Mined from the notebooks, Thursday, March 15, 2018. Posted early Saturday morning, March 17.
Canadian Prime Minister looking for the joy buzzer before shaking Donald Trump’s hand at their first official meeting as fellow heads of state back in February of 2017. No doubt Trump lied to him at some point in that meeting, just as he’s boasted he lied in their most recent meeting, assuming he isn’t lying about having lied. Photo by Kevin Lemarque of Reuters via the Guardian.
There’s so much Trump being Trump in this story about him boasting at a fundraiser Wednesday that he lied baldfacedly and cheerfully to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that I don’t know what is the most Trump-like. But I’ll start with this: his blithe assumption that Trudeau didn’t immediately know he was lying. He seems to take it for granted that either Trudeau was just like himself and showed up at a meeting with a fellow world leader totally unprepared and all set to wing it or that Trudeau was like all the suckers Trump has conned over the last forty years, too stupid to know he was being conned. In Trump’s view, everybody’s either a con artist or a sucker. Whichever, they deserve to be lied to and fleeced, and that’s what Trump more or less intended to do, fleece Trudeau and with him all of Canada in negotiations over renegotiating NAFTA.
Does he know how to close or deal or what?
It also may be he just assumed Trudeau was too much a weakling to call him a liar to his face. One of the ways Trump has thrived as a thief in business and as president is by counting on decent people to bind themselves foolishly and out of cowardice by rules and norms that he happily and brazenly violates himself.
Now, I’m making my own assumption here, that Trump isn’t lying about his lying.
It’s as likely an explanation as any other that takes into account Trump’s lack of character and competence that all Trump was doing at the fundraiser was telling a lie about having lied to cover up the fact that once again he hadn't known what he was talking about and he was worried Trudeau would make sure that that story got out that Trump, the big dope, had gotten the facts wrong. I don’t know. Trump seems as incapable of telling the truth as a table is capable of being a rain cloud. If he tells the truth it’s by accident and he meant to lie. I don’t want to follow that thought too far because I’m afraid of short circuiting like the hyper-logical android on “Star Trek” who short circuits when Kirk convinces him that everything the scoundrel Harry Mudd says is a lie and then Mudd tells him, “I am lying.” The poor android goes haywire trying to understand how Mudd can be lying that he’s lying.
You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie, but you lie... You tell the truth but you cannot for you lie... illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human. Only humans can explain their behavior! Please explain!”
At any rate, I have no doubt that Trump lied to Trudeau because he lies to everybody all the time. What I’m not sure of is whether he told that particular lie in that particular way at that particular moment under those particular circumstances. For that matter, I’m not sure what those circumstances were. Neither are the Canadians. I’ll get to that below.
But if he lied at the fundraiser about lying or told the truth about lying to Trudeau, why would he boast about it? Why would the President of the United States tell a story about himself that showed that he didn’t know the most salient fact about our trading relationship with one of our closest allies or that he didn’t have an aide right there whose job was to know all the facts he could turn to and immediately provide himself with the correct information? Why would he portray himself as not knowing how to do his job?
Well, because being seen as competent at the job of President isn’t as important to him as being seen succeeding at the job of being Donald Trump. And success here is Trump’s putting one over on Justin Trudeau
What he said at the fundraiser may have had an undertone of “Har har har! I lied like a bitch and the chump just sat there and took it.”
Whatever. He was boasting of being a liar but when the story reaches his voters---if it does now. There are other stories already drowning it out.---they’ll har har har right along with him and add, “That’s right! You showed him!”
I’ve said it before: everything decent people find awful about Trump his adoring mobs love about him. They understand that he’s doing it for them. That’s why they voted for him. To be awful...to Them!
As far as they’re concerned or care, everything awful he does amounts to saying Fuck you, asshole on their behalf to the people they blame for the causes of their unhappiness, which is pretty much everybody who isn’t like themselves. Who isn’t themselves, because they don’t think beyond themselves or outside themselves because they are obsessed by the way the world has done them wrong.
At the core of Trump’s base is a cohort of grievance-mongers and nursers of resentments, whiners and self-pity artists who are convinced that they’ve been had! Life has slipped one past them. They’ve been robbed of what’s due them. The world’s in a conspiracy to make them feel foolish and stupid, weak, ineffectual, and incompetent. And they blame Them, those others and they want Them to pay. They want them punished. They want revenge. They want to get their own back. That’s why they voted for Trump. That’s what they expected him to do.
They don’t care that he breaks the rules and flouts the law.
In their minds, rules and laws exist only to make their lives miserable and only come into existence the instant they need things to work another way than those rules and laws allow.
These are the guys who show up at the convenience store ten minutes after it closes for the night, blow their tops when they find the doors locked, and then yell through the glass at the clerks counting out as if they should have known they were on their way and stayed open just for them.
They don’t care one way or the other whether he’s competent at the job of presidenting. They don’t believe there is such a thing as competence, not as its defined by the elites who claim it matters. As far as they’re concerned, talk of “competence” is just more bullshit. Like rules and laws, it’s something the elites make up on the spot to benefit themselves and screw everybody else. Competence is what you are not when the elites want to screw you out of what little you have. Same with “smart”. Same with “facts.” Same with the “truth.” The elite bastards make it all up to suit themselves, and leave you feeling stupid, foolish, weak.
So they don’t care that Trump is a liar. They like it when he lies. They’re all liars, serves Them right when Trump lies better than they do.
Trump wasn’t boasting about what he should be apologizing for, his incompetence, ignorance, and intellectual laziness. He was boasting about how none of that matters to him. He was boasting that he doesn’t care what he’s supposed to do. He was boasting that he doesn’t let the rules and the laws that the elites impose don’t apply to him. He was boasting that the elites’ expectations of what a President should be don’t bind him. He was boasting that he will do or say anything he pleases if it gets him what he wants or if it makes Them mad.
This is the Donald Trump on the Howard Stern show. This was the Donald Trump who made headlines in the tabloids. This is the Donald Trump on the Access Hollywood tapes. This is Donald Trump. And this is the Donald Trump his mobs love and want him to be because this is who they want to be.
As appalling and alarming as it is to have him for a president, it’s as appalling and alarming to realize we have him as our neighbors, coworkers, relatives, and even as friends. The country is full of little would-be Donald Trumps, Donald Trumps in spirit, Donald Trumps in their own minds. Donald Trump manquees and avatars who think they ought to be able to do and say whatever they want, break the rules and flout the laws, be themselves and get away with it. Not just get away with it. Be rewarded for it. And their reward is our punishment. Their reward is our having to sit there and take it Their reward is the look on our faces when we have to shake their hand and treat them as the winners.
Their reward is being able to say “Har har har and fuck you, asshole!”
It’s looking as though Trump was lying about lying. Nobody in Trudeau’s administration can figure out what conversation between him and Trudeau Trump’s talking about. The Canadians, being Canadians, have offered a charitable explanation: Trump is conflating several conversations and phone calls.
Meanwhile, in a Tweet---naturally---is lying that his lie to Trudeau wasn’t actually a lie. He’s not exactly admitting he lied about having lied. That doesn’t matter to him or his voters anyway, like I said. What he’s implying is that even when he doesn’t know something and lies to cover up that he doesn’t know, he does in fact know. He’s so smart that he knows things he doesn’t know he knows.
Whatever which way his lie flows, he’s still wrong. Naturally. The United States doesn’t have a trade deficit with Canada. We have a 2.6 billion dollar trade surplus.