read the rest at the link:

UPDATE (September 24, 2020, 9:15 a.m.): On Wednesday, President Trump refused to say whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he lost in the upcoming election, telling reporters: “We’re going to have to see what happens.”

Earlier this month, we looked at a number of different scenarios for what could happen.


For months now, President Trump has carefully planted the seed that he might not leave the office of the presidency willingly if he loses….

(He spent months planting a seed. So, right off the bat, he’s even a worse farmer than Michael Bloomberg.)

I addressed a lot of the silliness of the “what-if-he-doesn’t-leave” hysteria in a previous post, but that focused on chasing a throwaway line in a Danish article all the way down the rabbit hole to its doctored source.

“Will you accept the results of the election?” is a question that could be asked of any presidential candidate or incumbent, but never has been.

The only time in living memory that a presidential candidate did not accept the results of an election, it was the Democrat Al Gore, who “retracted” his concession to George W. Bush in 2000.

“Not true,” the nitpickers will argue, “he only took back his concession because Florida turned out to be closer than he’d thought it was when he conceded.”

Gore already had called Bush to congratulate him on his win, when the tightening numbers in Florida prompted him to call again and retract those comments. Daley said Gore and his running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, were prepared to concede and support Bush if he is officially elected.

“But this race is simply too close to call, and until the recount is concluded and the results in Florida become official, our campaign continues,” Daley said as the crowd roared its approval.

The emphases there are mine, but emphasis hardly seems enough. Those were Democratic campaigners and activists roaring their approval of a candidate revoking his concession and promising to continue campaigning. Consider the perversity of that: the votes had all been cast, all that remained was the counting, and Gore promises to continue campaigning. And the crowd goes wild.

Good times, good times.

In Gore’s defense, and to give the nitpickers their due, you could indeed say that the facts on the ground had changed: it was the unexpected “tightening” of the Florida numbers that made the campaign realize Gore’s concession might have been premature. But that defense makes it all the more ridiculous to act as if questioning the results of an election is entirely out of bounds and must be forsworn in advance. And it’s surely worth noting that “our campaign continues” is worth at least an arched eyebrow when all the votes have already been cast. Campaigning for what? To what end?

The psychological term projection describes the process of unconsciously taking things you don’t like about yourself and attributing them to other people. According to the American Psychological Association:

This is often a defense mechanism in which unpleasant or unacceptable impulses, stressors, ideas, affects, or responsibilities are attributed to others. For example, the defense mechanism of projection enables a person conflicted over expressing anger to change “I hate him” to “He hates me.” Such defensive patterns are often used to justify prejudice or evade responsibility; in more severe cases, they may develop into paranoid delusions in which, for example, an individual who blames others for his or her problems may come to believe that those others are plotting against him or her.

Hold that thought.

…and bear in mind this is nothing new.

It’s coming from a place of leftist bile, but I hope you’ll watch that second video all the way through to get a sense of the moral indignation those two establishment media hacks express at the idea that a candidate would dare question the legitimacy of an election that Democrats began questioning the moment it was declared in Trump’s favor.

There were, immediately, petitions to have the Electoral College vote for Clinton in states that voted for Trump.

But Trump won’t accept the results of a free and fair election.

Establishment media began wondering aloud why we still had to endure the archaic institution of the Electoral College, as the Times did in an article entitled, subtly enough, “The Electoral College Is Hated by Many. So Why Does It Endure?” Opinion pieces and letters to the editor and angry YouTube rants popped up all over supporting the idea that real democracy in America was being blocked by that horrible old institution established by the slaveholding founders who were by the way all white Christian males, etc., etc..

But Trump won’t accept the results of a free and fair election.

When the Electoral College did their duty and gave Trump the election on December 19, just six weeks after the election, calls were already underway to impeach the president who wouldn’t be sworn in for another five weeks.

Vanity Fair, for example, had an article entitled “Will Trump Be Impeached?” just six days after the election. On the day of his inauguration in January, Time published There’s Already a Campaign to Impeach President Donald Trump. They were loudly and publicly calling for the impeachment of a man who hadn’t yet served a single day in the office from which they wanted to impeach him.

But Trump won’t accept the results of a free and fair election.

The chattering class turned next to the 25th amendment, Article 4 of which allows for the president to be removed from office if his Vice President and a majority of Executive officers agree that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This was done with support from television psychologists and psychiatrists who had never met the president, much less treated him, but were comfortable diagnosing him anyway with all sorts of neurological impairments because, obviously, Trump.

But Trump won’t accept the results of a free and fair election.

Over the course of Trump’s first term, Democrats and their friends in the establishment media violated norm after norm after norm in their effort to “get” Trump:

And let’s not pretend this didn’t happen: administration officials, political allies of the administration, and mere supporters of the administration have in fact been publicly mobbed and harassed (and, let’s not forget, shot at and assaulted) since 2016, up to and including the current disgusting in grotesque displays of… whatever you want to call this:

But Trump won’t accept the results of a free and fair election.

And just this past week, in news that hasn’t appeared at all on Danish media, but is summarized neatly by the Wall Street Journal:

Chairman Lindsey Graham hauled the former FBI director [James Comey] in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee ostensibly to answer for stunning new details in the bureau’s Trump-Russia probe. But the hearing more broadly resurrected the breathtaking arrogance of the swamp. This was the crew that in 2016—based on the thinnest of tips—launched a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign, complete with secret surveillance warrants and informants. Mr. Comey triggered the public release of the collusion accusations. He secretly kept memos of his conversations with a president, for future leverage. He leaked them, to provoke a special counsel and two years of hell.

FBI agent Peter Strzok in 2018 lectured Congress that the bureau had too many “safeguards” and “procedures” ever to allow “improper” behavior. Yet this past week provided evidence the FBI leaders blew through red light after red light. We already knew they based the probe on a dossier that came from a rival campaign. We knew the bureau was warned early on that the dossier was potential Russian disinformation. And now we know it discovered that the man who was the dossier’s primary source had been under FBI investigation as a suspected agent for Moscow. The bureau hid all of this from the surveillance court. It even doctored an email to conceal exculpatory information.

Mr. Comey highlighted the double standard again on Wednesday, as he danced around accountability. The probe’s biggest problem was that it was run at the top with no checks or oversight. Yet according to Mr. Comey, the top didn’t include the FBI director. “I can’t recall.” “I don’t remember learning anything.” “I don’t recall being informed of that.” “That’s about all I can recall.” “I don’t know.” “That doesn’t ring a bell.” So responded Mr. Comey for hours. His claims of obliviousness contrast with recent documents showing widespread concern in the FBI about the probe’s problems, with agents and analysts fretting about future “tough questions” and rushing to purchase professional liability insurance.

But Trump won’t accept the results of a free and fair election.

In short, Democrats suggested before the 2016 election that Donald Trump wouldn’t accept the results of a free and fair election. They then:

  • Urged Electors to violate tradition and precedent by casting their votes against the wishes of their electorates;
  • Called for the abolition of the Electoral College for its failure to produce results to their liking;
  • Began pressing for Trump’s impeachment within days of his election, and sustained those calls right up until their wish was finally granted in late 2019 an an entirely partisan proceeding;
  • Launched a massive media blitz to suggest the 25th amendment could be invoked to declare Trump unfit for office and remove him from office;
  • Used the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the United States to harass and disrupt the Trump campaign, transition, and administration;
  • Spoke openly of the need to “denormalize” Trump’s presidency;
  • Openly called for the harassment of members of his administration;
  • Impeached him on a purely political party-line vote.

And now they’re terrified that Trump is a threat to democracy because he’s expressed concerns about the corruptibility of mail-in voting. (Sending unsolicited ballots out to every residence, not merely to registered voters who’ve requested them.)

And Much, Much More

Donald Trump did not call neo-Nazis “fine people.”

Donald Trump did not call all Mexicans rapists and murderers.

Donald Trump did not “brag about” or “endorse” or in any other way express approval of grabbing women by the crotch.

It’s Democrats, not Donald Trump, who have been eroding America’s norms and institutions for four years, and it was Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, who suggested that a candidate “should not concede under any circumstances.”

Those are the four biggest lies in American public life right now (although by no means the only ones), and they’re poisoning the country. And the people perpetuating these lies are simultaneously accusing Trump of being “divisive.”

“Why’s this racist Nazi sexist dictator so divisive?” they ask. “Why are all his backward-ass dumb country fuck supporters so angry?”

It’s a puzzler.

Unifying message of love from a former Obama aide.

Maybe when they’re done wishing he’d die they can give it some more thought and get back to us.